Former Heisman Trophy-winner Ricky Williams has some advice for University of Texas fans who have been in a state of panic since the Longhorns' 40-21 loss to Brigham Young last Saturday.
If you're a player and you have a game like that, you forget it, Williams said Wednesday. I would urge the fans to forget about it and watch the game this week with fresh eyes.
UT (1-1) plays No. 25 Mississippi (2-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Austin. The Longhorns were ranked No. 15 before their embarrassing road loss to BYU.
Williams, who won the Heisman as a senior running back with the Longhorns in 1998, made headlines last month when he was hired as a part-time coach at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Williams expressed confidence that UT, which is in its 16th season under Coach Mack Brown, will bounce back in a big way.
I think they'll win, he said after UIW's practice Wednesday. I think they'll win the rest of the games this season. But that s just the way I am. I always think the team I m on or played for is going to win every game.
Williams then qualified his bold prediction.
Ultimately, if enough of the players believe in Coach Brown, if they buy in and want him to stay, they'll find a way to win, he said. Ultimately, that's what it comes down to.
Brown coached Williams for one season
UT won the BCS national championship under Brown in 2005, but the Longhorns are only 23-17 since losing to Alabama in the 2009 title game.
While rumors swirl that Brown's job could be in jeopardy if the Longhorns struggle the rest of the season, Williams said he would like to see Brown go out on his own terms.
That's what he deserves, definitely, he said.
Brown, 151-44 at UT, coached Williams for one season after succeeding John Mackovic in 1998.
BYU put a whipping on the Longhorns that UT fans won't soon forget.
The Cougars dominated the UT defense in historic fashion, finishing with 679 total yards on 99 plays and piling up 550 yards on the ground. It's the most yards rushing yards the Longhorns ever have yielded.
The defensive meltdown was especially costly to UT defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who was fired by Brown on Sunday.
Brown handed the reins of the defense to Greg Robinson, who was hired as a consultant by Brown this summer. Robinson, who analyzed video of UT workouts and helped scout opponents, was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator in 2004.
I did the Pro Day Show with him last year, and he definitely knows the game of football, said Williams, who works as a studio analyst with ESPN and the Longhorn Network. He's been around and he knows how to teach the game.
I think Manny was a great coach because he was brilliant and had all these schemes. But I think with Greg, he's probably going to simplify it and speak, speak and teach the guys to where they can hear him. I think it's going to make a difference.
Williams: Football a great tool to teach about life
Led by quarterback Taysom Hill, who ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns, BYU broke the school single-game rushing record that had stood for 55 years.
I wasn't disappointed that they gave up the yards, Williams said. You can give up that many yards and still win the game. I was disappointed that early in the game when they (Longhorns) took the lead, they didn't put their foot on the gas. It was almost like they were just happy to have the lead and they stopped.
To me, yards and stats don't mean anything. To me, it's the way I see them play. I just want my team to play hard.
Williams, who played 11 seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2011, said he's enjoying help UIW assistant coach Mike Briglin coach the team s running backs.
I love to teach and it's something that I know really well, Williams said. Football is a great tool to teach about life because it's so hard. It's emotionally, mentally and physically challenging, so every day you come out here you can get better. Every day.
An ESPN film crew shadowed Williams throughout the day Wednesday, and he was also interviewed by ESPN columnist Rick Reilly. Williams will be featured in a segment before the Miami Dolphins play the New Orleans Saints in a Monday night game Sept. 30. Williams played for both teams during his career in the NFL.
He's really enjoying this coaching and he's really good at it, UIW head coach Larry Kennan said. He was a student of the game. He understands concepts. He really understands how to play running back and what to do, and how to run screens and draws and hit the A gap and what that means. The players probably listen a little more to him than they do anybody else.
Kennan said the media coverage UIW has gotten already because of Williams is invaluable.
I've said many times that the No. 1 thing we need is more people to know who we are and where we are, so this is going to really help, Kennan said.
UIW (1-1) plays host to Langston (Okla.) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Benson Stadium.
Me being here has brought some attention, Williams said. I'm happy to be a part of the university, to be a part of this program and to create something we can all be proud of.