Report: Tulane receivers coach Keith Williams leaves for Nebraska _lowres

Advocate Staff Photo by Eliot Kamenitz---Wide receiver coach Keith Williams, left, and Head Coach Curtis Johnson at Tulane football practice on Thursday, August 8, 2013. ELIOT KAMENITZ


Tulane wide receivers coach Keith Williams will leave for a similar position at Nebraska, a source with the program confirmed. reported the news Tuesday morning.

The Cornhuskers had an opening after new coach Mike Riley decided not to retain 17-year assistant Ron Brown. Brown tutored the wide receivers under former Nebraska coaches Bo Pelini, Frank Solich and Tom Osborne.

Williams joined Tulane’s staff shortly after Curtis Johnson was hired as coach following the 2011 season. He spent three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Fresno State before then and also had a four-year stint as receivers coach at San Jose State from 2001-04.

Ryan Grant had back-to-back 1000-yard receiving years in 2012 and 2013 under Williams and was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins.

This past season, though, Tulane’s receivers struggled, finishing with 133 receptions and seven touchdowns as a group for the No. 85 passing attack in the country. Hampered by an injured shoulder, senior Justyn Shackleford caught 36 passes for 465 yards and two touchdowns, similar numbers to his previous two years even though he was expected to be the Green Wave’s go-to target.

Williams also had to work three true freshmen into the rotation—Teddy Veal, Terren Encalade and Leondre James. Veal led the team with 40 catches.

Williams, who also had the title of out-of-state recruiting coordinator, would be the second assistant to leave Tulane since the season ended. Co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jon Sumrall was named assistant head coach/linebackers coach at Troy in December.

The Green Wave has not named a replacement for Sumrall.