Williams healthy and hungry

  • By Mike Allende / Herald Writer
  • Sunday, August 14, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

SEATTLE – Corey Williams said he didn’t see it coming until it was too late.

In the third quarter of the University of Washington’s loss at Notre Dame last season, Williams failed to catch a pass in the back of the end zone. Then he began to slide.

Williams said he slipped on cement in front of the wall in back of the end zone, and ran straight into the brick wall.

“There wasn’t really anything I could do,” Williams said. “I couldn’t stop because there wasn’t any grass to step on. And I didn’t want to fall down because I thought I’d hurt my leg. I just tried to brace myself, but I guess I was moving too fast.”

Williams, who was establishing himself as a potential replacement to the departed Reggie Williams, thought he had sprained his wrist.

He thought wrong.

Upon returning to Seattle, Williams learned that his wrist was badly broken and he would miss the rest of the season.

Besides the break, the wrist also was dislocated, there were torn tendons and pinched nerves. He still has two pins in the wrist.

“When it first happened, it didn’t hurt that much,” Williams said. “It hurt worse later. People didn’t realize how bad it was. I’d get all kinds of comments from people about how could I still be in a cast with a broken wrist. That hurt because I knew how bad I wanted to get back to playing.”

And why not? Williams began to show what he was capable of at the end of the 2003 season, when he scored a game-winning 21-yard touchdown with 1:10 left in the Apple Cup. He finished that year with five catches, two for touchdowns. He picked up his production at the beginning of 2004, making five catches for 56 yards against UCLA and five catches for 72 yards against Notre Dame before going down.

Luckily for the 6-foot-3 Williams, he received a medical redshirt last season and maintained his sophomore eligibility. He came back during spring practice, though he couldn’t take part in contact drills.

“It felt good to be back out there,” Williams said. “I felt like I was going to have a great season before I got hurt. But the toughest thing was having to sit around and watch us lose and know that I could be helping us be a better team if I could be out there.”

Williams is back to full participation now and, along with the 6-5 Craig Chambers, could give Washington a pair of tall, athletic receivers. Williams said he isn’t worried about getting hit for the first time.

“You can’t play scared,” he said. “Getting hurt, that was a fluke thing. It wasn’t because I got hit. My game is to go after every ball and make plays. I can’t do that if I’m worried about getting hit.”

“Any time you get hurt, that’s going to stay in your mind,” Washington receivers coach Eric Yarber said. “It’s just about how you deal with it. He’s worked hard to get back into shape. He’s got talent to be a playmaker for us. He’s got good size, he can run, he can jump. He’s going to be someone we can count on.”

Like most of his teammates, Williams, a Las Vegas native, spent the summer in Seattle working out. He said he has plenty to prove this year. He’s hoping that by showing that his start to last season was only a beginning, he can help Washington’s offense turn around a disastrous 2004.

“Last year, we had so many injuries, it feels like that wasn’t really us,” Williams said. “If we can all stay healthy, I think we can have a great season, and hopefully I can be a part of that.”

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