With the Iron Bowl just days away, Auburn interim head coach Cadillac Williams is about to make history.
When Auburn walks out of the visiting locker room and onto the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, he will become the first black head coach in the rivalry’s history. He 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 to the media on Monday and here’s everything he had to say about facing Alabama.
“Well, War Eagle. Wow, proud of our players and coaching staff last week. Proud of The Auburn family for a win against a really good Western Kentucky team. Now we turn the page and move down to the Iron Bowl. So we’re excited. I think as a staff and as a team, we’re excited to have the challenge of playing not only one of the best teams, but one of the best coaches to ever coach college football. So we’re excited and looking forward to the atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
When Saban recruited him while he was at LSU
“I said it was in 2001 but it was actually December 2000 and I liked the meeting so much that I actually made 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 instills in his players. What a no nonsense guy. His record and what he has accomplished throughout his career speaks for itself, but I think very highly of him. He got the opportunity to have Ronnie Brown play for him and he enjoyed it and most of his players really enjoyed playing for him not just as a coach but as a person.”
On the Alabama defensive line
“Yeah, they’re a physical bunch, big, long. We know about Will Anderson. There are a handful of them. Linebackers are downhill, physical guys who can run. The secondary is very aggressive, long. So we’ve got a challenge here, but we’re looking forward to this opportunity and we’re going out there to fight and compete and we’re looking forward to preparing this week and seeing where the chips fall on Saturday.”
About free play in the Iron Bowl
“I wouldn’t say there’s an advantage to free planning. I think for the most part our guys are having fun. I played this game on all three levels. This game is about hitting, playing together and having fun. These kids are having fun and playing together. That’s a big deal. Look, there’s no magic words, there’s no magic speech that I can give, not even these coaches. It’s the Iron Bowl. That’s pretty much what I tell my guys. If they can’t get up this week for this game, for these seniors, their last game that they will be able to put on a uniform, these 24 seniors, then something is wrong. It really seems like a lot of things we understand don’t need to be said. I’m looking for our guys to come in and fight and compete and we’re not backing down at all.”
At the 2003 Iron Bowl game “Go Crazy”.
“It was a tie for the lead. That was a great block by Brandon Johnson on that mic. The offensive line did a good job of knocking a hole in the defense and getting me safe. It’s the least I can do is let the security drop. The rest 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 up, almost ruined my moment. Can you imagine that? It’s one of my most memorable games in my football career, something I’ll always be proud of, and hopefully we’ll have a few more runs like that at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”
What a win over Alabama would mean to him
“First of all, I don’t want to make it about myself. To be honest with you, these seniors mean so much to me. We have a group of guys in that locker room that have never won at Bryant-Denny Stadium. To come away with a win will be huge. Again, I mean it honestly, whatever happens on Saturday, I want to enjoy today. We started the process today. We begin our practice, our tutorial. We started grinding. We started working. To even have a chance for Saturday, we have to take care of today. And for me it’s all mindset and that’s what starts at five o’clock. We are not worried about Saturday. We have to take care of Monday to have the opportunity to play on Saturday.”
About being the first black coach in the Iron Bowl
“I saw it this morning and honestly, I felt bad because sometimes I get to the point where it doesn’t even hit me until I saw it this morning. And I was like, ‘wow, that’s pretty cool.’ What a blessing, and it’s been like this my whole life. I’m sure I’ll think about it later and really, really enjoy it. I am in this moment right now. I do what I can every day. I know I’m responsible for having it or being the first to do something. I am honored and blessed. I give credit to the people before me who paved the way for me to this opportunity. Lord knows there are plenty of guys who look just like me who can actually do a good job in this seat. So I’m honored. I’m just in the moment chopping wood and just trying to win the ball game. And it is done. That’s all I’m focused on now.”
About what beating Alabama would mean to the players
“Everything. First of all, for a lot of these guys, this is the last time. It’s the last time they’re going to play football. This football game is so special. That’s why you’re all here. That’s why I got the opportunity to be here at Auburn. That is 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 in the ball. To win as a winner against your rival and in the Iron Bowl. What better way to go out. I know all these guys want their legacy cemented here. What better way to go out with bangs. Wow, that would be pretty cool.”
To advance against Alabama’s talented roster
“It will be a challenge. They have Bryce Young, who I think is one of the best players in the country. It will be interesting to play against him. But we’re looking forward to it. These young men are definitely up for the challenge. This is going to be good.”