Miles Austin’s departure from the Cowboys promoted Williams to the No. 2 receiver spot. It is bittersweet for Williams, who saw the business side of football when he had to say good-bye to his good friend and mentor.
“It’s kind of new,” Williams said during Baylor’s Pro Day on Wednesday. “I really don’t how I feel. It’s like my first time seeing stuff like this. In college, it’s completely different.
“He’s a good dude, and I wish the best for him. I thank him for the stuff he taught me. I felt like without him and Dez [Bryant], the first game, it probably could’ve gone downhill from there. Those two guys kept me in it. They taught me about their mistakes and overall different ways I can do stuff. …It’s kind of weird. You get so close to a guy and then, a year later, they’re not there. I really don’t know what to expect.”
The Cowboys designated Austin a post-June 1 cap casualty, moving on from the veteran in part because of their confidence in Williams.
Williams, a third-round pick in 2013, posted better numbers than Austin did last season. He caught 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, while Austin’s final hamstring-hampered season ended with 24 catches for 244 yards and no touchdowns.
Williams made eight starts last season despite not being a “starter.” He now goes into 2014 with that word attached to his name.
“I have to continue on doing my job and showing them why they brought me here,” Williams said, “and it’s just going to be a step that I’m going to have to just suck up and do my job the way they brought me here to do. …Seeing [Austin] leave, it’s sad, but we still have to do our job to the best of our abilities.”
Williams and Tennessee Titans receiver Kendall Wright share a place in Waco, working out together under the direction of Baylor strength and conditioning coach Kaz Kazadi. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III frequently is the quarterback in the duo’s on-field workouts.
"I’m just here just trying to get faster, trying to just be a better player," Williams said. "Last year I started off slow and then started picking it up. Now, I’ve obviously got a year. I’m just trying to come in and start off where I left off and continue to keep building it up."
Williams, 24, talked to new play-caller Scott Linehan this week. It got Williams even more excited for the 2014 season.
"I had him at the Senior Bowl," Williams said. "I had a chance to get to know how he calls things. I’m pretty sure he’s drawing up some good stuff, and it’s going to be great for us."
-- Charean Williams