Williams is close

Kevin Williams is getting close to being labeled fully returned and injury free.

LINCOLN, Neb. - When spring practices resume next week, Nebraska defensive tackle Kevin Williams is expected to be back on the field according to head coach Bo Pelini. Williams, who did get some individual work earlier this spring, is still rehabbing an ACL tear that sidelined him the entire 2013 season.

A junior from Ohio, the tear last August was actually Williams' second ACL injury of his career. He admits, the first one was rough. The second one, made him question if he wanted to continue his career.

"I already had been through it, so I knew what to expect," said Williams, who found a lot of motivation in talks with his mom. "My mom had a long talk with me and said, ‘hey this isn't the end.' She made me realize that if I'm going to be in this profession, it's going to happen. Especially if I want to take my game to the next level.

"I was a mess when it happened, and I know she was to, but she did a really good job of hiding it. Staying strong for me… She always stayed calm and it calmed me down and let me get focused."

Williams' work was sometimes limited during the first few practices, but talked about the major step in returning fully.

"It's definitely worth it, it makes you want to do more, to keep going. I can't wait," said Williams, who remembers on practice No. 3 how it felt to buckle up the helmet and go up against somebody.

"I can do this," he thought to himself. "I sort of feel normal. After that, I was excited about it…All the work I have put in is paying off. I don't have to worry."

A 2011 enrollee, Williams would have likely started last season if he had not tore his knee in fall camp. While he's only played in five total games over the course of his career, he's been looked at by younger classmen as a leader on the defensive line.

"It's a big role. I gotta take it on. It's definitely one I have to embrace. I know the defense, I have been three and a half years," said Williams. "I know the assignments and pretty much how to make Kaz happy."

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