Keyan and Keith Williams

Receivers coach Keith Williams said he felt Nebraska would be a better place for his son, wideout Keyan, who had played at Fresno State. “The football ... the opportunity to develop as a young man … it’s better here.”

LINCOLN — Keith Williams is perpetually on the move, and that sometimes can mean the Nebraska assistant might blast a player with a critique or comment and almost immediately be off to the next thing.

Williams is working with 16 receivers this spring. He can be spread a little thin as the Huskers go from practice rep to practice rep.

And that’s where Keyan Williams occasionally can lend a hand.

Keyan is a junior who becomes eligible in the fall and hopes to contribute at the position. As the son of Keith, he also speaks his language and has a way of interpreting to his teammates what his father is saying — if necessary.

“He says something, and then there’s another play and he’s talking over there, and I can come up to a player and maybe say a little thing,” Keyan said.

“Sometimes my dad will say something — he might come over there yelling at you, and this and that — but it’s not how he’s saying it, it’s what he’s saying because he’s such an enthusiastic guy. So it’s hard to see what he’s saying, instead of just hearing him yell at you.”

It came into play Thursday, when Keyshawn Johnson Jr. was having a hard time. The freshman is just eight practices into his Husker career. He was getting an earful.

“I told him, ‘You just got to get used to it,’ ” Keyan said. “I just try to help him out.”

Keith will take the assistance. He joked that Keyan’s reimbursement comes in the form of his car and cell phone.

“During the course of practice, I can’t spend 10, 15 minutes with Keyshawn on a certain play,” the elder Williams said. “So you coach him up, you get to the next play, and while he’s back there waiting on his next turn, Keyan can say — just like anybody can, but Keyan for sure — can give him a little more detailed explanation sometimes, for that moment.”

Keyan didn’t come to Nebraska to assist and translate for his father, of course. He came for the shot that he currently is getting, with important spots open in the receiver rotation after the loss of Jordan Westerkamp, Alonzo Moore and Brandon Reilly.

Keyan sat last season as a Fresno State transfer, and said he immensely valued what he took from watching Westerkamp go about his business for 12 months.

But aside from reuniting with his dad, his decision to become a Husker also had to do with knowing the Huskers would need help at receiver in 2017.

“It played a big part,” Keyan said. “But I didn’t come thinking that I was just going to jump right into a starting spot. I’ve got to keep working, like everybody else.”

Keyan was a three-star prospect out of New Orleans in high school, where Keith was a Tulane assistant from 2012 to ’14. He was heavy with West Coast offers before picking Fresno State, which had been his father’s previous coaching stop.

Keyan redshirted his first season before playing in five games and catching seven passes for the Bulldogs in 2015. That was also Keith’s first year at Nebraska, and Keyan was almost immediately on his way to NU that winter.

“When I got here, I realized that this place was better (for him) than where he was at,” Keith said. “The whole situation, from top to bottom.

“It’s good for my wife, obviously. But the football, the atmosphere here, the opportunity to develop as a young man … it’s better here, I felt. He came to visit a few times, and kind of got that same feel, and so it was kind of easy.”

Keyan already knew what it was like to be coached by his father, doing receiver work with him all the way back to when he was 6. Keith also had coached one of his Pop Warner teams when he was at San Jose City College.

“He knew what was gonna happen,” Keith said. “He knew how I was gonna coach. And he was around me as a coach, as I’ve coached other people, so he understood that part.”

They were apart most of last fall as Keyan worked with the scout-team offense, running the routes that opponents would try against the NU defense on Saturdays. Then he would patiently watch the games.

Now the 5-foot-10, 200-pound slot receiver is among those at his position looking for work, trying to perfect his routes and make plays and do all the right things. Keyan and redshirt freshman JD Spielman are competing at the position, with junior Stanley Morgan moving inside in some formations.

Keyan said he neither expects nor receives any special treatment from his position coach. But he definitely knows what his father wants and how he wants it done, and Keyan can use that for his own good and take it to others.

“I think it helps a lot because what he expects is what I expect now,” Keyan said. “He’s built that inside of me. If I mess up, and he comes over to tell me something, I already know what he’s going to say because I expect the same things as him.”

Keyan would have lived through a coaching change had he stayed at Fresno State, with the Bulldogs dipping from 3-9 in 2015 to 1-11 a year ago. Sitting another year was the cost of getting back with his dad and finding his current situation, but Keyan is glad to have two seasons left as a Husker.

“He presented an opportunity, and I jumped on it,” Keyan said. “I mean, he’s been my coach my whole life, so why wouldn’t you want to come play here, especially if you have the opportunity?”

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