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Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

UW Football
Notebook: Emotional game for Williams

By Bob Condotta
Seattle Times staff reporter

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Paul Williams plans to take a few minutes before the game Sunday and look around Husky Stadium, imagining some of the great memories created there by his older brother Curtis.

And then the Fresno State wide receiver plans on doing whatever he can to beat his brother's alma mater, figuring Curtis wouldn't want it any other way.

"It's going to be real emotional," said Paul Williams, who by roughly 5-1/2 years is the younger brother of former Husky Curtis Williams, who died in May 2002 from complications of a paralyzing injury suffered in a game at Stanford in October 2000.

"At the same time, it's a game and we intend to go up there and win."

That Paul Williams is playing at all is a testament to the love his brother had for football. No one at UW ever heard Curtis Williams blame the game for his injury. But Paul Williams naturally had some concerns about continuing to play after seeing what happened to his brother.

"I talked to him about it one day and he told me that 'if I can't play football, then I want you to play,' " Paul Williams said. "So I've been playing for him ever since."

Like most of his other brothers, Paul Williams was a standout high school player in the Fresno area — he attended Avenal High in Avenal, Calif., while Curtis Williams was a graduate of Bullard High in Fresno.

Then Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel recruited Paul Williams and offered him a scholarship.

"But at that time, Curtis was paralyzed and living here," Paul said. "I wanted to stay close to him."

He also said, "I didn't really want people to associate me as Curtis' brother. I wanted to make a name for myself."
 
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Paul should begin to do that in earnest this season. After redshirting in 2002, he played sparingly in seven games with the Bulldogs last season, making three catches. But he is listed on the second team at one receiver spot for the UW game and figures to be a regular in the rotation.

"We're doing all right now," he said of his family. "It was a shock at first, but we've kept our focus pretty well and moved on."

Notes

• True freshman defensive tackle Jasper Henry of Los Angeles has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse to begin practicing with the team. He is almost certain to redshirt this season. The only UW freshman still awaiting approval is offensive lineman Casey Bulyca of Woodinville.

• UW coach Keith Gilbertson said there is a chance that receiver Jordan Slye of Franklin High could return to the team in time for spring ball. Slye was ruled academically ineligible for this season but may head to a junior college to get his grades in order before returning.

• Tight end Joe Toledo, who sat out most of last year with a back injury, is now battling a groin injury. Gilbertson said Toledo's back is fine and that the two injuries probably aren't related. But the groin problem is severe enough that Toledo may not be able to play against Fresno State. He would be replaced in the starting lineup by senior Jon Lyon. With Ben Bandel (knee) also out, the backup would be sophomore Dash Crutchley, a converted linebacker who has yet to see his first action, followed by freshman Robert Lewis and walk-on Michael Gottlieb.

• Among the changes in college football rules this season is having officials announce the number of the player who has committed a penalty, as happens in the NFL. Gilbertson doesn't like the change, saying, "I don't think it's necessary. It takes it to a level of professionalism that maybe we don't need at this level."

Another rule change allows coaches to call a timeout from the sideline. Previously, only players on the field could call time. Gilbertson said one danger is making sure players understand that they still can call a timeout and not wait for coaches to do it in end-of-game situations.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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