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Everything Interim Coach Cadillac Williams Said After Auburn's Loss at Alabama

The Tigers were able to run, but Alabama capitalized on turnovers and explosive plays en route to the 49-27 victory in the Iron Bowl.

Interim head coach Carnell "Cadillac" Williams talked for 23 minutes during his postgame press conference following Auburn's 49-27 loss in Saturday's Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

Here's everything he had to say:

"First of all, I’m proud of these 24 seniors, it’s a lot of these guys’ last time to put on the pads. Whether it’s college, or professional, I personally know how tough that can be. It’s going to be tough for them. Proud of our players, this staff, support staff. I’m so humbled and honored the way they responded through all of this.

"I mean, through this process, it made me a better person. A better husband, father, a better friend. It is powerful what you can do when you get people to believe and serve, and thinking about each other. It’s powerful. So that the thing that I’m most happy for, having this opportunity. That is what I told players, staff it was. I don’t know how many games that we’re going to win, and honestly, quite frankly, it was harsh to but it didn’t matter. But it didn’t. I’ve seen kids that were broken. I’ve seen kids that needed help. The opportunity to get to serve them and see how – wow – they have opened their heart. How they did a 360. How they’ve back believing. [There’s a] lot of cool things in the four weeks. Like 12 guys giving their life to Christ. Seven guys got baptized.

"So today’s game, we didn’t get it done. I mean you look at it, during the first half we had two turnovers, five false starts, five big plays – 25 yards-plus run. I did not, like I told the guys at halftime, I didn’t do a good enough job of getting those guys prepared. I honestly feel that way, and it’s not just coach talk. At the end of the day, I had a group of men and kids, this staff, we did not do a good-enough job of getting these guys prepared. When you have five false starts, and allow the mental breakdowns that you have, you gotta look at yourself in the mirror.

"We stressed that all week – I know we’re gonna fight; they’re gonna give us everything they’ve got. It’s just how these kids are. They believe. They know that each coach and myself care for them. It’s a process. We gotta be better prepared. A lot of guys were not as sharp and focused as they needed to be. I know how hard it is to not be locked in, your mind is somewhere else, and then go in that environment and try and compete. Your anxiety is going to be crazy. So if they can take anything from this, and I’m not pointing fingers at them, just with their life, they’re next job, whatever they do, is has to be intentional with everything that they do."

On the response he got from everyone at Auburn:

“It means everything. I mean, Auburn — I’m already forever indebted to it because it gave me an opportunity to accomplish my dreams in life, to take care of my mom, you know, I met my wife here. Brought up two boys. So, to think that Auburn can do more, you’re like, you can’t do more, but these last couple weeks, oh my. I mean, from the Auburn family, just the people, there’s a reason two decades ago that I chose Auburn, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made, and these past four weeks have been special. I’m talking about absolutely special the way they done poured into my life, the support, the way they got behind this team. Whew. Auburn is in a better place because of these seniors and the Auburn family. Future is bright, very bright.”

On the fumble on the punt return, and greeting each player coming off the field:

"It’s not like the NFL, you can’t get fined, right?"

[Yes, you can]

"Well, I had a front-row seat there. It’s tough. The refs, they have a tough job. They have to see things in real life and they have to make decisions. Let’s just say that I had a front-row seat there.

"To great each player, they, again, they have changed my life for the good. They have, wow, made me come out of my comfort zone. They have shown me some thing, and I have figured some things out about my life, that I didn’t know was there. A lot of success things, whatever that be going on, is a direct reflection of the way that they have responded, and how they allowed myself and the other coaches into their lives. That just means a lot to me."

On Robby Ashford’s resiliency:

"Well, that guy’s a fighter. He’s going to compete. He’s going to give you everything he has. I mean the guy’s incredible. One of the better athletes I’ve been around. Ever. And man, he was trying to will us to that win. But Robby knows, I’ve done talked with Robby multiple times this year, not only him, myself, this team — better prepare better. We meant mentally tough. Not just show up on Saturday. Not saying these kids just show up on Saturday. But being a former player, a guy who’s been in their shoes, been down that path, you’ve gotta be intentional. Saturday’s the moment will get too big for you if you don’t take every rep with the mindset off a game-line mentality. A lot of guys are talented. Like I tell them guys, I wasn’t a good enough player to just go through the motions in practice. So we’ve just got to continue to be on guy’s habits, like just by patterns, man. Once they get that down, the mental part of it, a lot of them kids gonna be A-Ok.”

On running for more than 300 yards:

“Like I told those guys, they are going to have to be special. [When I was] being named the interim coach, sat them down and just shared, ‘Look, y’all are going to have to be that spark.’ Much is given, much is required. The good Lord has blessed them tremendously and besides the quarterback, the running back is the guy who is touching the ball most of the time. So those guys could be that light, that spark plug. They could be that positive energy that we needed. Not just on gameday, but on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I told those guys that the team is gonna go as you guys go. Both of them guys have been very selfless guys. They work good together. It’s amazing to watch both of them. It’s pretty cool to know kinda how they feed off of each other. Many, many moons ago, I once experienced it so that’s pretty good. So happy for both of those guys, man.”

On Jarquez Hunter and the way he finished the season:

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“I pray to God that Cole and Cuinn, my two boys, have his type of attitude, his work ethic. That young man is special. I’m not just talking about on the field, but the way he treats people, the way he goes about his business, the kindness he has to people, the great teammate he is. A lot of times with NIL and everything going on, those things get lost. Those things are not valued anymore. Man, he definitely exemplifies what an Auburn man should be like, to be honest with you.”

On being first Black man to coach in the Iron Bowl:

"It means a lot. I grew up always wanting to play in this game. Dreamed about it, visualized about it, spoke it into existence. I was doing some research. This is Google, so if Google is wrong then talk to Google. Auburn and Alabama have been playing since 1893. That’s Google, so it’s a fact I’m telling you. I shared it with my players last night, to be the first African-American to coach in this game, to be the head coach, it almost broke me down last night. It honestly, I didn’t really think much about it, to be honest with you, but it definitely was special. Special because we, you know, we don’t dream about being a head coach, to be honest with you. For people before and after me that are striving to do these things, a lot of things in life -- if you can see it then you can strive for it and start believing it. Pretty cool. Pretty cool. I’m very thankful and honored for that. Can’t nobody take that away from me, no matter what goes on. Nobody.”

What will you take away the most from your time as interim head coach?

"That’s a great question. Whew. Honestly, the kids, how they have responded. I mean … you all already know. Whew. A lot of the stuff that’s been going on, look I’m not blaming nobody, I’m part of this staff. … and I’m talking about with class, guys not going to class, guys just missing, and I know that ain’t sad and all, but to see how guys (snaps) turned that around, guys going to class, treating people with respect, showing up for their strategy (sessions), their tools. Heading the academic people calling and saying they’re like different kids. That’s been the best part of all of this to be honest with you. To be able to walk in front of those kids, and to be able to tell a kid how proud I am of you. That’s been very deep for me.

"Second thing, is just, if there’s one thing I’ve taken from this whole ordeal, you can be different and do this and be successful. You can serve, can go about it and make about these kids, make it about changing their lives. Because I won’t be on this platform if I didn’t have the opportunity. Guys like Steve McConnell, my Pee Wee coach when I was 11 years old. Rod Graves, who was my middle school coach. Coach Raymond Farmer who was my high school coach (at Etowah in Alabama). Wow. Real men poured into my life and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. So it’s pretty cool that I get the opportunity to share this with them. We still text, talk. It think it’s like the coolest thing to have them many, many years ago. Just be genuine, to be nice, to plant that seed that I can do something cool in life. To see two decades later, me being on this stage, man, we can’t stop texting and talking about it. So regardless of what goes on, I have been blessed. I have been blessed by Auburn, I’ve been blessed by the Auburn family. These players. This staff. So the future is bright, regardless of what goes on, and not because of me, but because of these 24 seniors. I should probably say that they left Auburn better than they found it, so those young guys have something to look at, something to strive for, how it’s supposed to look.

"I know that’s a long answer … "

See Also:

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Everything Nick Saban Said After Alabama Won the Iron Bowl

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