Nick Saban on Cadillac Williams: ‘He’s Done a Great Job’

Getty Nick Saban complimented Auburn Tigers head coach Carnell "Cadillac" Williams during Iron Bowl week's Monday press conference (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Ahead of the annual Iron Bowl matchup between Alabama and Auburn, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban gave interim Tigers head coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams his metaphorical flowers during a November 21 press conference.

“He’s done a great job— the energy, the enthusiasm, the way the guys are competing and playing, the way they play to win,” Saban said. “And that was his personality as a player. I remember when I was the coach at the Miami Dolphins, Ronnie Brown and Cadillac were both coming out the same time in the same draft. And we thought they were both great competitors. He certainly was a great competitor. And I think his personality shows in the way his team competes.”

Williams took over as head coach of Auburn after Bryan Harsin’s firing on October 31 — stepping up from his previous role as running backs coach, which was a position he had held since 2019 under Harsin’s predecessor, Gus Malzahn, as well.

Nick Saban Passed on Carnell Williams as Miami Dolphins Coach

Once upon a time, Nick Saban was an NFL coach who had used a national title-winning stint at LSU as a stepping stone to the professional level. His NFL career didn’t last long, but in Saban’s first draft, he famously picked Ronnie Brown over fellow Auburn running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.

Williams never forgot about that, sharing as much in the aftermath of Auburn’s 41-17 win over Western Kentucky on November 19. “He did pass on me in the 2005 (NFL) Draft, and he took Ronnie Brown over me,” Williams joked during the Saturday night postgame presser. “That still hurts me a little bit, but I’m over it now.”

Williams went on to have a successful NFL career, as did Brown. In total, there were four Auburn Tigers selected in the 2005 draft.

Nick Saban on Auburn’s Recent Improvements

Under Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, the Auburn Tigers have shown more life after an energy-less 3-5 start to the season. While they didn’t upset Mississippi State in Williams’ debut, AU did come back from a 21-point deficit in the second half and lost in overtime. The Tigers have won their last two matchups at home, meaning bowl eligibility is on the line during the 2022 Iron Bowl.

When asked about Auburn during the November 21 Iron Bowl Monday press conference, Nick Saban played it close to the vest before talking about their run-heavy offense. “I just think they’re playing really well now,” Saban said Monday when asked to compare the Tigers’ recent performance to what it was earlier in the season. “I’m not making an evaluation. I thought they played hard all year long. I think their players really compete well and they’ve done that all year long. They’ve just played really well in the last three games.”

“They run the ball effectively,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of diversity on offense. Their quarterback’s a very athletic player who can run and throw. Tank is one of the better backs in the SEC. Their defense is very, very aggressive. [Owen] Pappoe is a really good inside backer. [Derick] Hall is a really good rusher, creates a lot of negative plays. They’re very good on special teams. This is a very challenging game for us, and our players are going to have to do a great job of getting prepared to play as well as we’ve played all season.”

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