“There’s really nothing to do there,” new Nebraska wide receiver Mike Williams said of Scooba, a small town in Mississippi made famous by Netflix. “There’s like two gas stations and a Subway and a Dollar General. That’s pretty much it.”’
Sounds like the right complement of amenities for a town that listed 732 residents as of the 2010 census. Scooba, located on the Alabama-Mississippi border, is home to East Mississippi Community College, immortalized as “Last Chance U” first in an article for GQ, which was then turned into a Netflix series. The Lions are a football power of late with four national championships this decade, it’s last coming last season. Williams was on that team.
It was not a team, however, that was part of the show. The second season of “Last Chance U” told the story of the 2016 season before moving on to a new school for the upcoming season of the show. It’s something Williams still gets asked about all the time, however.
“I have a couple of East Mississippi jackets and I wear them sometimes,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Was I on the show?’ I’ll be like, ‘No.’ They’ll be like, ‘How was Coach Stephens?’ and stuff like that.”
Coach Stephens is Buddy Stephens, the show’s Ralph Kramden-like patriarch with a big heart that sometimes gets eclipsed by an even bigger temper. So, how was Coach Stephens?
Did you ever feel his wrath?
Ever wish you were part of the show?
“I wasn’t there for the show,” Williams said. “I was there to succeed and help the team win and get where I wanted to go.”
Where he wanted to go ended up being Nebraska. Williams recalled that Scott Frost called him on Jan. 7 to offer a scholarship. He thought it over for a few days before committing on Jan. 10. Williams got to Lincoln and was in class the next day.
So far the transition has felt pretty smooth for Williams. He’s enjoying the family atmosphere Nebraska’s staff works hard to create. Classes are going well, “all As and one B.” Practices, from the sound of it, are as good with Williams looking more and more like a player who is going to contribute in a big way in 2018.
At East Mississippi last year he was the big-play option for an offense that had four players catch 30 or more passes. Williams ended up with 30 catches, fourth on the team, but led the Lions with 669 yards on 22.3 yards per catch with seven touchdowns.
That should make for a good fit in the Huskers’ new offense. Receivers Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman are sure to draw a ton of attention from opposing defenses, leaving a a ton of room for some player, or players, to put up big numbers as the keep-you-honest option in the passing game. UCF, like East Mississippi in 2017, also had four guys catch at least 30 balls last season.
That’s not just familiar for Williams, it’s his favorite part of the offense.
“Everybody eats,” Williams said. “You want the next man to eat as bad as you want to eat.”
Based on Williams’ rapid rise since arriving in Lincoln, apparently you can get pretty hungry during a semester at place with two gas stations, a Subway and a Dollar General.
The Grab Bag
- Northwestern officially opened its gleaming new practice facility this week.
- Texas AD Chris Del Conte wants Mack Brown to be around the football program for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me.
- The NFL is a longshot for former Husker David Knevel, but he's a virtual lock for the Canadian Football League.
- ICYMI: Slew of stuff yesterday – practice report, practice video, a report on the leaders at inside linebacker, a discussion of what the Huskers hope to do with Breon Dixon and a baseball series preview.
Today's Song of Today