Auburn football: Opelika-Auburn News floats Travis Williams for Tigers head coach

Opelika-Auburn News deputy editor Justin Lee is much like the rest of the Auburn football fanbase — not totally sold on the status quo coaching option in the aftermath of Lane Kiffin’s decision to stay with Ole Miss.

Hugh Freeze is the expected head coaching hire according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, but the ink hasn’t dried and possibly hasn’t even been put to paper when it comes to who will be leading the Tigers next in the NIL era. Many fans don’t want someone with multiple stops in his career where questionable behavior was exhibited. Neither does Lee.

Lee went outside the box with his Auburn football head coaching suggestion, which is something he believes the AU brain trust also needs to do following the 2022 Iron Bowl. His suggestion for a possible surprise coaching option?

UCF defensive coordinator Travis Williams, who once served as both a linebackers coach and defensive front seven terror for the Tigers:

“Travis Williams must be interviewed for the head coach position at Auburn University, if Auburn is moving anywhere past its No. 1 offer.”

“Yes, there are 1,001 reasons Auburn and Deion Sanders could find to realize they’re not right for one another. There were, apparently, one too many reasons why Auburn and Lane Kiffin couldn’t come together, if reports around the country were to be believed this week and on Saturday.”

“But if new Auburn athletics director John Cohen is moving anywhere down the offer list, he better leave no stone unturned, because this hire is too important to leave to only the people the national media predicted all along.”

“Williams is young and inexperienced, now the defensive coordinator at UCF, but he knows Auburn, and he knows the challenges at Auburn, and if you’re moving down your wishlist and you get to No. 4 on the list, or No. 3, or even No. 2, Williams may well be just as good an interview and have an even better plan in place tailored to Auburn football.”

If Auburn football can’t land a top coaching candidate, hiring within could be the best way to go

Justin Lee makes an intriguing point about embracing what the Plains is about if a head coaching peer to Nick Saban and Kirby Smart — which Lane Kiffin doesn’t qualify for either while we’re on the subject — isn’t signing on the dotted line.

Dabo Swinney is truly the only head coach with a similar resume, besides Urban Meyer, though that isn’t someone the Auburn fanbase wants either, and since he’s staying in Clemson while likely waiting for Saban to retire, finding an internal option that is undeniable to anyone in the fanbase is the best call.

Carnell “Cadillac” Williams has earned a legitimate look for the position, but if throwing him into the fire in a critical recruiting cycle isn’t in the cards, finding someone like Travis Williams could be a popular possibility as well.