Aubserver Mailbag 98: Go Crazy
This week: Cadillac Williams, redoing the last coaching search, Beamers vs. Chadwells, Deion vs. Lane, breaking down more candidates, soft pretzels and soups
Interim HC Cadillac Williams (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
This time last week, the interest in Auburn football was so low, that there were barely any questions about it in the mailbag.
Since that basketball-heavy mailbag went up, Auburn has: poached a sitting athletic director from another SEC school who wasn’t on most people’s radars before the weekend, lost another game to a team it beat last season, fired Bryan Harsin, named Cadillac Williams the interim head coach and started a search that will be one of the key pieces of this year’s college football carousel.
Oh, yeah, and basketball played a game! It’s got another one in a few days! And that one counts!
As you might expect, this is a massive mailbag with a lot of talk about coaching candidates. But we’ll open with some good questions on Cadillac Williams — a legendary player that I grew up watching who now gets his chance to be the head man of his alma mater.
The interest in Auburn football has shifted dramatically over the last few days, even if wins are still going to be tough to come by the rest of the season. That makes for better mailbags and more people checking out The Observer.
Thanks, as always, to everybody who read, listened, sent in a mailbag question or told their friends about what we’ve got going on here this week. This has been a wild and crazy week that isn’t even over yet, but I wouldn’t trade doing it in this format, for this fan base, for anything else.
What players do you expect to play a larger role under the interim coaching staff?
It’s tough, because Auburn is eight games into the season and — even with an interim head coach — you still kinda are what you are as a team by this point. Other than that anecdote from friend of the newsletter Nathan King about one player shouting that the Tigers are “going to run the ball all day long” under Williams, it’s difficult to figure out just how much will change.
I think there’s a chance that some players who have played sporadically but performed well recently, such as Camden Brown and Jeremiah Wright, will see their chances increase this weekend. I won’t be surprised to see this interim staff try to rotate more players in than what Harsin did, particularly in the hopes of keeping young players engaged and still on the team. That could mean more reps for freshmen like Robert Woodyard, J.D. Rhym, Austin Ausberry and Damari Alston.
With the coaching change, will we see a different offensive scheme? One that better fits Ashford’s strengths as a qb? Maybe more zone read a la Nick Marshall?
Will Friend was an offensive line coordinator under Mike Bobo at Colorado State from 2014 to 2017. Those offenses were a little run-heavier in terms of balance, and that should play right into what Auburn wants to do in November under Williams — feed the ball to Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, work the clock and develop some sort of consistency around Robby Ashford.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more designed runs for Ashford, but it’s not like Auburn can install a brand new playbook in just a few days. It’ll be the same offensive plays, but the frequency and timing of those plays will be the differences. Auburn might lean into more of its zone reads under the interim staff, since they’re already in the playbook and aren’t hard to rep in practice. However, don’t expect this to look like Gus Malzahn’s 2013 offense all of a sudden.
Cadillac survived the transition from Malzahn to Harsin. Do you think he (and/or any other current coaches) will stay on with the next staff? Does it depend on who that HC ends up being?