Hugh Freeze's Auburn football hiring blasted in defense of preferred candidate: 'Uninspiring'

Ole Miss v Auburn
Ole Miss v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

Hugh Freeze being hired by the Auburn football program in 2022 instead of (at the time) interim head coach Cadillac Williams was a decision that's Roy S. Johnson called "uninspiring." Johnson believes taking Williams would've been the opposite.

"Expected to just keep the seat warm for yet another uninspired hire, ‘Lac—as his friends call him—filled hearts and seats at Jordan-Hare with a passion that had students and their grandparents waving their arms in the air like they cared," Johnson wrote.

"Auburn, of course, didn’t make the inspired hire, yet Williams returned, loyal to his core, as an assistant head coach and running backs coach for Hugh Freeze, as the most beloved member of the staff."

Hiring Williams would've been a groundbreaking hire for the Tigers, who have long opted to exclusively bring on head coaches who ran a program the year before. Williams had the in on the Plains having won nearly as many games as Bryan Harsin that season in half as many games. More important than the win total in an ultimately lost season, though, was how he inspired the locker room and got the most out of a group that Harsin had coached the passion out of.

Cadillac Williams had eyes on pro ranks 'for a while' during Auburn football coaching stint

As The War Rapport's Mike Gittens told me, Cadillac long had eyes for the NFL and would've considered certain jobs before he eventually landed with the Las Vegas Raiders in February.

"It’s my understanding the NFL was his ultimate goal," Gittens said of Williams landing an NFL job. "Unclear on whether he got any college. My sources told me he had his eyes on the pro ranks for a while."

One has to imagine those eyes started focusing on the NFL once Freeze was signed to a six-year contract and Williams' dream of coaching his alma mater appeared out of reach.