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A spirit that is not afraid

COLUMN | Cadillac's the man

The man of the hour: Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. He’s a breath of fresh air for the fanbase. He knows Auburn’s football program and what it needs. Long story short, Auburn needs to look no further for a head football coach. 

Auburn was frantic after firing head coach Bryan Harsin on Oct. 31. Days later, running backs coach Cadillac Williams was announced as interim head coach and changed the program's attitude in less than a week, which was made obvious in a fight to the finish line in Starkville in his first game.

As speculations continue to rage, Auburn needs to answer the question: What kind of coach is it looking for? 

Is it someone with empathy and compassion for his players? Someone who knows the ins and outs of the program? Someone who has seen the sport at a collegiate and professional level? Someone with talent and passion? Someone who believes? Someone with energy? Someone who gets the culture? Someone who brings life to the stadium and to the Auburn Family? 

The answer to all these questions is Cadillac. 

The decision to make Cadillac permanent head coach would be controversial. However, the decision to not make him head coach sends a questionable message as well. Passing him by tells the country that he isn’t the kind of coach Auburn is looking for. 

Sometimes Auburn seems to forget that dynasties aren’t built in a day. This is an understandable thought process when competing against repeatedly-championed SEC teams. However, not every coach has to come from an outside school to bring something new and good to Auburn. Maybe all it needs is right in front of it. 

Cadillac doesn’t have a coaching record for Auburn to examine and compare, but he has several other qualities that give him what it takes to be the next great Auburn coach.

He is a true Auburn man; he is an alumnus of the University and record-holding football player. This means that he understands the culture. There is no one more fit to say, “I believe in Auburn and love it.” 

He is a good role model for the young men in his program. The change is obvious. The players are celebrating on the sidelines, they exhibit better sportsmanship and, for the first time this year, they believe that they can win. Cadillac understands exactly where they’ve been. He’s also played in the NFL, so he knows what to look for and what it takes to get there. There is no one with better empathy. 

“I have a very soft spot for guys who get injured because like you all know my career was full of them," Williams said. "(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."

Auburn is looking for someone to rebuild and improve the program. Will it turn a blind eye to the man who's responsible for the first sold-out Jordan-Hare Stadium of 2022 — and in a season when Auburn was 3-6? He has reengaged the student section like no other and reinstilled school spirit and hope into 87,451 people. 

He has influence and favor. He engages the student section instead of ignoring or frustrating it. When he coaches, there is no energy comparable to Crazy Cadillac's Jungle. His "we need you" tweet got over 84k views before the game, and after the A&M game, Auburn was named Best Crowd of Week 11 by Saturday Down South

The Jungle was hyped up for interim Cadillac Williams' first home game as the head coach.

Financially, Auburn should not be messing around with any more buyouts or settling for mediocre coaches. It’s time to take a leap of faith and go all in on a talented Auburn man. You better believe other schools want this kind of coach. Auburn runs the risk of losing him if they take him for granted. 

In a fraction of the time coaching, he has the same number of SEC wins as Bryan Harsin. He helps his players reach their highest potential — he recognizes and encourages specific talent. He has generated more support from the student section. The energy on campus, in Jordan Hare and at Toomer's Corner is unmatched. He is what Auburn needs. 

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Maybe it’s crazy, but that’s his motto. Cadillac’s the man. 

The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors. 

These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees. 

Sami Grace Donnelly | Columnist

Sami Grace Donnelly, sophomore in journalism, is a columnist at The Auburn Plainsman.


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