AUBURN, Ala. — There have been two causes Bryan Harsin picked up the telephone in late December and gave Cadillac Williams a hoop.

The primary is apparent: The newly minted Auburn head coach was able to assess Williams as a potential candidate to stay on workers as operating backs coach after Gus Malzahn, who employed Williams in January 2019, was proven the door.

The second was due to Williams’ pedigree and his orange and blue background. Harsin, an outsider by all accounts, merely needed to know extra about Auburn — why Williams determined to play there, why he cherished it a lot after leaving for the NFL, and why he got here again all these years later as a coach.

And it was in these early conversations that Williams realized Auburn had made, in his opinion, a splash rent by snagging Harsin from Boise State, the place he compiled a top-5 profitable share in school soccer throughout his seven seasons as head coach.

Then Williams simply needed to wait and cross his fingers that his telephone would ring once more.

“Simply to have what transpired in December, it was robust,” Williams mentioned Monday throughout a gathering with reporters. “I feel the hardest factor about it was simply the uncertainty of not understanding, after all. As soon as Allen (Greene) determined to go that totally different path, it impacts lots of people’s lives. From not solely coaches, however you’ve gotten GAs, analysts. Simply my two years being right here, being a part of this workers with Coach Malzahn and people different coaches, you simply have a priority for not solely your self however their households and the path of the place we’re going to go as a college.

“When he (Harsin) first reached out to me, it was kind of simply attending to know me, and sort of find out about Auburn and the Auburn means,” “Then in a while, I assume after the bowl sport, when there was I assume an opportunity he was contemplating me, then it bought right down to extra the Xs and Os and simply my philosophy. Additionally, I feel truthfully with Coach Harsin, it truthfully got here right down to him understanding that I needed to be right here at Auburn, and I needed to make that step and that I used to be on board with turning this factor round and shopping for in.”

On Jan. 8, Harsin introduced he could be retaining Williams as operating backs coach — the lone carryover from Malzahn’s assistant workers, who obtained a $25,000 elevate and is on contract by way of this coming season.

Through the interview processes, Williams — this system’s No. 2 main rusher in yardage behind Bo Jackson, and No. 1 in program historical past in dashing touchdowns — mentioned he did his finest to stay humble, whereas additionally expressing how badly he needed to stay at his alma mater.

“I do know I’ve this Cadillac identify, however on the finish of the day, I’m a humble man,” Williams mentioned. “My relationship with these gamers and with this college means to me, I’m keen to do all the pieces I can to get this program again to profitable championships. I feel he felt that vibe from me. I feel that’s one thing that made the largest distinction (with Harsin).”

In his coronary heart, he needed the perfect for the Auburn program. He simply hoped Harsin’s imaginative and prescient for that success included him — and it did.

“With me being a man who performed right here, who loves Auburn, it’s sort of two-fold for me,” Williams mentioned. “The place you actually need the perfect for Auburn, however on the similar time, not understanding your future with Auburn was sort of nerve-wracking. However thank God, Coach Harsin — I feel it was an important rent — gave me a chance to return again and to proceed to have an effect.”

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Now with spring follow in full swing — two weeks carried out, two weeks to go till the A-Day spring sport — Williams is totally intertwined inside Harsin’s system, each on offense and as a tradition for this system.

“Wow, I feel the long run is vibrant,” Williams mentioned of Harsin. “He’s a hard-nosed coach who believes in self-discipline, who believes in simply constructing younger males, not solely on the sector but additionally off the sector. I simply suppose his construction and the way in which he goes about issues, he’s demanding however not demeaning. And I feel our crew truthfully has accepted that with flying colours. These guys wish to be pushed. These guys wish to plan in place that they’ll get on and again to the Auburn profitable methods.”