With the Iron Bowl just days away, Auburn interim head coach Cadillac Williams is about to make history.
When he leads Auburn out of the visiting locker room onto the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, he’ll become the first black head coach in the rivalry’s history. It adds another chapter to an already impressive story for Williams as the Tigers have won two of their first three games with him at the helm.
The former Auburn star running back spoke with the media on Monday and here’s everything he said about facing Alabama.
“Well, War Eagle. Man, I’m proud of our players and coaching staff last week. Proud of The Auburn family to get a victory against a really good Western Kentucky team. Now we’re going to flip the page and move down to the Iron Bowl. So, we are excited. I think that as a staff and as a team, we’re excited to have this challenge in front of us to play not only one of the best teams but one of the best coaches that has ever coached college football. So, we are fired up and looking forward to the atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
On Saban recruiting him while he was at LSU
“I said it was 2001, but it was actually 2000 in December, and I enjoyed the meeting so much that I actually took an official visit. And again, like I said, I respect Coach Saban, just what he stands for and how he challenges his players and how he pours into his players. How he’s a no-nonsense guy. His record and what he’s done throughout his career speak speaks for itself, but I think very highly of him. He got the opportunity to have Ronnie Brown play for him and he enjoyed him and most of his players to play for him truly enjoy him not only as a coach but as a person.”
On Alabama’s defensive line
“Yeah, they’re a physical bunch, big, long. We know about Will Anderson. He’s a handful. Linebackers are downhill, physical guys that can run. The secondary is very aggressive, long. So we have a challenge here, but man we are looking forward to this opportunity and we are going down there to fight and compete, and we are looking forward to preparing this week and see where chips fall on Saturday.”
On playing loose in the Iron Bowl
“I wouldn’t say there’s an advantage of planning loose. I think, for the most part, our guys are having fun. I played this game at all three levels. This game is about striking, it’s about playing together, and it’s about having fun. These kids are having fun and they’re playing together. That’s the big thing. Look, there’s no magical words, there’s no magical speech that I can give or these coaches. It’s the Iron Bowl. That’s basically what I’m telling my guys. If they can’t get up for this game this week, for these seniors, their last game that they’re going to be able to put on that uniform, these 24 seniors, then something is wrong. Truly it feels like a lot of stuff that is understood really doesn’t need to be said. I’m looking for our guys to come out and fight and compete, and we’re not backing down at all.”
On 2003’s “Go Crazy” Iron Bowl play
“It was a lead draw. It was a great block by Brandon Johnson on that mike there. The offensive line did a good job of knocking a hole in the defense and they got me on the safety. That’s the least I can do is make the safety miss. The rest of is history. Usually whenever you have long runs like that it’s a total team effort. The receivers did a really good job blocking downfield. Jeris McIntyre almost tripped me, almost messed up my moment. Can you imagine that? It’s one of my most memorable plays in my football career, something I’ll always be proud of and hopefully we can have a couple long runs like that in Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
What a win over Alabama would mean to him
“First of all, I don’t want to make this about me. It means so much to me for these seniors, to be honest with you. We have a group of guys in that locker room where nobody has ever won in Bryant-Denny Stadium. To come out with a victory, that will be huge. Again, I honestly mean this, whatever happens on Saturday, I want to enjoy today. We started the process today. We start our practice, our walkthrough. We started grinding. We started working. In order for us to even have a chance for Saturday, we have to take care of today. And to me, it’s all mindset and that is what’s starting at five o’clock. We are not worrying about Saturday. We have to take care of Monday to give us an opportunity to have a shot on Saturday.”
On being the first black coach in the Iron Bowl
“I saw that this morning and honestly, I felt bad because I sometimes get so caught up in the moment where it didn’t even hit me until I saw it this morning. And I was like, ‘wow, that’s pretty cool.’ What a blessing it is, and this has kind of been like this my whole life. I’m sure later on I will reflect on it and truly, truly enjoy it. Right now, I’m just in the moment. I’m just doing what I can each and every day. I know the responsibility of having that or being the first of any to do anything. I’m honored and blessed. I give credit to the people before me that paved the way for myself to have this opportunity. Lord knows there’s a lot of guys that look just like me that actually can do a doggone good job in this seat. So, I’m honored. I’m just in the moment and chopping wood and just trying to win a ballgame. That’s it. That’s all I’m focused on right now.”
On what it would mean to the players to beat Alabama
“Everything. For one, it’s the last time for a lot of these guys. It’s the last time that they’re ever going to play football. This game of football is so special. It’s why you all are here. It’s why I got the opportunity to be here at Auburn. It’s why a lot of these guys in this locker room, these coaches, why we’re all together. Because of that ball. A lot of these guys’ identities are wrapped up into ball. To go out as a winner against your rival and in the Iron Bowl. What better way is there to go out. I know those guys all want their legacy to be solidified here. What better way to go out with a bang. Wow, that’d be pretty cool.”
On going up against Alabama’s talented roster
“It’s going to be a challenge. They’ve got Bryce Young who I think is one of the best players in the country. To go up against him is going to be interesting. But we are looking forward to it. These young men are definitely up for the challenge. This is going to be a good one.”