Intense WR Williams sparks No. 6 Penn State Print
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Wednesday, 01 October 2008 09:57
NCAAF Headline News

 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Of all the life lessons Derrick Williams learned from his father, one in particular stands out.
Williams used to have trouble setting aside the intense emotions he developed during games once time expired. His dad, Dwight, taught him to control those emotions and leave them on the field.
While teammates at No. 6 Penn State now know Williams as a humble jokester off the field, his on-field demeanor hasn't changed a bit.
``Playing football, it's an aggressive sport. ... You got to know you're teammates have your back, and you have their back,'' the Nittany Lions senior captain said. ``When I'm just sitting alone with my friends, or in class, I'm just a laid-back person. I go with the flow.''
into the Top 10 heading into their Big Ten road opener Saturday versus Purdue.
It marked the first time in coach Joe Paterno's 43 seasons as head coach that one of his players had accomplished such a feat - the kind of dazzling performance that Penn State fans had expected on a regular basis when Williams arrived in Happy Valley three seasons ago as one of the country's top recruits.
``Derrick has the same intensity each and every game. I heard Joe say he was due for a big game, and I felt that way, too,'' quarterback Daryll Clark said.
Williams' career got off to a promising start when he and fellow freshmen wideouts Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood injected speed and playmaking ability into what had been a stagnant Penn State offense. His 2005 season was cut short, though, after seven games because of a broken left arm.
The storyline the next two years didn't quite follow the Heisman hype that accompanied Williams out of high school.
Williams has had a nice career at Penn State, with 131 catches for 1,446 yards. He's a threat to score on every kickoff return.
Yet in 2006 and 2007, Williams didn't quite show consistent playmaking ability or the breakaway burst of speed that made him such a threat his first year. He and two-year starting quarterback Anthony Morelli never seemed to quite click on the field, and opposing defenses started keying on him.
e's so-called ``Spread HD'' offense, which is lighting up the scoreboard for nearly 50 points a game.
Williams had a kickoff return for touchdown in the first game against Coastal Carolina, but had been relatively quiet on offense until the Illinois game.
The way Paterno used him all over the field harkened back to his halcyon freshman days. Whether lined up in the slot, split wide or in the backfield, Williams ran through tackles against mismatched defenders and made big plays.
Humble perhaps to a fault, Williams deflects attention to his blockers, the team's numerous other offensive weapons such as Butler and Norwood, and Clark - whose mobility is reminiscent of Michael Robinson, the dual-threat QB who led Penn State to the Big Ten title and Orange Bowl win in 2005.
``When I'm in the backfield lining up, people just can't key on me, because Daryll can do so many things with the ball,'' Williams said.
One thing Williams is not shy about is his ability to lead. He might be quiet and reserved in the media room, but he's very confident.
Before kickoffs and after stretches, the team will huddle for one more pep talk, usually given by a hyped-up Williams. It's one of the pregame points of anticipation for the Beaver Stadium crowd.
that's assigned to me.''
Once the clock ticks down to zero it's back to the quiet but fun side of Williams' personality. Williams credited his father's advice when asked about the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation.
``You got to control your attitude when you get off the field,'' Williams said recounting his father's message. ``You got to make sure you're humble, that you're the Derrick that everyone knows.''
 

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