Saturday notes: Huskers respond to Williams rant
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Kevin Williams was the story of Thursday's practice after a 35-second post-practice scolding of the local media who had referred to him as a backup at defensive tackle.
[rl]News of the rant, accompanied with audio and video, immediately spilled onto Twitter. And once the players began to see it in the locker room, they good-naturedly let Williams hear it.
"We gave him something at the training table," Michael Rose-Ivey said with a wide smile. "That's just fun camp stuff."
Goofing around aside, the players want Williams to have a team-centric view. Of course each Husker is concerned with his playing time, but Rose-Ivey suggested Williams earn his print by what he does on the field, not what he says with microphones in his face.
"I think the thing Kevin has to realize - what a lot of us have to realize - is that you can't take that stuff personally," Rose-Ivey said. "You guys (media) are doing your job, reporting what you have to report. I think the one thing I'd tell Kevin is to prove it on the field. If you feel like you can be a No. 1 guy, go get it."
Williams never identified a specific media member or outlet Thursday, but the senior was likely frustrated about how little publicity he receives playing alongside Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine, both of whom are viewed as two of the team's most talented players. Williams has been productive when healthy and given opportunities, and the lack of recognition may have caused his frustration to bubble to the surface.
"We've had that conversation before - things that have happened to him in the past within the program," defensive coordinator Mark Banker said. "I've tried to help him with that. We had that conversation going back to December. Obviously it runs deep with him, but it's not about one person, it's about everybody, and that's what everybody needs to understand."
"After spring ball I knew Kevin was that type of guy and it was important to him - he wanted to play," defensive line coach Hank Hughes added. "I think Kevin is a good guy who has good intentions and it's important to Kevin and he wants to play. He's willing to work hard and earn a spot.
"I don't give him especially a hard time, but certainly our players do."
And while it's easier said than done, teammates have told Williams not to worry about outside perceptions from fans and media. Being so concerned with others opinions won't help on the field, Rose-Ivey said, so why even worry about it?
"I think if you worry too much with the media aspect of playing it can kind of sidetrack you, because then I think you're out there trying to prove everyone wrong instead of trying to prove yourself right," Rose-Ivey said. "So prove it on the field. If you feel like you can be a starter and you can contribute to this team in a more significant way than people are telling you you can, go do it."
***Valentine was limited again on Saturday with a bruised knee.
***Linebackers coach Trent Bray said that Marcus Newby, Luke Gifford and Dedrick Young are all battling for the other outside linebacker job opposite Rose-Ivey.
***Bray said being around for the spring greatly helped get Young up to speed, not just mentally but physically as well.
***Banker said the defense was already starting to prepare for BYU's offensive tempo. Banker said the Cougars were one of the fastest tempo offenses in the country last season, getting snaps off as quickly as 7-11 seconds into the play clock at times.
***Banker was asked when the Blackshirts would be awarded, and he said definitely before the first game.
***Safety Byerson Cockrell said his shoulder injury occurred during the spring game when he landed on it and fully tore some previously partially torn ligaments that were bothering him last season. He said he feels much better after surgery and feels close to 100 percent.
***One of the biggest differences between fall camp this year and last year is how much longer the days are this fall, safety Kieron Williams said. He said players are basically at the facility from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. between workouts, meetings, walk-throughs and practice.
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