Frank Solich, in town this week to receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award, made an appearance at Boys Town on Tuesday. Watch video at the top of the page from his speech.
Solich reflected on his time as a player and coach at Nebraska and discussed what it means to receive the the award named after the coach he worked under for many years. Solich also spoke Wednesday during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Outland Trophy winner Quinnen Williams weathers tough loss, ponders ‘breathtaking’ choice
Quinnen Williams has a million-dollar question to figure out in the coming days. But on Tuesday afternoon, the Alabama nose tackle just wanted to sleep.
Faced with a double team of fatigue and uncertainty about his playing future, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman pushed through as he had all season for the Crimson Tide. After pulling an all-nighter at the team hotel in California dissecting Alabama’s 44-16 loss to Clemson, he packed his bags and arrived in Omaha after a layover in Phoenix.
The Outland Trophy winner — who will formally receive his award Wednesday evening as the nation’s best interior lineman — powered through a short media session inside the Hall of History building on the Boys Town campus. The redshirt sophomore relived his story as a player buried on the depth chart the past two seasons before moving from reserve end to nose tackle and transforming into a potential top-five pick in this year’s NFL draft.
“The thing is, I didn’t get discouraged on not playing; I didn’t get discouraged on why I wasn’t as talented,” Williams said. “I focused on the future and what my hard work was going to become. To win this award, to get this notoriety I have now, just shows you it don’t matter where you’re at right now. It matters where your hard work is going to take you.”
The player from Birmingham, Alabama, finished with 71 tackles (19.5 for loss) and 12 quarterback hurries in 15 games this season, including four tackles in Monday’s loss. Multiple mock drafts after the title game had Williams going among the first five draft picks — if he elects to leave college — and part of a deep pool of D-linemen that could include more than a dozen first-rounders.
Williams said his decision won’t change based on the defeat to Clemson — “I played my heart out; I did everything I was supposed to do,” he said. Rather, it will come after talking with coach Nick Saban and his family. The deadline for underclassmen to decide is Monday.
Frankly, Williams said, he had been pushing off thoughts about the NFL all year. Now it’s “breathtaking” to have the option to realize his pro dream so soon after developing a reputation as a wrecking ball with violent hands, elite athleticism and quick feet.
If he does declare, he said, he’ll take oodles of life lessons with him. He said Saban is the reason he left for Boys Town wearing a tan sport coat and dress pants instead of something more casual.
“This event right here is an example,” Williams said. “I didn’t have to be professional. But playing under Coach Saban, it’s instilled in me that wherever I go I have to be respectful, professional. Just like your parents raised you.”