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Football: DE coach Nick Williams excited for new challenge with CU Buffs

BOULDER,CO: March 2: Assistant Coach/Defensive Ends,
Nick Williams, coach for the University of Colorado Buffaloes on February 2, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER,CO: March 2: Assistant Coach/Defensive Ends, Nick Williams, coach for the University of Colorado Buffaloes on February 2, 2023.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

It wasn’t too long ago that Colorado defensive ends coach Nick Williams was playing college football. Because of that, he knows how to get the attention of the players.

An up-and-coming young coach who is already known for his success in recruiting, Williams routinely shows young players film of NFL stars.

“I remember being a player,” said Williams, who played at Georgia from 2008-12. “(During film sessions) I wasn’t truly locked in or you didn’t have my undivided attention because I was young and distracted – until you turn on some NFL tape, because that’s where I saw myself. When I watched NFL film, I was all in.

“I know, hey if you take a defensive end and you turn Von Miller (film) on, man, now you have their attention. That’s where they want to go ultimately, so I try to use NFL tape as much as possible.”

First-year CU head coach Deion Sanders has loaded his coaching staff with experience. Williams doesn’t have much yet, but there’s something about him that Sanders has liked from the start and it might be his ability to relate to young players, while also absorbing knowledge from his mentors.

After his playing career, Williams became a graduate assistant at Georgia and then went to Texas A&M as a defensive analyst before being hired at CU this winter for his first full-time on-field coaching job.

While working at Georgia, Williams met Sanders when he was recruiting Sanders’ sons, Shedeur and Shilo. Shedeur is now CU’s quarterback and Shilo is expected to transfer this summer to play safety for the Buffs. On that recruiting visit to Georgia, Sanders told Williams he wanted to hire him one day.

“I can’t lie, it was on my mind for years and I hoped I would have the opportunity to come,” Williams said. “God answered those prayers and I got the call.”

Williams is much more prepared for the  job now than he was then after spending the past few years working for national championship-winning coaches Kirby Smart (at Georgia) and Jimbo Fisher (at Texas A&M). He’s particularly grateful for the past two seasons at A&M.

“Coach Fisher, he’s a brilliant offensive mind,” Williams said. “I love watching film with coach Fisher, just hearing the offensive perspective on why they do things. And then when I talk to (CU defensive coordinator Charles) Kelly, his perspective on how to stop what they want to do.

“I was in an unbelievable situation with coach Fisher. I learned a lot. When I’m around coach Fisher, I just be quiet and listen. He’s really, really, really smart. And he took care of me.”

Williams even credits his mentors for his recruiting reputation.

“People like to say that about me, but one thing is I’ve had a lot of help and I’ve had elite coaches around to help me recruit,” he said. “It’s not just me. I have an unbelievable wife; she builds great relationships with a lot of our recruits’ parents, and I have great coaches around me.”

Williams now gets a chance to work for and learn from Sanders, who is jumping to the Power 5 level after winning SWAC coach of the year honors the past two years.

“It’s challenging but I love change and I love challenge,” Williams said of starting a new job. “I’m around a lot of elite coaches, so they make my job a lot easier. If I don’t know, I can just sit back and just watch. … It’s not extremely difficult when you’re around elite coaches. My dad taught me growing up it’s much better to seem intelligent than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. A lot of times I just sit back and I learn through watching the older coaches that have done it a lot longer than me.”