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Kyle Williams Starts, Builds Confidence

Posted Sep 12, 2012

Last Sunday’s 30-22 win over the Green Bay Packers was a good start for many members of the San Francisco 49ers, including third-year 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams.

The 5-foot-10, 186-pound wideout made his second-career start, carrying out a first-down, end-around run fake that helped Frank Gore pick up five yards on the game’s opening offensive play.

Later, Williams drew a key pass-interference penalty to prolong a 49ers drive.

On the team’s opening drive of the second quarter, a third-down interference penalty on Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush helped the 49ers continue a key scoring drive. Randy Moss ended the 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown reception which put the 49ers up 10-0 and eventually led to the team snapping Green Bay’s 13-game home winning streak.

“It felt great to play somebody else for real and have it mean something,” Williams said on Wednesday.

To be called into the starting lineup was especially meaningful for the 49ers wideout, who truly understands the amount of talent among San Francisco’s wide receivers.

“When you look at our receiving corps, you can throw anybody in there and it makes sense,” said Williams, who has 21 career catches for 249 yards and three touchdowns. “It was cool to be able to get the start. But I think, we as a receiving corps, showed how versatile we are and how many weapons we have.”

Williams’ biggest responsibility in the 49ers victory was his role as the team’s starting punt returner.

With veteran return man Ted Ginn Jr. inactive for the season opener, Williams was ready when his number was repeatedly called. The speedy wideout handled the return duties just fine with six Tim Masthay punts being sent his way.

“It was fun to be able to field some,” said Williams, who demonstrated confidence in the preseason coming off postseason miscues in last year’s NFC title game. “I wish I had more opportunities to return them, there were a lot of plus 50-yard punts.”

Williams was tested early by Masthay, too. Green Bay’s punter averaged 48.2 yards on his six punts, which were all handled confidently by Williams.

It’s not like he wasn’t expecting it.

The 49ers defense forced three first-half Packers punts, the third of which Williams returned 20 yards to eventually help 49ers All-Pro kicker David Akers convert an NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal.

Williams’ coach, Jim Harbaugh, singled out the return for being a difference-maker in Akers re-writing the NFL record books.

According to Harbaugh, Williams was “really effective in the punt return game.”

On the final return of the first half, Williams let his knack for playmaking take over.

“It was one of those things were when you go into a game feeling fully prepared, you feel fine, you feel good,” Williams explained. “Instincts take over at that point.”

Williams won’t take much credit in Akers’ big kick which helped propel the 49ers to victory.

Instead, he wants the attention to be on his teammates, including Kaepernick, the second-year player, who picked up a 17 yards on a designed quarterback run which put the 49ers at Green Bay’s 45-yard line.

“I give all the credit to Dave on that – it was huge,” Williams said. “Even more so than my return, it was about Kaep’s run.  Coming in cold off the bench to do that was impressive.

“That’s about those guys more than anything. I guess I played a small role in it.”

With Ginn Jr. reportedly not fully practicing on Wednesday, the 49ers might once again look to Williams to field punts this Sunday in the team’s home opener against the Detroit Lions.

If that’s the case, Williams is ready to help his team out any way possible.

He also understands that when you have a defense as stingy as San Francisco’s, you better expect punts to be coming your way.

“Whenever you have a defense like we have, you’re definitely going to get opportunities out there,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter what offense you’re going against, you’re going to get a chance to get some balls.”

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