Everything coach Cadillac Williams said ahead of the Western Kentucky game

It’s Western Kentucky week, and interim head coach Cadillac Williams has a lot to say.

Williams had his weekly press conference on Tuesday, where he addressed a variety of topics. He talked about facing the air raid yet again after getting a glimpse of it against Mississippi State, getting game ball after his performance coaching against Texas A&M, getting the receivers more involved in the offensive game and the confidence of the team’s running backs, among other topics. Willaims will be looking for his second consecutive win as interim head coach of the Tigers this upcoming Saturday.

Check out everything he said on Tuesday below:

Opening statement

“First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to Virginia, that whole community and everybody who was affected by the tragedy. Wow, my heart hurts. I got the opportunity to meet Coach (Tony) Elliott during the time I spent at IMG. What a standup guy, so I hurt for them and those families. The Auburn Family will definitely keep them in our prayers.

“I am very appreciative of the Auburn Family and the way that they showed up Saturday night. Wow, what an atmosphere and a great win, but now it’s time for us to turn that page, which as of Sunday we definitely turned the page on that because we have a Western Kentucky team that is pretty doggone good. They are very explosive on offense, and they have a good defense. Those guys play hard. They’re well coached. There’s a lot of guys on staff here that know a lot of those guys. That have coached with them and with Coach (Tyson) Helton. We have a lot of respect for them, their staff, and their team. We’re going to have to bring our A-game. Once again, I’m calling on the Auburn Family. Just like I need help up here, we need help, so come pack the house, let’s have fun and try to get a victory.”

On already playing an air raid team in Mississippi State

“To me, playing the game of football is about confidence. Defensively, the way we played against Texas A&M, the way we played against Mississippi State and being familiar with a team throwing it every snap, now we should be even more prepared and know what to expect and be confident going into that game. I doesn’t guarantee anything, but those guys should be confident. I’m pretty confident in that defense, and I enjoy watching those guys fly around.”

On improvements in the run game

“As running backs, we get a lot of attention because we carry the ball, but honestly those guys up front, they’re moving people. They’re fighting, they’re together, and they’re straining out there. They’re getting a hat on a hat. Those backs from Jarquez (Hunter) to Tank (Bigsby) and even Damari (Alston), when those guys get the opportunity, they run hard and they break tackles, which in this league you have to do. I think as far as the run game we are just in sync with each other and playing a lot better. That’s credit to those coaches, Coach Friend, Coach Bernardi, Coach Simmons, Coach Hilliard and Coach McDaniel, getting those guys ready to play and coming up with a plan.”

On running backs gaining confidence after success

“So much confidence. Jarquez and Tank, those guys feed off each other. I know that feeling of being Jarquez or Tank. When Ronnie Brown was out there doing good or Brandon Jacobs was out there running the rock or Trey Smith, it’s like you’re happy for them, but you’re like, ‘I want some that action.’ So that is how it’s going down. They are feeding off each other and what a really good one-two punch. They definitely complement each other.”

On the wind impacting throwing and kicking

“Honestly, as far as kicking the ball, it does affect your decision because (Alex) McPherson has a big leg and he’s going to be one of the better kickers to play here, but when the wind is in your face, now we know had to try to get to 25-yard line versus giving him the opportunity around the 35, 38-yard line. So, the wind did make a difference especially on kickoffs, punts, just adjusting guys. As far as punt return, I know that the wind played a factor there, but we can’t use that excuse because Texas A&M had to play with the wind, too. In the passing game as well. You know the wind definitely can affect throws, especially when you are trying to throw deep into it.”

On wideouts getting more involved

“It starts with me. Somehow, we have to put those guys in better position. But we also have to make the throws when they are there and take advantage of the looks. Collectively, myself, Coach Friend, Coach Hilliard and Coach Hartline, we have to be better. We have to also make plays out there.”

On grading the defense

“Effort on defense. I played running back, but my heart was always on defense. Defensively in high school, I always loved to strike people. Understanding the concept of getting to the football and having 11 guys playing together, relentlessly striking people creates so much momentum. Creates confidence. Colby Wooden had an outstanding game. The sack fumble was huge and sealed the game for us. The guys in the secondary played lights out. I think that up to the 80-yard drive, they (Texas A&M) only had 135 yards. In the SEC, I know they have been struggling, but to only have 135 yards at that point and to finish with 215 yards. That is a total team effort defensively. Guys buying in. Guys serving. Guys in the right place, winning the pre-snap and studying the keys. That was excellent to see.”

 

On missed tackles

“I do not have the exact number of missed tackles, but from watching I did not see very many. If there were any, there were guys right there to help.”

