Damien Williams a big play threat

Might the junior college transfer supplant Dominique Whaley as OU's starter?

Updated: September 10, 2012, 12:19 AM ET
By Jake Trotter | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- Damien Williams is the first Oklahoma running back since DeMarco Murray to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.

He's also the first since Adrian Peterson to run for 100 yards in each of the first two games of his career.

Murray and Peterson are NFL starters. Williams doesn't even start for the Sooners. But with Dominique Whaley still finding his way back from a broken ankle, Williams has rapidly emerged as OU's most complete and dangerous running back.

Damien Williams
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiJuco transfer Damien Williams rushed for 156 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first game in Norman.
Saturday against Florida A&M, Williams rushed for 156 yards on just 10 carries, scoring touchdowns on four of his first eight touches.

"Damien's a strong, powerful guy with excellent speed," head coach Bob Stoops said. "It's exciting to see him playing the way he is.

"He looked great out there tonight."

This is how great Williams has been. Through two games he leads the entire country, averaging 13.7 yards per carry, and is tied for second with five rushing touchdowns. And he's doing it all as Whaley's backup.

With the competition about to take a major uptick in two weeks with red-hot Kansas State, it might be time for Whaley to become Williams' backup.

"Dom is doing -- I understand it may take a few games in there more and more to take care of the football and get a feel for it," Stoops said. "We're excited about Dom. He's healthy and he's feeling good. He's only going to keep getting better. He isn't going anywhere with us in our eyes."

Nor should Whaley go anywhere. It's clear he's still shaking off the rust that comes with returning from such a significant injury. The fumbles underscore that. After getting benched for fumbling again against the Rattlers, Whaley returned late in the second half and ran behind his pads better than he has all season. On his final drive, he rushed for 42 yards on five carries, and finished it off with a four-yard touchdown. Whaley's best football is in front of him.

But for the moment, the Sooners are more prolific offensively with Williams in the backfield. On his second touchdown, Williams showed his power between the tackles, twisting and turning through tackles before spinning across the goal line for a four-yard touchdown.

Then on his first carry of the second half, Williams flashed his speed. He went off-tackle to the left, took one cut off a block and outraced everyone to the end zone for an 89-yard touchdown.

"That's how I like to do: one cut and just go," Williams said. "This is college, this is Division I. If you make too many cuts, then you miss your opportunity."

Already, the junior-college transfer has two runs -- including the 65-yard touchdown at UTEP -- longer than any run the Sooners have produced in the last three seasons.

"If I see daylight, I feel like I'm gone," Williams said. "If somebody catches me, I'm going to pat them on the head and say, 'Good job. You're going to have to keep doing it.'

"But I feel like if I see grass, I'm going to get it."