Everything Cadillac Williams said ahead of Texas A&M matchup

It’s Texas A&M week, but interim head coach Cadillac Williams is still getting in the swing of things.

Williams has had a whirlwind of a week after becoming the team’s interim coach after Bryan Harsin’s firing, but that week included an impressive comeback against Mississippi State that only just fell short last Saturday. Williams will hope to get a win against Texas A&M this upcoming Saturday, and he’ll get the chance to make it happen on Auburn’s home turf in Jordan-Hare Stadium, the field where he once dominated in college football.

Here is everything Williams said in his press conference ahead of the divisional matchup:

Opening statement

“First of all, I just want to recap on last week. I’m so proud of these guys and the way they fought. At halftime we were down 24-6 and to still hear those guys coming together, how they continued to believe that we were going to win that ballgame. The way they fought was incredible. The defense early on gave up 124 yards in the first two series and then from there we held them a little under 100 yards. Offensively, we struggled early on there, especially in the first half, but we came in at halftime and made some adjustments and we got it going a little bit on offense. I’m proud of the team and I’m proud of the staff on such short notice to come in and compete like that. I thought on special teams, we could have played better. They did some things, some self-inflicted wounds, but overall I’m happy with the way these kids competed. I’m happy with the way the coaches worked their tail off to get these guys prepared.”

On potentially getting Auburn's HC job

“Honestly, I’m just worried about right now. My message to the team on Friday was I know a lot of fans, a lot of people, even us adults, kids, are worrying about the next move, worrying about who the next coach is going to be. Honestly, I’m not even focused on that. I’m focused on these on these kids and this coaching staff. I’m truly focused on just bringing that energy and just pouring into these kids’ lives. So, I can’t think beyond this moment. I want to sit in this moment and live in this moment because I never could’ve dreamed of anything like this. I can’t answer that question, this isn’t about me.”

On difference between this week and last week

“I know offensively we are going to be a lot better. We have some time to truly, not to make any excuses, but we can actually have a whole week where we can really watch Texas A&M and come up with a plan and really attach some guys the way we see fit. So, I just think offensively, with us getting this time, we’re going to play a lot better, and I don’t think we will have such a slow start.”

On the difference between Saturday’s second-half effort and previous games this season

“Serve and believe, that was the message. From offense, to defense, to special teams, to the coaches, talking about the support staff and everyone in this building that touches our kids – we want to serve each other. The circumstance is what it is, but we have an opportunity to do some cool things. That was kind of the whole message all week, and I honestly think that those boys just fought. I really think that the coaches did a good job with those guys and delivering the message of fight or quit and not watch the scoreboard. I would rather lose that game the way that we did and see those kids come together the way that they did versus us win that game and see some of the same things go on. I know we lost, but it’s a win for us. If those kids fight like that, they’re going to win in life. Just positive energy, serve and believe. Now we have the discipline piece of it, we have to come together with them. That’s the start with the guys, serving each other and believing.”

On early-game defensive rotations:

“I think the more people you can play – let’s just do the math – the fresher they will be later in games. I just think those guys competing have been in the right spots on defense. Wow, that was Auburn football, that was Auburn defense. I told those guys what we lack in numbers or talent, we can make that up with our effort. We can make that up by being precise and being disciplined. I think the defense, they flew to the game and to the ball. They were relentless. They played together and they did their job, and the main thing was with effort.”

On finding playing time for players down the depth chart

“We’re scratching and we’re fighting for everything that we can do to win these ball games. The staff is collected, and we are continuing to put ideas together and put the guys in position and get the best players on the field. I believe in the more guys that we can play, the more depth that we can develop. We will be better in the long run because of that. Let’s face it, we have got three more games. It’s not much of a long run, but we’re trying to win the game and we’re going to play the best players that we feel like it’s going to give us the best opportunity to win the game.”

On what the support from fans and former teammates has meant

“Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. That is why I chose this place, this institution two decades ago, because of that same love that you all feel from the Auburn Family. They embraced a kid like myself that had a dream to take care of my mom, to change the trajectory of my family. The feeling that they gave me on my official visit was one that will always stand out to me. To have those former players, a lot of guys from Ronnie Brown, Carlos Rogers, some of my good buddies. Jeris McIntyre, Jason Campbell to name a few. DeMarco McNeil, now I’m naming names so guys are going to be mad. Everybody I played with, people are truly reaching out and supporting me and getting behind this. I am excited and honored that my fellow brothers would actually take time and get behind this.”

On entering Jordan-Hare field as an interim head coach

“Wow. Well, I did an interview this morning about that, and it is Monday so I am going to hold it together, but you can’t make this up. Honestly, I don’t know how I am going to feel. I do know I have a job to do to get this team ready to play and get these guys prepared are lead these guys. I know I can’t make this about me, but I am going to sit in the moment, and I am going to enjoy it. I am excited for that moment and honored.”

On the defense

“Coach Schmedding played a pivotal role in getting that defense ready to play along with that defensive staff. One thing that I stressed, not on the defense but on the offense, and with all the coordinators and coaches was ‘let’s get simple’. This is not a week to try and put in all types of looks. Let’s play simple football. Let’s get these kids a plan and in a position where they know the plan and can go out and execute it. From there at game time, we can adjust the things we need to adjust, but very simple. To me, right now, less is better. We need to play with effort. We need to play relentless. We need to fight until the end. Right now, over the X’s and O’s, that is more important. These kids know football and our system. Not much has changed. I want this where guys can play fast, guys can react, guys can feel comfortable, and we can adjust from there.”