On grading the offense

“Offensively, who stood out, the offensive line and the run game did a lot of good things. We must get better in the pass protection. I thought both backs ran hard. Robby (Ashford), of course, is a fighter. He’s going to play hard and he’s a competitor. We have to continue to settle him down and harness that energy that he has. I thought we did a lot of good things on offense, but we have to get better in the red zone. We kept the ball for 36 minutes which is huge. Had 270 rushing yards. Whenever we get that passing game rolling, we will have a chance to be lethal.”

On the senior class

“Wow! Well, we were just talking about this year what those seniors have been through. The coaching change and with everything that happened in the offseason. You have to take it back even farther. They have been through two coaching changes, coordinators, position coaches. Not to even mention COVID. Wow, those guys have been through a lot but one thing I can tell those guys is that they will be better because of it. Not one time have they flinched. They have stayed steady. They have kept their faith and continued to believe. I thank those young men. They are going to do some really cool things in life because of all that adversity. All that they’ve been through and how they handled it. I remember when I was a senior, that day is a special day. It is sad to see guys go but I am looking forward to honoring this group with all they’ve went through.”

On remaining unpredictable on offense

“I kind of want to get back to Auburn, old-school football. Auburn, to me, is about work, hard work. Auburn is about toughness, perseverance. So, we want to be tough, and we want to be physical. I think one of the greatest things about the game of football is when your opponent knows that you’re running the ball, but you still impose your will. It takes the fight out of a lot of teams. I’m honestly ok with us running the rock and having success. But I also know that we have to get better and we’re going to need our pass game down the stretch to win ball games and we are going to get better. We are going to get better. Those guys are doing a heck of a job right now getting a plan together. Robby (Ashford) is going to get right. The receivers are going to get right. We have to put them in better position so that when their numbers are called, they have to make plays. I don’t mind that 3-to-1 ratio right now running the football because we want to be the most physical bunch.”

On players of the week and what he's doing with the Aggies game ball

“I’m honestly doing away with players of the week. I honestly think that with NIL and everything that’s going on, the game is so individualized right now. I’m going to recognize the defense and mention guys who played well. Congratulations to Colby Wooden for getting SEC Defensive Player of the Week. I will recognize him. As far as players of the game, I just want to keep the unity and the team aspect.

“The game ball, I’m keeping that one. It’s crazy because when I was a player and, in my career, I honestly never kept any of my trophies, my rookie of the year stuff. I gave that all to my mom and my dad. I never kept anything. I told them they could have it. I’m very appreciative of it, but I don’t put too much value on individual things to be honest with you. Now that I have kids and a family, that all has kind of changed. My boys think those things are really cool. To keep the game ball and to have it down in the basement and let them see it. It was their first Tiger Walk that they walked in. The first game their daddy won. I think I’m going to keep this one.”

On his favorite moment from the A&M game

“Wow. That is a loaded question. My favorite moment was, of course the fans and the Auburn Family, but also to see all the former players on the sidelines. I got a chance to reflect. These are guys that I fought with, trained with. A lot of good memories. I was just replaying them in my mind. So, I honestly thought that was the coolest thing, seeing the smiles on their faces. All of those guys being in the locker room when I addressed the team. And then after the game, having all of the players in the locker room. It was crazy to see. It just came full circle. That was my favorite part about Saturday.”

On how it felt being awarded the game ball

“It caught me by surprise because I did the speech, we danced. To have the captains Derick Hall and Owen (Pappoe) and those guys come up and present me with the game ball, that was when it kind of hit different. It was when I realized that this is real. We just won the game and to hear those guys say that they appreciate me pouring into their life because at the end of the day – win, lose or draw – I told the guys that it’s all about life lessons for me. Those guys gave me so much purpose. Those guys have helped me so much be a better man. To hear those guys say those things and be appreciated definitely made me smiles and feel good.

On getting advice from former teammates

“I have two different Auburn group chats. From Mississippi State to Texas A&M, they were ringing. For State, ‘Lac, you can’t do that. You have to kick the field goal. You aren’t playing no video games.’ They have been very supportive. Everybody can be a coach from the couch, and everybody can second guess and do all that. But this team, once we practiced and decided that we are going to give it a go, we’re going to do it together. Whether it works or not, I’m going to give the credit to my coaching staff. If it doesn’t work, I will take the blame. And that has been my approach with the coaching staff and the team. No pressure on those guys. They can go out and call and do what they do and let me jump on the shore and take the blame. Ultimately, it is on me because I make the decision. Which is weird to say that I make the decision, but it’s pretty cool.”

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire