IRVING, Texas – Terrance Williams said he never thought the ball was coming back to him. He saw his quarterback roll away from him as he was gliding down the field.
All of a sudden, the quarterback stopped and turned his way. The next thing he knew, that quarterback was zipping a pass in his direction. Before Williams even gathered his thoughts, the ball was in his hands in the end zone.
And with that, everything changed for his quarterback, himself and the school they attended.
That touchdown catch by Terrance Williams came from Robert Griffin III in a wild 45-38 win by Baylor over Oklahoma in the 2011 season. Many pundits believe that play proved to be RGIII's "Heisman Moment" as he went on to win the prestigious trophy and later became the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
A year later, Williams joined him in the NFL as a third-round pick of the Cowboys. On Sunday, the two will reunite once again. But while Williams says RGIII and Baylor will always hold a special place for him, his focus has shifted.
"I don't really think about that stuff anymore – not this week," Williams said. "Those were some great times. It was one of the best experiences I've had. (But) that's college. We're with whole different teams now. Those are good stories we can always bring up when we go back to Baylor."
Williams admitted it will be "a little weird" to see Griffin in another uniform, but not as bad considering he doesn't play defense. But he has plenty of admiration for his former quarterback, who shares the sentiments, having talked about a Baylor-bond that he developed with all of his receivers – many of whom are now in the NFL.
"Terrance is a great player, and he knows how I feel about him," Griffin said. "I'm glad he's able to shine down there in Dallas. All the guys that are in the league – him, Josh Gordon, Kendall Wright – all my receivers that are playing well with other teams, it gives you flashbacks to what we did in college, and that was a lot of fun to watch. And hopefully we'll all reunite eventually." [embedded_ad]
While Griffin and the Redskins are coming off a bye last week, Williams actually enjoyed the best game of his young career.
One week ago, Jason Garrett talked about the growth of Williams, and promised reporters he wasn't worried about the rookie's mental makeup after a critical fumble late in the San Diego game.
Now, the head coach once again has no concerns about Williams as he moves forward. This time, it's coming off a career game in which he had four catches for 151 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
"When you win a game you've got to get back to work. When you lose a game you've got to get back to work," Garrett said. "You want to do that with the team and you want to do that with individual players. It's never really been a concern with Terrance Williams since I've known him. He's a really serious-minded guy. He wants to be good. He's hard on himself. He works very hard. He'll build on the good things he did. There were some things in the game the other day that he has to clean up. We'll work on that stuff as well."
And Garrett's sentiments seemed to be a theme through the locker room this week. Not just the head coach, but his offensive coordinator and quarterback praised his work ethic as well.
"I love Terrance, and the reason is the way he works," offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. "His work habits are above the norm for a rookie player in the league. His focus is tremendous in the classroom and also the field. The way he works – he digs down, he gives it everything he's got, and he prepares it like it's a game. On a scale from 1-10, 10 being the highest, 10 being the game-day tempo, he's practicing at about an eight. That's a high level. So if you can practice at that level and bring it up a couple notches for game day – all those habits obviously become a lot simpler during the course of a game, all that muscle memory and all the things that the experts talk about – becomes easier."
Romo also answered a question about Williams, stating "the way he works" is what sets him apart from other rookies and young players.
"He keeps getting better – probably his greatest attribute is his work ethic," Romo said. "He comes to work every day. He has done a great job trying to get better and improving. It just showed last week how much he cares, how much time he puts in. It's nice to see it show in the football field."
The last two weeks with Miles Austin out of the lineup, Williams had seven catches for 71 yards against the Chargers, including a fumble, and then the Denver game, where he averaged 37.8 yards on his four catches. In fact, Romo went right to Williams for a 25-yard gain on the second play from scrimmage.
Now with Austin back in the fold, there is a question as to how things will shake out differently with the offense. But Williams doesn't seem concerned.
"With Miles out there, I think it'll open it up even more for me because you've got Dez and Jason [Witten] out there, too. We've got a lot of weapons," Williams said. "I think Tony will continue to go through his reads like he always does. I just have to stay patient."
Just like he did two years ago in that epic last-minute win over the Sooners in Waco.