Terrance Williams has that look.
Not of a great future NFL receiver, although he might well be.
No, that other look.
The one that says, “Hey, man, you’re not doing that right.”
Ahmad Dixon saw it plenty at Baylor, where Williams came in as a skinny freshman and, after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round last week, left as the nation’s most dynamic receiver, a no-nonsense, no-kidding-around reputation in his wake.
“When he wants to say something, he doesn’t even have to say it with an aggressive tone,” said Dixon, his former Baylor teammate and close friend. “His tone doesn’t matter. We respected him so much, when he said something, we were right on it.”
That’s what made Baylor coach Art Briles refer to Williams as “the enforcer.” A term not often associated with wide receivers.
But Williams earned it.
“Everybody in the locker room knows what everybody else is capable of, on and off the field,” Briles said. “When a dog walks by and others chirp at him and they don’t run at him, that’s a tough dog walking by. Everybody knows his reputation.”
Williams shrugs. For him, it’s easily explained.
“We have a good time when it’s not football-related, but when it’s football-related, it’s time to get our work done,” he said. “To make sure things are going right. Get it done right the first time instead of having it take three or four times.”
So Williams would give the look, then the talk.
Nothing bad. Nothing disrespectful. Just a talk to re-emphasize what is trying to get done.
“Sometimes, I just pull someone to the side and just have a conversation, talk about what I’ve seen and get to know what he’s seen, and we take it from there,” Williams said. “Not so much in a bad way. I just like to make sure things go right instead of wrong.”
Everybody at Baylor knew the message Williams was trying to deliver. He talked to everyone about it, from players like Kendall Wright and Robert Griffin III on down.
“I would sit around and listen to him talk to Kendall, and to him and Robert talk,” Dixon said. “He expressed himself through words, but not emotion. ... He’s not very emotional. He’s not big on emotion. He’s not one of those guys that talks just to talk. When he says something, that’s what he means. That’s something we found out about him very early.”
But don’t get the wrong idea.
This is not an unfriendly guy anyone is talking about.
Dixon calls Williams “the friend that your mom always wanted you to have,” the kind that watches out for you and has your best interests in mind.
“There have been times when he confronted me about some thing that I would do in my younger days,” Dixon said. “I was a bit of a hothead. Terrance told me he was the same way, and that I needed to learn how to manage my anger. He basically just gave me the talking that I needed to make it through life. It’s one thing when you’re talking to your parents, but it’s different when it’s somebody who can relate to what you’re going through and feel your pain — pull you in, put you under their wing.
“That’s something great. That’s something that he did for me.”
Briles told the Cowboys about those character traits in Williams. The Cowboys saw for themselves in their pre-draft interviews.
His combination of attitude for the game and toughness sold them on the 6-foot-2, 202-pound senior, who led the country in receiving yards as a senior and averaged almost 19 yards a catch.
“We talked a lot with Art about Terrance, and one of the things he said was he’s a powerful, productive, big-time player, and he’s low-drama,” Garrett said. “Not that you’re necessarily looking for that, but that’s a bonus, because he’s going to come in and work very hard. He’s a serious-minded guy. He’s physically tough. He’s mentally tough, and everyone down there at Baylor told us he’s a leader in that group.”
More than the leader. The enforcer.