Webster was named second-team All-Big Ten last year, and first-teamer Brett Maher of Nebraska and other top contenders have moved on. So far, he is averaging 45.08 yards per punt and is 18th in the nation, 14 spots behind Williams.
Webster went without a touchback the entire season, with 45 punts over 13 games. He had 13 punts over 50 yards, with 11 falling inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
"We did more sky punting, instead of the longer punts," Webster said. "I've been doing sky punts [again] this year, and I still don't have a touchback [in 12 attempts]. It's mainly because we have a lot of speed on our punt team, and they help me [downing the ball]."
So what's his advice for Williams, and any other freshmen wading into major-college booting?
"My memories were just how much different it was in college than in high school," Webster said. "That's something you can't prepare for, so it took me awhile to just be calm, be relaxed. My advice is just that: Go out there and relax, you know what you need to do. Do what got you there in the first place."
Today's Purdue-Marshall games pit two conferences that have taken their shots this season.
The Boilermakers will try to restore the honor of the Big Ten, as much as it still has. The league has suffered the following setbacks: Iowa to Central Michigan (32-31) and Iowa State (9-6), Indiana to Ball State (41-39), Penn State to Ohio (24-14), Nebraska to UCLA (36-30), Wisconsin to Oregon State (10-7) and any number of close calls.
The cherry topping came last week, when Illinois was spanked 52-24 by Louisiana Tech.
In C-USA the numbers are worse: The league entered the day with a 5-26 record against FBS nonconference opponents, plus two losses to FCS foes (Houston and Memphis were the perps, to Texas State and Tennessee-Martin).
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.