Last year some idiot announcer who ran out of words to say, said during a Boise State football telecast that Chris Petersen inserted Shane Williams-Rhodes in the line-up as a gimmick. Bill Veeck inserting 3’7” 65 pound Eddie Gaedal into the St. Louis Browns’ line-up was a gimmick. Inserting Shane Williams-Rhodes into the Boise State line-up was earned.
Petersen does not coach gimmicks. It sounded like something Mussburger might say if he was loaded, but it wasn’t him.
Rumor has it he will return punts this year. This is smart. Men running down field on punt coverage come in high. Williams-Rhodes is low, 5’6” – if that. But that is only a small part of being a return man. There are other things, like knowing when to catch the ball, when to let it go, and making sure you catch the ball. If this is so, we are all in for some exciting returns this year.
Williams-Rhodes will not break tackles, he will avoid them. He’ll be able to break free form defenders who will get a hand or maybe an arm on him. Make no mistake about it, he can take a hit and give one. “You want some of this fat boy? I hope I don’t get caught in your throat.”
His weapons are quickness and ability to stay away from the vision of defenders by staying behind blockers. Don’t be surprised if you see him come in on 4th and short situation and catch a bubble screen for some big yardage. The key to using Williams-Rhodes is to use him in unusual situations. Surprise! Whiffffff. What was that?
He is also the guy defenders like to hit when he’s out of bounds. That’s another 15 yards.
Nobody will forget the move he put on New Mexico’s Trajaun Briggs last year. It was played as perfect as it could be, but Briggs left his jock strap laying on the field. It’s still there, like who wants to pick it up. The dog that retrieves the kicking tees wouldn’t even go near it.
I just finished reviewing the Williams-Rhodes highlights from last year. I didn’t get that Chris Matthews’ Obama-tingle-up-my-leg sensation, but there were the same feelings from watching Kellen Moore.