You’ve heard it all through spring ball, summer workouts and then preseason camp. In fact, the last six months have turned into a mad-lib when it comes to the skill set on this SU football team.
“(insert position/player) has a lot of work to do,” says coach(Marrone/Casullo/Spence). “If we want to compete,(second string upside player)will have to (step up/play well/eat their Wheaties) for us this season.”
No one’s been exempt. Even Art Jones, who was an All-Big East selection has been referred to as “continuing to get back into the swing of things,” after his pectoral tear.
All the talk stops with Mike Williams.
Think about it. Have you heard a single bad utterance about Williams at camp this year? Hell, since he got back on campus last semester? He is easily the best offensive player on the team and has made more than a few excellent catches in the preseason. One in practice, particularly, really impressed everyone. Couzens dissected it for me.
“Nassib through a fade to the right corner of the endzone where Mike Williams used one hand to block out the cornerback while catching the ball with his other hand and keeping both feet in bounds for a TD.”
But wait. This guy made for a prototypical “departed” in Marrone’s “cleansing of the team” mad-lib. Of course, those tend to be a little bit more rigid. They go like this.
“You know (reporter’s name here), I don’t talk about players who are no longer with the program.”
In fact, let’s recap what has happened to Williams in the last year and a half.
He left the school under a shroud of secrecy in last season and nobody knew where he was or what he had done. The rumors had him cheating and attending to O.C.C. that summer.
But when Williams wasn’t enrolled at OCC on the Rock last fall, everyone assumed he was the next Billy Edelin. Gone, peaced, disappointment.
Williams told Friend of the Fizz Ryan Miller he went to Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, to get away from any media attention he would receive. He had cheated, but got the necessary grades during his banishment to return to the Orange.
Maybe biggest of all, he got the all-important endorsement from Doug Marrone. In a purge of what he didn’t like about the program, Dougey found Williams “changed” enough to stay on the team.
Since then? Haven’t heard a bad word about him. Not in practice, not off the field, not in the academic integrity blotter. Not to mention he’s really, really good.
Which makes a week-one mad lib look nice.
Marrone:, “Man, that Mike Williams was(tremendous/spectacular/tremendously tremendous). Sure, we lost to Minnesota (by a FG/ by a TD/by 48) but he was a bright spot.”