ARLINGTON, Texas – Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams said he is ready to play in the Cotton Bowl on Monday, which will be exactly one month after the Southern California quarterback suffered a significant hamstring injury in the Pac-12 championship game.
“I feel good,” Williams said Friday. “We’re obviously all being smart about it because it did just happen a couple of weeks ago. But I’ve been feeling good.”
Williams got hurt on a 59-yard run in the first half of USC’s loss to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2. While obviously and admittedly in pain the rest of the game, he still finished with 363 yards passing and three touchdowns.
“As soon as it happened, I actually tried to wave off coach (Lincoln) Riley for the next play,” Williams said. “So I felt it as soon as it happened.”
Riley, who wasn't made available to reporters Friday, had said after the injury that Williams would need a lot of rehab to have a chance to play in the game against Tulane.
After practice at AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys where the game will be played, Williams it has felt “like normal prep” for him since the Trojans got to North Texas earlier this week. While not elaborating on what he has done, he said he anticipates playing the entire game after the extended time since the Pac-12 title game.
“If it was still the same as if I just injured it, i wouldn’t go out there because I don’t think I’d be as good of a help," Williams said. “During that game, I was already in the game, I was already in the flow of everything. But starting off with an injury like that, it’d be a little different.”
Asked if he felt he was capable of doing everything he will need to do in the Cotton Bowl, Williams responded, “we’ll see when I get out there. But I think I’m capable."
Williams, who went with Riley from Oklahoma to Southern California after last season, has thrown for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns with four interceptions this year, and has run for 372 yards and 10 more scores.
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