About a week and a half ago, I was told that there was going to be some news coming out soon about Auburn’s best wide receiver, 6’2 senior Duke Williams. Now that it is starting to get out, I can go ahead and pass along what others are saying. Williams practiced the first three days of camp, but has not practiced since Thursday. He is facing “a discipline issue” according to head coach Gus Malzahn. If that is all that they will say about it, then so will I.
“When he takes care of that, he’ll be back on the field,” Malzahn said. “I’ll make that decision. I’ll let you know when he’ll be back. Bottom line: Nobody’s bigger than the team around here, and that’s between him and me.”
Malzahn said he wouldn’t take any questions on the subject. He got three, including this one: Your theme for this season is “Count on Me.” Right now do you feel you can count on Duke Williams?
“He’s not at practice,” Malzahn said.
It may have been the end of that discussion, but the problem won’t go away that easily.
To sum up, we don’t know why Auburn’s top receiver has missed two straight workouts and we don’t know when he’ll return. That’s a lot of uncertainty about a player everyone is convinced is one of the best talents in college football. The Sporting News ranked Williams as the No. 22 player in the nation regardless of position. ESPN ranked him No. 35.
Last season, Williams caught 45 passes for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. He missed Auburn’s bowl game against Wisconsin, also for a discipline issue.
If Williams ends up missing game action, Ricardo Lewis becomes the leading receiver from 2014. The senior caught 21 passes for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns last year.
I know what you all are thinking. There is no way he isn’t back in time for the game against the Cards. You may be right. But I have heard from multiple people that they would be surprised if Williams plays on September 5th against Louisville.
Now, as Louisville fans, we know better than anybody that things like this can change. Indefinite suspensions can last a day. This isn’t being called that, but I am just giving an example. He may very well play, but as of right now, signs point to no.