Oct. 20, 2010
Lobo Football vs. San Diego State
When/Where: 8 p.m. Saturday -- University Stadium
Radio: 770 KKOB-AM, Lobo Radio Network - Pre-game Show at 5 p.m.
TV: The Mtn (Comcast 276, DirecTV 616)
GoLobos.com: Game Tracker / Game Stat / Stats
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Things don't always make sense. Sometimes, they don't have to make sense. It's just the way things are. For Lobo Bryant Williams, the sight of a 5-ounce baseball coming at him was a frightening vision, even though he could see it coming.
For some reason, Williams can turn his head away from a 200-pound defensive back, who, unlike Mr. Baseball, has only one thing on his mind: Hit Williams as hard as he can.
"There's something about a baseball coming at me. It scares me," said the Lobo receiver. "I don't mind the contact in football."
Well, that's not exactly true. For the most part, Williams doesn't mind the physicality of football. However, he also decided his 5-foot-11 frame might not be up to a whole lot of pounding. That's why he moved from running back to receiver when he moved into prep ball.
"I didn't want to take the pounding that running backs take," said Williams. "I also caught the ball well and knew that I ran good routes. I saw receiver as a better opportunity for me to play college football. I like making big-time catches and adding excitement to the game."
The last big-time catch for the Lobos was a 42-yard pass Williams hauled in down at New Mexico State that pushed UNM up 7-6 on the board. It was one of the toughest catches in football. Williams was wide open a few steps away from the end zone.
"I knew I was open and those can be the hardest ones to catch," said Williams. "When you are wide open, sometimes you lose focus because it looks so easy. I just thought, `I can`t drop this one,' and really focused on the ball coming in."
Williams has been focusing on balls coming in for the Lobos for three seasons now. At NMSU, he caught four passes for 97 yards. He has 19 catches this season for 249 yards and leads a struggling UNM offense in scoring with 18 points.
In his junior year in 2009, he caught 26 balls for 283 yards. He had a team-high 36 receptions in 2008 for 272 yards.
For the Lobos, it probably was a good thing that Williams turned away from baseball and later turned away from basketball and track. Williams is versatile and multi-talented. For his father, Bobby Williams, that multi-talented athlete maybe was best defined when he saw this head popping up outside a window in the family home.
"I was in the living room watching TV and I kept seeing something flash by the window," said Bobby Williams. "I asked one of my sons what that was and he said, `That's Bryant's head.'
"The window was pretty high, so I went out and asked him what he was jumping off of. He said he was just jumping off the ground. I told him to do it again and he was doing no-hands, back flip. He just taught himself. He was about 9-years-old."
Said Bryant: "I liked gymnastics and used to watch them do back flips. I went out in the yard to learn how to do it, but I kept landing on my stomach. After I finally hit one, it was pretty easy. I was flipping off tables, running up the side of a building. I guess I can still do it."
Actually, Williams pretty much could do whatever he wanted to as an athlete. He was a standout in track and basketball. "I had a couple of basketball offers to some smaller D-I schools," he said. "I love both sports, but I like the aggressive nature of football."
Said dad: "He can shoot it. He probably could be playing basketball for the Lobos."
Williams' plan out of Edina (Minn.) High was to play for Michigan State where he had been recruited by offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin. When Baldwin later became a Lobo, Williams decided to become a Lobo, too.
He is hoping to see the ball a few more times this season, make a few more big plays, and get a shot at pro ball. He has a shot. He runs good routes, has good speed, has strong hands and can make the tough catch in traffic.
"I want the ball more," said Williams. "That's how you are supposed to think as a receiver. But I've learned to just go with what happens. I'll go out there and go as hard as I can and see what happens. I have no complaints."
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.