Williams doesn’t want 
others’ pain to be his gain

Kieron Williams has starred on special teams in his first two years at NU. To earn time at safety, coach Mark Banker said, he must improve in pass coverage — reading the right player and reacting accordingly.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior from Shreveport, Louisiana, backed up Nate Gerry at safety last year. This season, he’s vying for the other starting spot opposite Gerry. As a freshman in 2014, Williams tied a school record for most punt blocks in a season with three. He has played in all 26 games his first two seasons as a Husker and is looking to have an even bigger impact this season.

Q: How are things going the first few days for your group?

A: “We’re correcting each other, we’re helping each other, it’s all about making the team better. It’s not about competing with another guy or any of that. It’s just about coming out every day trying to make the team better.”

Q: What did you get out of the spring?

A: “Any time you get to do it when it doesn’t count, when there’s not points on the board, that’s good for you. The spring was just another time to practice and learn and get better overall. I feel like I put in the time, I put in the work, and I was just blessed to be able to get better every day.”

Q: Is hungry a good word to describe how everyone is feeling after last year?

A: “Oh yeah. Nobody likes losing. With a lot of these guys, we don’t like it. So it’s just about let’s learn this defense, let’s learn our opponent, and let’s win. We’re tired of losing three or four or five games. Let’s get over the hump and let’s do something big.”

Q: You have two years experience and there are several young guys in your group. Has that led you to take more of a leadership role?

A: “I guess as the years go on, guys are younger, some are a year older, so you kind of know a little bit more. So they start to look up to you a little more. It’s kind of a big brother role more than (saying) I’m better than you.”

Q: How do you think things are going the first few days of practice?

A: “Every day we’re getting better. We’re communicating better, which I think is the biggest thing. We’re starting to gel better; I think a little bit better than we were last year at this point just because we know the defense already.”

Q: Is it better communication, or are certain guys taking hold of it?

A: “I’m pretty sure that Nate (Gerry) has some type of thing in his head where he knows everything before it happens because that dude pretty much can call out a play before it even happens. He’s one of the biggest vocal leaders out there, and it just kind of all gels together from there.”

Q: Is that a role you’re comfortable with, being a vocal leader?

A: “Yes. My mom will tell me I talk too much anyway, so I guess so.”

Q: Do you think that can be emphasized enough, because you know the system this year, how important that part of it is?

A: “Yes, that’s the biggest thing. Because we ran the defense last year, so this year it’s just about learning the smallest things that could help us win those five or six games that we should have won. It’s just more comfortable.”

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