Auburn linebacker Travis Williams isn’t planning on dialing back the intense demeanor that made him a two-time All-SEC linebacker.
Williams vividly illustrated the type of effort he expects from his players when he met with the media for the first time since being promoted from defensive analyst to linebackers coach in January.
“I want you to actually run through somebody’s soul,” Williams said.
With Auburn’s new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele giving Williams the leeway to run his own meetings and put his individual stamp on the position group, the Auburn alum is intent in molding the linebackers in his own image.
“When you cut us open as linebackers I want you all to say them boys are physical and give great effort,” Williams said. “We are going to mess up plays, but that’s on me as a coach, but if you watch the Auburn linebackers I want you to see they look physical and give great effort. When we get to the ball, we get to the ball with bad intentions.”
The philosophy is the one Auburn’s defense subscribed to during the team’s undefeated season in 2004. The defense finished first in scoring defense and fifth in total defense. The team tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed in Division 1 with Williams starting all 13 games.
“I’ve seen what a number one defense looks like,” Williams said.
As a player, Williams passion was a constant. He shared a humorous story of how his intensity nearly caused him to get in a fight with former teammate Antarrious Williams during a weight room session.
The two had to be separated when Travis Williams accused his fellow linebacker of dogging it, but Williams had mistakenly overlooked the cast on his teammate's arm.
“I was telling him to do more weight on the triceps extensions, but forgot his arm was broken, I just got on him,” Travis Williams said with a smile. “We squared up and had to go to coach Yox’s (former strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall) office and he had to talk to us, but that’s how hard we pushed each other and that’s was my best friend.”
Williams doesn’t want his players going to those extremes, but the story illustrates what Auburn’s new linebackers coach is bringing to the plains.
“We know outside of our doors no one really thinks we are going to be any good,” Williams said. “It keeps that chip on our shoulder. It keeps us going, it keeps me going.”