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Brandon Williams could be a key for OU

Freshman running back is ready to step in after injury to Dominique Whaley.
By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, Published: November 1, 2011

— Brandon Williams' head was spinning.

Playing running back for the No. 1 team in the country wasn't as simple as taking a handoff. There were blitz pickup responsibilities, eliminating fumbles, small details that determine who gets carries.

Two-a-days can be overwhelming for many freshmen. Learning Oklahoma's sophisticated timing offense can make it seem as if everything is moving 100 miles per hour.

“I need to slow things down,” Williams said. “I'm still working on that. I'm getting better with it, not to get anxious.”

Two months into his freshman season, Williams has made progress. So much progress he's ready to play a key role for a unit that's been depleted by Dominique Whaley's season-ending injury and two backs quitting the team.

One of three running backs that will share the job after Whaley suffered a broken ankle last week at Kansas State, Williams embraces the opportunity.

“I still have something to prove to my team and the coaching staff, that I can carry the load if I have to,” Williams said. “I need to get into film study and be accountable.”

Williams discovered fumbles and failing to protect quarterback Landry Jones from getting sacked influence playing time.

“He's made a lot of progress,” said running backs coach Cale Gundy. “The more he does it, the more comfortable he gets. He's no different than anyone else we bring in from high school. We run a different system.”

Williams was ranked one of the top running backs in the country in the 2011 class after rushing for 2,438 yards and 33 touchdowns last season at Brookshire (Texas) Royal High School.

But to earn a spot in the rotation, Williams had to earn the coaching staff's trust.

“It's recognizing defenses, understanding your reads, knowing your fundamentals,” Gundy said. “Like I tell them all the time, it's not about just getting the ball and running around people like they did in high school. You can't do that stuff here.”

Ball security is paramount. Williams had fumble issues in practice early in the season. He lost a fumble against Texas.

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