Sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Williams is at the point in his career when everything should soon start to click, and he’ll take a big jump. That’s how he sees it, anyway.
He’s had two years to pick up the scheme, learn some helpful techniques and adjust to the physicality of D-I offensive linemen. He’s settled into his role on the team and his responsibilities off the field. And, oh yeah, he’s FINALLY healthy.
When Williams started running again in February (after offseason surgery to clean up “all the nasty scar tissue” in a knee originally injured in the spring of 2011), he felt as good as he has since arriving at Nebraska. He’s a 6-foot-2, 275-pounder who ignored late recruiting interest from Ohio State to learn from the coaches who taught Ndamukong Suh.
Time to emerge.
“That’s what I’m aiming for,” Williams said after the spring game two weeks ago.
So go ahead and add Williams to the ever-expanding list of wait-and-see guys who need to be considerably better in 2013 for Nebraska’s defense to function effectively. There are no certainties with this D-line, which is what makes the summer so important for this group.
A few more tidbits are below. Expect a couple of these storylines to be revisited in the fall…
>> The Nebraska coaches do have access to the players for two more weeks — defensive coordinator John Papuchis said the team will be going through some “pretty intense conditioning” until finals begin on April 29. There are voluntary meetings, too, but many of the assistants are presumably on their way out of town to recruit (the 47-day evaluation period began Monday).
>> Defensive end recruit Randy Gregory, out of Arizona Western College, said he’s up over 240 pounds now after dropping down to as low as 215 as he recovered from a broken leg last year. He’s been running and lifting without pain for a good while now — his final checkup was about a month ago.
>> Bo Pelini said last week that the staff experimented by giving D-end Jason Ankrah more freedom during spring practice. Ankrah’s spring game performance perhaps revealed some of the consequences of that — Papuchis thought Ankrah missed on some chances to make plays because he was forcing the issue at times. Still, though: “I’m glad to see him trying to be more aggressive,” Papuchis said. … It would seem that the coaches have discussed featuring Ankrah in pass situations, similar to the way they used Eric Martin last year.
>> One interesting note from a veteran voice who remembers what it was like to be a second- or third-year guy on the football team, with a trip home coming in May and the summer months approaching. This from Cameron Meredith: “You’ve gotten used to the whole system and you’re already acclimated to college — this is the best time. You’re really enjoying it now. You’re making friends, hanging out with teammates and moving out (of the dorms). Some of the best times that I had were during (the summer).” The challenge is staying focused with the season still months away, he said. “The strength coaches will push you, but the older guys have to make sure everyone’s still working hard,” Meredith said.