|Terps' Williams uses hoop skills on football field|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:11|
Edwin Williams never expected that kind of success when he showed up for tryouts.
``I wasn't even that great in middle school,'' he recalled. ``I just tried out for the team on a whim, thinking I would get dominated by all these all stars. But I ended up making the team and starting.''
The Stags didn't lose too often with Williams in the low post. But he eventually turned his attention to football, and now he's a center of a different type: snapping the football for the Maryland Terrapins. Besides being one of the most vocal players in the locker room, Williams will make his team-high 33rd consecutive start Saturday against No. 21 Wake Forest.
It would be logical to assume that nothing he learned playing basketball was useful to him as a football player, but such is not the case.
do the wrong thing,'' Williams said. ``It goes with agility, running up and down the field, shuffling the feet. There are a lot of things you don't really notice until you actually play football, that basketball can be used to play better football.''
Williams wasn't particularly adept at either sport until he got to DeMatha. He was a defense-oriented center on the hardwood, but it wasn't long before football coach Bill McGregor saw that the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder would be better suited for a helmet and pads.
``I think football was where everybody saw my future was, and coach McGregor definitely gave me that dream early, that I could play Division-I football,'' Williams said. ``Obviously it was the right decision, but I miss basketball. It's a fun game.''
DEKE'S BIG DAY: In the three-way battle for Virginia's quarterback job before this season, fifth-year senior Scott Deke wound up as the third option behind eventual starter Peter Lalich and Marc Verica.
When Lalich was kicked off the team and Verica was elevated to No. 1, it seemed that Deke might go his entire career without a touchdown pass.
Then came the Cavaliers' game against East Carolina last Saturday when Virginia lined up for a field goal.
As the holder on placement kicks, Deke took the snap, stood up and lofted a pass to a wide-open John Phillips to give Virginia a 35-20 lead with seven minutes left.
ery special moment,'' said tailback Cedric Peerman, one of Deke's best friends on the team. ``He's always talked about it to me and always expressed what he'd do or this or that, and when he finally did it, I was just so ecstatic for him.''
Peerman wasn't alone.
``That was my favorite part of the day,'' Verica said. ``He's been around here for a long time and he works as hard as anyone. He hasn't gotten much time while he's been here, but to see it work out for him the way it did was really special. I know that was awesome for him, and it was just as awesome for me to see him make a play like that.''
Deke, clearly, got caught up in the moment, too.
Peerman ran onto the field to congratulate him, and said, ``I think he sort of forgot that he had to hold for the extra point he was so happy.'' +---
BARTH VADER: Casey Barth got the same treatment at North Carolina that his big brother once enjoyed.
Connor Barth became a celebrity as a freshman in 2004 when he was carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders following a 42-yard field goal at the buzzer that beat then-No. 4 Miami.
The Tar Heels did the same thing for Casey during their final workout before last week's Notre Dame game - and it worked.
The younger Barth tied a school record for freshmen with three field goals in the 29-24 victory, hitting from 41, 32 and 42 yards. His 52-yard try as the first half ended was on line but fell just short.
``We ended Friday's practice with him going out and making the game-winning field goal and the whole team going out and picking him up on their shoulders and carrying him off the field,'' coach Butch Davis said. ``I think that certainly lessened the stress and the pressure on him. ... (Kicking is) all or nothing, kind of like being a pinch-hitter in baseball - you don't play, you don't play, and all of a sudden, not only do we need you for this, we need a miracle. We need you to go do this. Kickers have a tougher job than a lot of people give them credit for.''
AP Sports Writers Hank Kurz in Virginia and Joedy McCreary in Chapel Hill, N.C. contributed to this report.