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Auburn interim coach Cadillac Williams: ‘I’m in this seat for a reason’

The Bucs’ 2005 first-round pick became the first Black head coach in program history earlier this week.
Auburn interim head coach Cadillac Williams spent six seasons with the Bucs.
Auburn interim head coach Cadillac Williams spent six seasons with the Bucs. [ Times (2010) ]
Published Nov. 2, 2022

After what Cadillac Williams called a “bittersweet 48 hours,” the former Bucs running back is settling into his role as Auburn’s interim head coach.

Williams, the No. 5 overall pick in 2005, got the job after the Tigers ended months of speculation by firing Bryan Harsin on Monday. Williams said his “emotions were everywhere” after he heard his boss was out and that he would be taking over his alma mater for the final four games, starting Saturday at Mississippi State.

Related: Conference realignment: How much USF missed out on when Big 12 chose UCF

“I just truly feel like, man, that the good Lord works in mysterious ways,” Williams said during Wednesday’s SEC coaches’ teleconference. “I’m in this seat for a reason.”

Williams broke Bo Jackson’s Auburn record with 45 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,100 yards in his first season with Tampa Bay to become the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. But injuries hampered his NFL career; he amassed 3,677 rushing yards in six seasons with the Bucs before playing a final year with the Rams.

He spent two seasons as an assistant at Bradenton’s IMG Academy before eventually joining Auburn as a running backs coach before the 2019 season.

Cadillac Williams (far right) joined Auburn's coaching staff in the 2019 season as an assistant.
Cadillac Williams (far right) joined Auburn's coaching staff in the 2019 season as an assistant. [ TODD J. VAN EMST | AP (2019) ]

“This place is dear to my heart, has done so much for my family and has changed my life in so many ways,” said Williams, the first Black head coach in program history. “For me to have the opportunity to give back to Auburn in this position as the leader, at times, is heavy. Lord knows I’m excited. I’m grateful. I’m honored. And I am ready to serve and give all I can to these players, this coaching staff and the Auburn family.”

As part of Auburn’s staff shakeup, Ike Hilliard has been promoted from receivers coach to co-offensive coordinator. Hilliard won the 1996 national title as a star receiver for the Gators and was Williams’ Bucs teammate from 2005-08.

Injury updates

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke suffered an apparent shoulder injury last month against Duke.
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke suffered an apparent shoulder injury last month against Duke. [ AL DIAZ/ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM | Miami Herald ]

Miami coach Mario Cristobal said quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has been improving every day in practice and that the Hurricanes are “optimistic” he’ll be available Saturday against Florida State. Cristobal said everything with Van Dyke’s throwing has looked “absolutely normal.”

Van Dyke, who earned offseason buzz as a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft, left the Duke game after an apparent shoulder surgery and did not participate in last week’s win at Virginia. Backup Jake Garcia finished 15 of 29 for 125 yards in the start and rushed for the winning two-point conversion in the fourth overtime.

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Related: The offense built for playmakers Mike Norvell promised has arrived at FSU

Florida State coach Mike Norvell told reporters that running back Treshaun Ward is “trending the right way” and will likely play at Miami, barring a setback. The Tampa Bay Tech alumnus was one of the ACC’s leading rushers before he suffered an upper-body injury at North Carolina State.

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