On Austin Troxell and Donovan Kauffman

“I have a very soft spot for guys who get injured because like you all know my career was full of them. (Austin) Troxell will be having season ending knee surgery today, so I feel for that young man because he has given a lot to this program. He’s an Auburn man through and through. I’m proud of that young man. I personally hurt for him and know how he feels. But that young man is going to be okay. Donovan Kauffman is day-to-day right now and is doing some things with Robbie (Stewart) now. We’re continuing to see how he progresses. Again, he’s just a guy who’s day to day right now.”

On making adjustments from being an assistant coach to a head coach

“It’s night and day. As a running backs coach, I’m really worried about my guys and our responsibilities on special teams, and the punt returners, kickoff returner. I’m good. This is a different animal. Whenever the refs ran over to me and ask what I am going to do, the first time I was a little dazed out there at times. Knowing that all that responsibility falls on me, and I am truly making the decisions is a lot. I thank God for my staff. I thank God for Coach (Brendt) Bedsole. Thank God for some of these coaches who have been doing it way longer than me. I don’t know it all. I’m still learning, and I am leaning and depending on my guys, my coaching staff. They know that. I thought overall it was not bad for my first time.”

On what his tenure as interim head coach has been like so far

“I’m going to try to not get lost with your first question on what I want to be called. Pretty much, I’ve been asked that my whole life since I came to Auburn. Do I want to be called Caddy? Honestly, a lot of the players call me Coach Lac, Coach Williams, Coach Carnell, honestly it doesn’t really matter to me.”

“I have [been able to rest]. Instead of two or three hours, I got five hours of sleep last night. So, that’s a start. I did challenge my staff today when we met and said ‘Look, we can’t be up here all night. We’ve got to find some balance where we do get some rest, work out and eat.’ Last week was a real one. I am getting sleep, that’s one of my focuses this week. Hopefully, I can accomplish that.”

“On Sunday we usually practice, but we gave the guys a day off. We got in late, so we gave them a day off and gave them all a wellness checkup where if you played in the game, you had to go get checked with Robbie (Stewart). We did what we call a captain’s practice, where those guys run on their own, lift weights on their own and watch film on their own. So, that way on Sunday, us coaches got the opportunity to come in and have the whole day to watch Texas A&M, flush Mississippi State and really get ahead. Today, we’re actually going to practice this evening, which is just going to be introducing Texas A&M. We’re going to have position meetings and then we’re going to have what we call a ‘walk-through.’ Right now, we need to know and execute what our opponents are doing. Just felt like today is taking all the kids through a walk-through. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the same practice we’ve always done.”

On changes with effort and belief

“Maybe I misspoke, because I have been here for four years and I was excited, a lot was going on. Let me retrace. I’m not saying that the kids didn’t play hard because of course they played doggone hard under Coach (Gus) Malzahn and with Coach (Bryan) Harsin, every time they played hard. A lot is going on and a lot has happened. Again, it was refreshing to me to bring back, especially in the last two years, who I truly feel is the glue to this program that a lot of people don’t know is brother Chette (Williams). We kind of switched meeting styles up on Friday where chapel wasn’t the first thing that we did. Whenever I was here before, we always finished with chapel, which was powerful. Those guys had the opportunity to sit in with our brother Chette out there. We had meetings, then dinner, then the opportunity to talk and then we finished with brother Chette. Again, I think I said that eight or ten guys gave their lives to Christ. Just from that, like I told those guys, we can’t lose. I just truly feel like this is what this coaching profession should be about. I had the opportunity to have a lot of good men in my life and I would not be here without those people pouring into my life. That is what it’s truly about. Yeah, we’re going to be judged on wins and losses. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be judged that way, but I am. I want to be judged by these kids 10, 15, 20 years later down the line, where they say ‘Coach Lac was good for me.’ I don’t ever want to have a kid once they get older and get wiser say ‘Coach Lac was no good for me. He didn’t tell me like it was.’ So, to me, that’s the most important thing. This is Auburn. The wins, the football part, it’s going to take care of itself. But we have to have a relationship with each other and care for one another. It’s bigger than the ball games to me.”

On Ike Hillard and Will Friend

“Again, this is new. We all knew I threw a bombshell, and Auburn threw a bombshell on me, so I threw it back on them. So, again I thought those guys worked good together. Coach Ike (Hilliard) here, I played with the guy in Tampa for four years, he had a 12-year career, University of Florida, National Championship. Coach Friend, you guys know he played for that other school we’re not going to mention that. But those guys are football junkies, so I got full confidence in that offensive staff and the guys that I’m working with. Honestly, they make my job a lot easier, where I can try to do this head coaching thing and touch our players. I feel like this week, those guys are in the lab right now working. One thing that I do know is they’re going to come up with a good plan and we are going to be together, and they aren’t going to point any fingers. We’re going to have fun doing it, whether we’re up by 20 or we’re down by 20. I don’t want the negative energy; I don’t want the negative vibes. We’re all working for the same cause.”

On new AD John Cohen

“I met him for a brief second there. Just from hearing him talk and I’ve read up on him, I do think that Auburn and the future of this program is in really, really good hands. But to be honest with you, I’m kind of in tunnel vision right now. I’m just putting my head down, plowing and working and getting these kids together, these coaches, so I haven’t had that much time at all to even talk to him, to be honest with you.”

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire