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Williams’ passion for his position still has the pros coming to Lincoln

By now, it’s no secret that Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams is considered a guru. The Sultan of Savage Professionalism is often visited by past pupils to improve their game well after their college eligibility has expired and the results speak for themselves.

One only needs to look at current Green Bay Packer Davante Adams for evidence that Williams can polish even the sports’ top players. In Adams’ first two years with the Packers, he combined for 929 yards on 88 receptions and caught all of four touchdowns with only one coming in 2015.

After those two disappointing seasons, he began working with Williams who had settled into his office at North Stadium in Lincoln. Adams honed his craft and rebounded in 2016 with 75 receptions that netted 997 yards and 12 touchdowns leaving him as the Packers’ second-best receiver that season next to Jordy Nelson.

All of “Coach Dub’s” boys come back every year and as his career goes on, more players get added to that list.

“I’d like to say he’s the best in the business,” said former Husker receiver Alonzo Moore. “What he does is something totally useful and different and helpful on the field. I love being around him. He motivates me and pushes me to the max.”

When reflecting on what he would tell a high school wideout prospect that’s looking at potentially playing for coach Williams at Nebraska, Moore only needed a moment to think.

“He’s going to make you great. He’s going to make you a great person before he makes you a great player.”

Ryan Grant of the Washington Redskins agrees with Moore’s assessment.

“I come back no matter where he is. No matter where he’s going to be at just to get better and better. He’s one of the few guys that I truly stand by and believe every word that comes out of his mouth. I come back for the coaching points and all the knowledge that comes along with that. Him as a person, as a man, as a mentor, as a coach, that’s what brings me back.”

Cethan Carter showed he had all of the tools necessary to be a quality tight end at Nebraska. He was arguably one of — if not the best — run blockers on the team. Still, there is always work to do when it comes to refining your game as a pass-catcher. Count Carter in as a part of Williams’ following.

“He’s the best at what he does. I only had a short time, two years to work with him. What he teaches, route running, being violent with your hips, it all works on the field, it all comes together.”

Brandon Reilly’s another former Husker that’s looking to make a statement in the NFL after signing with the Buffalo Bills. He calls Williams the best coach he’s ever been around and points out how he selflessly takes time out of his own day to train those who used to play under him without charging a cent.

Grant points out that coming back to be conditioned by Williams isn’t just an offseason activity to keep his muscles loose and routes crisp. It’s about improvement even as a long-time NFL veteran. According to him, even coaches at the highest level notice the uptick in his game after returning from workout sessions with the Huskers’ wideout coach.

“They acknowledge who I work with so whenever they’re talking to me, they always revert to what coach Williams would have to say, whatever he’s trying to teach.”

The bond goes beyond the football field, though. While it’s fun to play for Williams and even simply watch him earn his keep, the relationship with his wideouts doesn’t stop once they exit the film room.

“[Coach Williams] always keeps it real with me. He relays a lot of things he’s been through and related to a lot of things that we’ve been through. Some of the mistakes that we’ve made, he can relate to them. He gets our minds right,” said Carter.

Reilly says that the best thing he was taught by his former coach is how to have confidence in himself.

Much like Grant and others, his connection with Williams hasn’t frayed one bit since his days first working with Dub were done. “Even when I’m up in Buffalo, he’ll text me to see how I’m doing. Not even just with football, but in life and for a coach to do that, it shows a lot.”

The lessons that the Huskers’ receivers coach imparts on his players are clearly lifelong and in some cases life-changing. It’s no wonder why even though they leave, it’s never a “goodbye” but rather “see you later.”

To comment or keep up with the author, follow Brandon on twitter at @eightlaces

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