Oct. 25, 2009
Ryan Graney, Texas Media Relations
With less than a minute remaining in the first half of Saturday night’s contest and the Longhorns holding a 28-7 lead, Missouri punter Jake Harry stood in the back of the end zone hoping to punt the ball away to give the Tigers a chance to escape the half without further damage.
The Texas special teams unit had other plans. Just as the ball was snapped, a herd of Longhorns broke through the line and the punt barely left Harry’s foot before landing in the stomach of Curtis Brown. As the ball landed on Faurot Field, versatile wide receiver Malcolm Williams pounced on it for the touchdown.
“It was a free touchdown,” Williams said. “I’m laying there looking at it, and it was there so I just picked it up.”
Although Williams credits his special teams touchdown to luck, those close to him understand that it’s his constant hard work that puts him in position to make those plays.
“Malcolm gives 100 percent every time he’s on the field,” quarterback Colt McCoy said. “He goes full speed on every play, and you can count on him to be in the right place at the right time.”
A redshirt sophomore from Garland, Texas, Williams has had his share of success as a special teams player. This season alone, he has blocked a punt against UTEP and recovered a fumble on punt coverage against Oklahoma to go along with his touchdown against Missouri. Williams has also returned kickoffs and played on kickoff coverage in his career as a Longhorn.
In fact, in the Longhorns coaches’ special teams point system, Williams recorded 36 points during the Missouri game, the most ever recorded at Texas in the Mack Brown era.
In addition to his special teams exploits, Williams earned his first start of the season at wide receiver against Missouri. Wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and the rest of the coaching staff appreciate the work ethic Williams gives each day, and they were able to see it on the field Saturday night.
“I thought he did a nice job, not only catching the ball but also blocking,” Kennedy said. “You know when he’s in there he’s going to give great effort. He’s on every special team. I was really pleased with him last night.”
Playing alongside Williams, senior wide receiver Jordan Shipley understands that Williams brings a special set of talents to the Longhorns offense.
“For his size he’s got some of the best speed I’ve seen,” Shipley said.
In addition to his natural abilities, Shipley has taken note of Williams’ effort and how the sophomore has grown with each opportunity.
“He always seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Shipley said. “He works really hard and he goes 100 percent every play. I think that has a lot to do with his success. He’s made some huge plays with the fumble recoveries and those are huge momentum swings for our team. He’s also becoming more and more comfortable with his role at receiver. I think we’re all excited to see what he can do.”
During his time at Texas, Williams has been able to display his talents as a wide receiver, as well. In last season’s Missouri game, the then-freshman out-leaped a Tiger defender for an acrobatic 32-yard touchdown reception. Against Texas Tech, he was able to snag four catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns, including a 91 yard reception.
Even though he has enjoyed success early in his career, Williams continues to critique himself and strive for improvement.
“I’ve been working on my consistency, because that’s what’s been holding me back,” Williams said. “I’m trying to do things right all the time. I just want to keep pushing even when things are going wrong.”
Williams credits Kennedy as a pivotal reason for his continued improvement. The sophomore wide receiver is quick to praise his position coach for helping him both on and off the field.
“He’s helped me mature a lot and grow into the role that I’m in now,” Williams said of his coach. “When I first got here, I wasn’t a true receiver. He’s helped me develop to where I am now, still progressing and trying to become a better player. He’s been a true mentor to me. He helps me through anything I need even away from the field not having anything to do with football. I am just blessed to have him around to help me be where I am today.”
Kennedy appreciates the attitude Williams brings to the team each day.
“He’s a fun guy to be around,” Kennedy said. “But when it’s time to be serious and really focus, he does that. He’s been really fun to coach. He’s a guy that wants to be really good. As a coach, you always enjoy being around guys like that.”
The effort and positive attitude Williams plays with have allowed him to take on a much-needed role for the Longhorns.
“Effort is something I feel that I know I can bring to the team,” Williams said. “When I’m out there I feel like I can do something extra to help the team out. It’s just a drive. It’s something that keeps me going. It’s something internal in me that keeps me pushing.
“I’m just blessed that the coaches have enough trust in me that they can put me at different places and have me do different things.”