With the Iron Bowl just days away, Auburn’s interim head coach Cadillac Williams is about to make history.
Leading Auburn from the away locker room onto the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium will make him the first black head coach in the history of the rivalry. 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 running back star spoke to the media on Monday, and here’s everything he had to say about facing Alabama.
“Well, war eagle. Man I’m proud of our players and coaching staff last week. Proud of the Auburn family to achieve a win against a really good western Kentucky team. Now we’re going to turn the page and go to the Iron Bowl. So we’re excited. I think we’re thrilled as a staff and as a team to have this challenge ahead of us, not only to play against one of the best teams, but also against one of the best coaches to ever coach college football. So we’re excited and looking forward to the atmosphere at Bryant Denny Stadium.”
To Saban, who recruited him while he was at LSU
“I said it was 2001, but it was actually December 2000 and I enjoyed the meeting so much that I actually paid an official visit. And again, like I said, I respect Coach Saban for what he stands for and how he challenges his players and how he penetrates his players. How he’s a no-nonsense guy. His record and what he’s accomplished throughout his career speak for themselves, but I hold him in high esteem. He had the opportunity to have Ronnie Brown play for him and he liked him and most of the players who played for him liked him not just as a coach but as a person.”
On Alabama’s line of defense
“Yes, they are a physical bunch, tall, long. We know from Will Anderson. He’s a handful. Linebackers are downhill, physical guys who can run. The secondary is very aggressive, long. So we’ve got a challenge here, but man, we’re looking forward to this opportunity and we’re going there to fight and compete and we’re looking forward to getting ready this week and seeing where the chips fall on Saturday.
About playing loose in the Iron Bowl
“I wouldn’t say there’s any benefit to planning loosely. I think for the most part our boys are having fun. I’ve played this game on all three levels. This game is all about hitting, playing together and having fun. These kids are having fun and playing together. That’s the big thing. You see, there are no magic words, there is no magic speech that I can give, or these trainers. It’s the iron bowl. That’s basically what I tell my boys. If they can’t get up this week for this game, these seniors, their last game that they can put on this uniform, these 24 seniors, then something is wrong. It really feels like a lot of things that are understood really don’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 the 2003 Go Crazy Iron Bowl game
“That was an opening goal. There was a great block from Brandon Johnson on that mic. The offensive line did a good job putting a hole in the defense and they got me to safety. That’s the least I can do is miss security. The rest is history. Usually on long runs like this, it’s a total team effort. The receivers did a really good job blocking the downfield. Jeris McIntyre almost tripped me, almost screwed up 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 can have a few long runs like this at Bryant Denny Stadium.
What a victory over Alabama would mean for him
“First of all, I don’t want to do this about me. It means so much to these seniors to be honest. We have a group of guys in this locker room where no one has ever won at Bryant Denny Stadium. Coming out with a win is going to be huge. Again, I mean this honestly, whatever happens on Saturday, I want to enjoy today. We started the process today. We begin our exercise, our run. We started grinding. We started to work. In order for us to have a chance for Saturday, we have to take care of today. And for me everything is mentality and that starts at five o’clock. We’re not worried about Saturday. We have to take care of Monday to give us the opportunity to have a chance on Saturday.”
About being the first black coach at the Iron Bowl
“I saw this this morning and honestly I felt bad because sometimes I’m so caught up in the moment it didn’t even hit me until I saw it this morning. And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’ What a blessing that is and has been my whole life. I’m sure I’ll think about it later and really, really enjoy it. Right now I’m just in the moment. I just do what I can every day. I know the responsibility of having that or being the first to do something. I am honored and blessed. I thank the people before me who paved the way for me to have this opportunity. God knows there are a lot of guys who look just like me who can actually do a hell of a job on this court. I am honored. I’m just in the moment chopping wood and just trying to win a ball game. That’s it. That’s all I’m concentrating on at the moment.”
On what it would mean for the players to beat Alabama
“Everything. For one, it’s the last time for a lot of these guys. It’s the last time they’re ever going to play football. This football game is so special. That’s why you’re all here. That’s why I had the opportunity to be here in Auburn That’s why a lot of these guys are in this locker room, these coaches, why we’re all together Because of this ball Many of these guys’ identities are wrapped up in Ball To win against the rival and compete in the Iron Bowl. What better way to go out? I know these guys all want their legacy to be cemented here. What could be better than going out with a bang. Wow, that would be pretty cool.”
On the way 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. Going against him will be interesting. But we look forward to it. These young men are definitely up for the challenge. This is going to be good.”