Washington State's Jake Dickert says USC QB Caleb Williams might be football's best runner
Washington State head coach Jake Dickert thinks USC quarterback Caleb Williams might be the best running back in college football.
Williams has 144 rushing yards and three rushing scores this season for USC. The numbers don’t jump off the page, but when you turn the tape on, you see a nightmare to bring down when the pocket breaks and the play goes off-script.
“Caleb Williams… it’s hard, the more I study him, he might be the best running back in the country,” Dickert told reporters this week. “I mean, you can’t tackle this guy. His vertical stepping just… he runs through so many tackles, it’s incredible.
“And his off-script is really good, and I think that’s the piece of it that you can’t gameplan for. You can set routes, you can set coverage, you can try to contain him in the pocket, but there are just so many things he does off-script that is just, it’s next-level stuff. And (Oregon State) did a good job of containing all those things. Sometimes you catch people on a little bit of an off night, but that was a credit to what Oregon State did, really.”
Williams’ improvisation ability was on full display against Arizona State. He ran defenders around all over the field trying to bring him down. Few succeeded. Some took their frustrations out in unusual ways. At times, it looked like the USC quarterback was in his very own version of a Madden simulation scrambling around.
In holding USC to just 17 points the week prior, Oregon State was able to limit Williams a bit more. His longest run in that game was 9 yards.
“The biggest thing is explosive plays, and I think they limited scramble plays,” Dickert said.
Washington State has given up 21 runs of at least 10 yards this season — about a 14% explosive run rate allowed. Not great, but not bad. The Cougars are, however, the only Pac-12 team yet to allow a 20-yard run. They also have 18 sacks in five games, the second-most in the Pac-12.
We’ll see if they fare better than Arizona State at containing Williams. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX.