Jump to content
Null

Cornelius Williams New WR Coach


Recommended Posts

5 minutes ago, DAG said:

Okay, this is my last post to you because you have shown to be all over the place and inconsistent. It would be hard for anybody to just walk in and just win anything against SABAN. He is the GOAT. You have used some extremity in your messages all day. With that being said, that does not mean he cannot be successful In recruiting quality WR here just because you do NOT recognize him or you are upset because you got caught up in the social media game regarding "SPLASH HIRES." You are caught up in the BIG NAMES. I am not. I don't live by that measure.

I’m not even upset man. If you looked up my post history, you’d see that i don’t take this stuff too seriously.  I’m just being real. If we got a guy like Dell McGee I’d be more optimistic and sure minded than I am now about recruiting WR’s. And so would 99% or the people on this board that care enough to follow the hire. But at some point someone, somewhere decided Cornelius Williams and Dell McGee became the same quality hire and to pretend that they aren’t is apparently a no no now.  I didn’t get that newsletter in the mail. 
 

I like your optimism man. I really do. And I have no interest in arguing with you about some 18-22 year old’s WR coach on a Sunday afternoon. So let’s just feel about this hire how we want until the games are played. 

Link to post
Share on other sites




  • Replies 199
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Position coaches leverage the head coach & coordinator's scheme, as well as the state of the program as a whole first and foremost. This means that Harsin/Bobo will be the first line for WR recrui

Harsin is very good at identifying young up and comer coaches that are talented. He gave andy avalos, zach hill, eli drinkiwitz and bush Hamdan their first major job's before they became more establis

Oh.... I remember Coach Williams when he coached at JSU when I was there. Pretty good coach, not SUPER vocal but definitely a guy players will love. Responsible for guys like Spencer Goffigan, Anthony

Posted Images

38 minutes ago, Maverick.AU said:

I’m trying to think back when caddy was hired, had he not played for us, what would the reaction have been? Caddy had 3 one year stints before he came here: GA at West Georgia, RB coach at IMG, RB coach for Birmingham Iron.

To be fair he coached the Iron for days. Maybe weeks. Certainly no where near a year. Edit* 3 months. Just looked it up. Hired by the iron in October 2018. Hired by Auburn January 2019.

 

And just because he played for us doesnt mean everyone was behind the hire or him being retained. 

Edited by Auburn2Eugene
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, W.E.D said:

We'll hear names from the NFL, elite recruiters at other SEC schools, then out of the blue it'll be a Boise coach or someone no one has ever heard of.... But I can assure you one thing, it'll be a great hire

This is my favorite post today. Lol

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, DAG said:

 because you have shown to be all over the place and inconsistent..

Not going to lie, this part made me lol. I can’t even argue about this. I was arguing with like 3 different people and I have a 9 month old, who just learned that he can yell at the top of his lungs and climb daddy at the same time, so yea I don’t have much consistency with my thoughts anymore. In fact, I think I’m losing my mind by the second. 

  • Like 3
  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, AuCivilEng1 said:

Not going to lie, this part made me lol. I can’t even argue about this. I was arguing with like 3 different people and I have a 9 month old, who just learned that he can yell at the top of his lungs and climb daddy at the same time, so yea I don’t have much consistency with my thoughts anymore. In fact, I think I’m losing my mind by the second. 

Has the 9 month old started showing any 'WR' skills yet?

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I just want all of the hires done.  At the beginning it was exciting to see who would be hired at each position.  But after every hire half of the forum hates it and the other loves it.  Too much of a roller coaster.  Let’s just make the hires, prepare for spring practice and recruit.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, steeleagle said:

Has the 9 month old started showing any 'WR' skills yet?

Nah he’s in the 85th percentile with height and 74th for weight. He’s going to be playing for Tracy Rocker or Brad Bedell, because those are the only two positions I know how to teach him. 😂

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saban and Kirby have staffs with several no name coaches. Yes, a few well known coaches are sprinkled in key positions. It is not blind to recognize that CBH has the track record and is essentially following the same blueprint. His coordinators are not rookies. Some of the staff are known. Some are lesser known. Same formula. Rest easy.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, metafour said:

Position coaches leverage the head coach & coordinator's scheme, as well as the state of the program as a whole first and foremost. This means that Harsin/Bobo will be the first line for WR recruiting, because ultimately the offensive identity, output, and utilization will come from there. If you look at Kodi Burns, he was looking like a "good to great" recruiter in the early part of Malzahn's tenure back when there was still hope/optimism that Malzahn was an "elite offensive coach". You saw his recruiting fall backwards a bit once we went years without properly utilizing & developing WR's, and opposing coaches were able to negative recruit us on this fact. Kodi Burns didn't all of a sudden become a "worse" recruiter, he just lost the ability to leverage our offense.

Holmon Wiggins wasn't an "elite recruiter" when he was at Virginia Tech. However, now that he's at Alabama, he's selling their offensive scheme and NFL pipeline so all of a sudden his commitment list looks more impressive. They've had multiple WR coaches at Alabama with similar results in both recruiting and performance.

The important thing about Cornelius Williams is that he has built connections with HS coaches during his prolonged time coaching within this state, as well as being a player at Troy and at Hoover HS. Troy still recruits the same highschools that the 5-star kid from Alabama would go to, the only difference is that they're targeting the 3-star teammates and not the elite 5-star kid that obviously isn't signing with Troy. The first "connection" to recruiting these kids is their HS coaches, not the kid themselves. 

Good stuff, as usual. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, metafour said:

Position coaches leverage the head coach & coordinator's scheme, as well as the state of the program as a whole first and foremost. This means that Harsin/Bobo will be the first line for WR recruiting, because ultimately the offensive identity, output, and utilization will come from there. If you look at Kodi Burns, he was looking like a "good to great" recruiter in the early part of Malzahn's tenure back when there was still hope/optimism that Malzahn was an "elite offensive coach". You saw his recruiting fall backwards a bit once we went years without properly utilizing & developing WR's, and opposing coaches were able to negative recruit us on this fact. Kodi Burns didn't all of a sudden become a "worse" recruiter, he just lost the ability to leverage our offense.

Holmon Wiggins wasn't an "elite recruiter" when he was at Virginia Tech. However, now that he's at Alabama, he's selling their offensive scheme and NFL pipeline so all of a sudden his commitment list looks more impressive. They've had multiple WR coaches at Alabama with similar results in both recruiting and performance.

The important thing about Cornelius Williams is that he has built connections with HS coaches during his prolonged time coaching within this state, as well as being a player at Troy and at Hoover HS. Troy still recruits the same highschools that the 5-star kid from Alabama would go to, the only difference is that they're targeting the 3-star teammates and not the elite 5-star kid that obviously isn't signing with Troy. The first "connection" to recruiting these kids is their HS coaches, not the kid themselves. 

this is my favorite post today 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Quietmaninthecorner said:

BS.  Malzahn had very little experience as a head coach.  9 days short of 1 year at Arkansas State!  

I agree. People still said it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, abw0004 said:

Honestly I just want all of the hires done.  At the beginning it was exciting to see who would be hired at each position.  But after every hire half of the forum hates it and the other loves it.  Too much of a roller coaster.  Let’s just make the hires, prepare for spring practice and recruit.

Lol there is only 1 hire left.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, slyinsocal said:

Saban and Kirby have staffs with several no name coaches. Yes, a few well known coaches are sprinkled in key positions. It is not blind to recognize that CBH has the track record and is essentially following the same blueprint. His coordinators are not rookies. Some of the staff are known. Some are lesser known. Same formula. Rest easy.

SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Logic doesn't work here! ;)

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 11:06 AM, Zeek said:

Harsin had to be impressed considering the other WR coaches mentioned.

Or they turned it down, or it was all rumor, or on and on.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 10:06 PM, AuCivilEng1 said:

What a strange couple of months this has been. If you had told me the day after Gus was fired that this would be the Auburn staff on January 16, 2021, I would have been super confused and frantically googling half the names, including the head coach. Man I hope this thing works out. I just can’t see a picture a reality in my head where this WR coach out recruits Bama, Ole Miss, Miss St, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, or LSU for high profile receivers. Here’s to hoping Harsin is as gifted at evaluating talent as some of you guys say he is.

please step away from the talking head ledge, Auburn fans need to stop trying to win the one up national championship. Winning solves the recruiting challenges!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2021 at 5:40 PM, wde1968 said:

Or they turned it down, or it was all rumor, or on and on.

I’m guilty of this, but it becomes a very toxic situation comparing coaches to who we thought were other options, bc an insider that we only care for when he says something we like, implies that a couple other guys have some interest 

For me, I’m probably always going to subconsciously compare Harsin to Cristobal, or at least until I see that first real marker of success that shuts me up

Edited by Dual-Threat Rigby
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

'Coach Corn' ready to 'go the extra mile' for Auburn

by Nathan King

71 minutes ago

If a kid grows up in the state of Alabama, dreaming of being a college football coach, then Cornelius Williams’ fast rise in the industry would probably be a surreal manifestation of that fantasy.

In the past 20 years, Williams has left the state just once for football — four years as a player at Hoover High School, four years as a player at Troy, a grad assistant at South Alabama in 2010, one year out of state as receivers coach for Murray State in 2011, then returning to coach receivers at UNA in 2012, Jacksonville State in 2013, UAB in 2014, Troy from 2015-20 and now Auburn in 2021.

That journey began for Williams as a two-star wide receiver prospect for coach Rush Propst at Hoover. Out of high school, Williams had three offers: UAB, Louisiana-Monroe and Troy. In 2006, he committed to Troy in large part because of his bond with the Trojans receivers coach at the time, Neal Brown.

Brown, now the head coach at West Virginia, was Williams’ position coach for his first two years before being promoted to Troy’s offensive coordinator after Tony Franklin left his post for Auburn. Williams caught 63 passes in his career for 764 yards and seven touchdowns.

Now just over a decade removed from graduating college, Williams was the youngest assistant hired to new Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin’s inaugural staff on the Plains — and he was the only one without a tangible, easily explained connection to Harsin in the coaching industry.

Harsin’s assistant staff otherwise includes two former Auburn players (Cadillac Williams and Zac Etheridge), three coaches from the SEC last season, a couple of whom Harsin said he’s wanted to coach with for a long time (Derek Mason, Mike Bobo and Will Friend), two carryovers from his Boise State staff (Jeff Schmedding and Brad Bedell), and one coach Harsin routinely faced off against in the Mountain West (Bert Watts). Even new defensive line coach Nick Eason, who comes over from the NFL, is tied to Mason, after he tried to hire Eason before at Vanderbilt.

So what made Williams stand out to Harsin in favor of some other offensive assistants from the head coach's past who he might know better?

“He’s been here in Alabama and understands Auburn and what that stands for and what that means,” Harsin said. “It’s important to him. As we had our conversations and I got to be around him, just the energy and excitement and the opportunity to be here. This is, for many of us, a dream opportunity and a chance to be at a program like this. Nobody exudes that more than him and he’s jumped in with both feet. He’s been great in meetings. Been great around the players. He’s very good at recruiting and very good at connecting.”

Harsin cited his own relationship with Brown, too, and how highly recommended Williams came from the former Troy coach, who mentored Williams as a player and as an assistant when Brown was Troy’s head coach.

“I’ve known Cornelius since he was 18 years old,” Brown told Auburn Undercover. “Really over the last six years, watching his progression as a coach, it’s really been a special thing — because I think he’s developed himself into one of the best receiver coaches in the country.”

SHOW, DON'T TELL

Emanuel Thompson and his teammates were plenty disciplined. They did their part off the field and in the weight room, always hustling to get to the Troy football complex, waking up before 5 a.m. for workouts at 6 a.m.

No matter how hard they tried, they could never get there before "Coach Corn."

“When we get there early — 5:30, 5:15 — he (Williams) would always beat us,” said Thompson, who played receiver at Troy from 2014-17. “He’s already in the weight room, working out. And on top of that, he does a couple reps with us and conditions with us.

"So when you see that type of leadership from your position coach, head coach, strength and conditioning coach, any of your coaches, it turns a different type of mental inside of you. It gives you that perspective: ‘How can I not when he is?’”

After Thompson’s freshman season at Troy, in which the team went 3-9, longtime head coach Larry Blakeney retired, opening the door for a new regime, with Brown returning, this time as head coach — and with Williams returning to his alma mater, too.

“We had a lot of the same team going into my sophomore year,” Thompson said. “But the new coaching staff that came in, they gave a different type of energy, and Corn (Williams) was a big part of that.”

Thompson and his position mates quickly realized they were in good hands with Williams. Troy’s wide receiving corps prior to the 2015 season was a thin group, with a couple of players even coming over from defensive back to add depth, Thompson said.

That didn’t temper Williams’ expectations for his new pupils, though.

“He didn’t want to come in and make us one of the top receiving corps in the Sun Belt; he wanted to be one of the top receiving corps in the nation,” Thompson said. “With us, that was big for a first-year coach as far as expectations with a bunch of guys you didn’t recruit. He kind of molded us as a unit.”

Williams possesses an “elite” coaching style, according to Thompson. It’s one that places a greater emphasis on showing rather than telling. The biggest plus for Williams is that, when he started at Troy, it had been only seven years since he last played wide receiver in college. If one of his players messed up a drill, instead of instructing him on how to fix it for next time, Williams lined up and executed the drill himself, Thompson said.

Show, don’t tell.

“He makes things easy, man,” said Thompson, who noted that simplifying an offense was important early on with Williams, since Troy’s receiving corps wasn’t very experienced.

Aside from Troy’s transplants from the defensive side of the ball, Thompson himself wasn’t a receiver by training, either. He was only in his second season playing the position after being signed as a standout quarterback from Clayton, Alabama.

“[Williams] made things easier as far as reading coverages, reading defenses,” Thompson said. “When we’re watching and breaking down film, he made those types of things very easy, as well. So it’s a lot of things that, in my opinion, you would have to go the extra mile to be successful at that position. And he did just that.”

Williams’ intensity and optimism was infectious for Troy’s offense. He developed an unbreakable relationship with his players, so they respected him not only as a coach, but as a friend, too. That created mutual respect in practice and game settings, which Thompson said was of vital importance to he and his teammates.

“He’s very easy to talk to, and very outspoken,” Thompson said. “He’ll let you know when you mess up or whatnot, and he really doesn’t mind calling you out on your s***, neither, just man to man. And I like that about him. That mental part mattered a lot to all of us."

During his six seasons coaching receivers at Troy, 14 of Williams' players were named All-Sun Belt. Thompson was one of three players to first-team honors when he caught 80 passes for 820 yards as a junior. In 2019, a Troy receiver went over 100 yards in 11 different games, setting a program record.

One of Thompson’s favorite things about Williams were his in-game adjustments. When Troy’s wideouts would trot off the field after the first couple series of a game, they were met with tons of questions, as Williams worked to confirm what he was seeing from the defense.

“When we come back to the sideline during games, he gets me and asks, ‘Hey, what are they doing to y’all?’” Thompson said. “And I’m able to tell him the small things, tell him they’re playing me ahead, or playing 2-3 inches outside, he’s stabbing with the inside arm. We’re able to go over specifics in the middle of a game, and he comes back with a counter. He goes, okay, let’s try this release, let’s do this differently.

“Being able to make those quick, in-game adjustments as if he was playing with you, man, it’s king. It’s king. I can’t really stress that enough. If you are — and I’d say this to any player in the nation — if your position coach never played that position, you’re missing out.”

TOUGH LOVE

Neal Brown admits he was probably too tough on Williams. But as he put it, it’s difficult to break away from the player-coach relationship that was ingrained in the two of them from when Williams was in college.

Brown played wide receiver, too, at Kentucky and UMass. So when he returned to Troy as head coach in 2015 — with Williams on his staff — he often peered over Williams’ shoulder during practices.

That’s why Brown thinks the past two seasons — after he left to take the West Virginia job — were important for Williams’ coaching development.

“I think it was a really great opportunity for him the last two years,” Brown said. “Even though I respected him, my background is a receiver, so I was probably unfair to him because I didn’t totally turn him loose. I think that, in conversations with him about football since then, I think over the last two years, him really being able to take ownership of that, I think that’s greatly improved his ability to teach — to grow his guys and develop them on his own.”

When Chip Lindsey took over the Troy program prior to the 2019 season, Williams was retained on staff. The former Auburn offensive coordinator quickly realized he didn’t have much teaching to do with the young Williams, as Troy’s wide receivers routinely produced as one of the most consistent groups in the Sun Belt.

"He's one of the brightest young coaches in America," Lindsey told Auburn Undercover. "Very detail-oriented, has a great relationship with his players. He works extremely hard, and he'll do a great job there for Coach Harsin."

Brown wasn’t surprised when he started hearing buzz about Williams taking over for Kodi Burns on Harsin’s staff, and he was ecstatic to speak with Harsin about one of his former assistants.

“I know Neal, and Neal does a great job at that wide receiver position,” Harsin said. “So you know where guys were taught from and you know some of the things that they've learned through their coaching career and the type of details that a guy's going to bring. You can see that with Coach Williams.”

When Harsin touched on the addition of Williams last week, he noted that his new assistant has “knowledge in some areas where he's going to help us with the scheme” and will help Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in putting together the “system” that will become Auburn’s offense in 2021 and beyond.

Williams did the same for Brown at Troy. As Thompson alluded to, “Coach Corn” is always looking for an advantage with his receivers, whether that’s installing some new concepts in practice or making changes on the fly on a Saturday afternoon.

“He’s going to be a great staff guy for Coach Harsin,” Brown said. “And I think he’s a guy that not only in those areas, but for me, he had scheme ideas. I think he’ll be in more leadership roles in college football in the future.

'HE'S JUST NOW SCRATCHING THE SURFACE'

Williams’ cell phone ringer was always up. He told — better yet, he demanded — that his players give him a call whenever they felt the slightest urge to. Whatever the reason, Williams wanted to be there for them, day and night.

Thompson suspects it won’t take long for Auburn’s wide receivers to develop the same bond with Williams that he and his teammates cherished so much.

“He’s that type of person who says to always call,” Williams said. “He’s that type of person, he’s that type of man. He would much rather you call before you decide to drive home drunk from a bar after a big win. He told us to ring him and say, ‘Hey, coach. I’ve had one too many. Can you come pick me up?’ And he’ll be there ASAP, no questions asked.”

As Thompson put it, Williams’ personality off the field mirrors how he approaches coaching — easy, simple, always “going the extra mile,” doing “the little things to get over the hump.”

That’s why Thompson sees the addition of Williams as a valuable asset for Auburn in the recruiting department. He thinks it won’t take long for a young prospect to latch on and view Williams as a close friend and confidant, as Thompson and his teammates still do to this day.

“He can relate to a lot of things that are modern for today’s time and today’s players,” Thompson said. “He can recruit an 18-year-old and 19-year-old and relate to things that kid is going through as a teen. He can bring him in, since he played college ball not long ago, he’s able to mold a lot of those things for kids coming in who really have no guidance.”

Williams would be the first to say he’s nowhere near a finished product as a coach. Brown and Thompson — from opposite perspectives of teacher and student — both said they watched Williams grind away, day by day, always questioning and tweaking, in hopes of making any sort of tangible improvement with his players, on and off the gridiron.

“He’s hungry to learn,” Brown said. “And what I mean by that is that he was always trying to improve his craft as a coach. Not just on his receiver knowledge, but also how to teach, how to run a meeting, how to lead.

“... He’s just now scratching the surface of what he’s going to be as a coach. I think he’s got a ton of growth still ahead.”

Thompson isn’t a lifelong Auburn fan, but now that he lives less than two hours away, he’s looking forward to diving in as a fan of the Tigers in order to support his former coach. He said he’s excited to catch a few games in Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall and hopefully catch up with his good friend.

And like Brown, Thompson doesn’t think SEC assistant coach is the ceiling for Williams.

“One day I think he’ll have his own team with his own group of coaches,” Thompson said. “He’s just that caliber of coach. It didn’t surprise me at all when I saw his name come up at Auburn. He’ll succeed there and wherever he goes. Everyone will tell you, man, it’s just a pleasure to know him.”

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is great insight.

We THINK we know who would be better position coaches, but really we know nothing like the coaches know within their coaching circles.

We always thought, even though we love Kodi as an Auburn man, that there were things that a more 'detailed' and experienced WR coach could bring to our WRs. 

Corn Williams seems like Harsin did his homework, and he will be exactly the type of coach Harsin wanted to  help 'develop' our WR players. As well as be a strong recruiter with his personality.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
247sports.com
 

'Coach Corn' ready to 'go the extra mile' for Auburn

ByNathan King
13-17 minutes

 

If a kid grows up in the state of Alabama, dreaming of being a college football coach, then Cornelius Williams’ fast rise in the industry would probably be a surreal manifestation of that fantasy.

In the past 20 years, Williams has left the state just once for football — four years as a player at Hoover High School, four years as a player at Troy, a grad assistant at South Alabama in 2010, one year out of state as receivers coach for Murray State in 2011, then returning to coach receivers at UNA in 2012, Jacksonville State in 2013, UAB in 2014, Troy from 2015-20 and now Auburn in 2021.

That journey began for Williams as a two-star wide receiver prospect for coach Rush Propst at Hoover. Out of high school, Williams had three offers: UAB, Louisiana-Monroe and Troy. In 2006, he committed to Troy in large part because of his bond with the Trojans receivers coach at the time, Neal Brown.

Brown, now the head coach at West Virginia, was Williams’ position coach for his first two years before being promoted to Troy’s offensive coordinator after Tony Franklin left his post for Auburn. Williams caught 63 passes in his career for 764 yards and seven touchdowns.

Now just over a decade removed from graduating college, Williams was the youngest assistant hired to new Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin’s inaugural staff on the Plains — and he was the only one without a tangible, easily explained connection to Harsin in the coaching industry.

Harsin’s assistant staff otherwise includes two former Auburn players (Cadillac Williams and Zac Etheridge), three coaches from the SEC last season, a couple of whom Harsin said he’s wanted to coach with for a long time (Derek Mason, Mike Bobo and Will Friend), two carryovers from his Boise State staff (Jeff Schmedding and Brad Bedell), and one coach Harsin routinely faced off against in the Mountain West (Bert Watts). Even new defensive line coach Nick Eason, who comes over from the NFL, is tied to Mason, after he tried to hire Eason before at Vanderbilt.

So what made Williams stand out to Harsin in favor of some other offensive assistants from the head coach's past who he might know better?

“He’s been here in Alabama and understands Auburn and what that stands for and what that means,” Harsin said. “It’s important to him. As we had our conversations and I got to be around him, just the energy and excitement and the opportunity to be here. This is, for many of us, a dream opportunity and a chance to be at a program like this. Nobody exudes that more than him and he’s jumped in with both feet. He’s been great in meetings. Been great around the players. He’s very good at recruiting and very good at connecting.”

Harsin cited his own relationship with Brown, too, and how highly recommended Williams came from the former Troy coach, who mentored Williams as a player and as an assistant when Brown was Troy’s head coach.

“I’ve known Cornelius since he was 18 years old,” Brown told Auburn Undercover. “Watching his progression as a coach, it’s really been a special thing, because I think he’s developed himself into one of the best receiver coaches in the country.”

Emanuel Thompson and his teammates were plenty disciplined. They did their part off the field and in the weight room, always hustling to get to the Troy football complex, waking up before 5 a.m. for workouts at 6 a.m.

No matter how hard they tried, they could never get there before "Coach Corn."

“When we get there early 5:30, 5:15 he (Williams) would always beat us,” said Thompson, who played receiver at Troy from 2014-17. “He’s already in the weight room, working out. And on top of that, he does a couple reps with us and conditions with us.

"So when you see that type of leadership from your position coach, head coach, strength and conditioning coach, any of your coaches, it turns a different type of mental inside of you. It gives you that perspective: ‘How can I not when he is?’”

After Thompson’s freshman season at Troy, in which the team went 3-9, longtime head coach Larry Blakeney retired, opening the door for a new regime, with Brown returning, this time as head coach — and with Williams returning to his alma mater, too.

“We had a lot of the same team going into my sophomore year,” Thompson said. “But the new coaching staff that came in, they gave a different type of energy, and Corn (Williams) was a big part of that.”

Thompson and his position mates quickly realized they were in good hands with Williams. Troy’s wide receiving corps prior to the 2015 season was a thin group, with a couple of players even coming over from defensive back to add depth, Thompson said.

That didn’t temper Williams’ expectations for his new pupils, though.

“He didn’t want to come in and make us one of the top receiving corps in the Sun Belt; he wanted to be one of the top receiving corps in the nation,” Thompson said. “With us, that was big for a first-year coach as far as expectations with a bunch of guys you didn’t recruit. He kind of molded us as a unit.”

Williams possesses an “elite” coaching style, according to Thompson. It’s one that places a greater emphasis on showing rather than telling. The biggest plus for Williams is that, when he started at Troy, it had been only seven years since he last played wide receiver in college. If one of his players messed up a drill, instead of instructing him on how to fix it for next time, Williams lined up and executed the drill himself, Thompson said.

Show, don’t tell.

“He makes things easy, man,” said Thompson, who noted that simplifying an offense was important early on with Williams, since Troy’s receiving corps wasn’t very experienced.

Aside from Troy’s transplants from the defensive side of the ball, Thompson himself wasn’t a receiver by training, either. He was only in his second season playing the position after being signed as a standout quarterback from Clayton, Alabama.

“[Williams] made things easier as far as reading coverages, reading defenses,” Thompson said. “When we’re watching and breaking down film, he made those types of things very easy, as well. So it’s a lot of things that, in my opinion, you would have to go the extra mile to be successful at that position. And he did just that.”

Williams’ intensity and optimism was infectious for Troy’s offense. He developed an unbreakable relationship with his players, so they respected him not only as a coach, but as a friend, too. That created mutual respect in practice and game settings, which Thompson said was of vital importance to he and his teammates.

“He’s very easy to talk to, and very outspoken,” Thompson said. “He’ll let you know when you mess up or whatnot, and he really doesn’t mind calling you out on your s***, neither, just man to man. And I like that about him. That mental part mattered a lot to all of us."

During his six seasons coaching receivers at Troy, 14 of Williams' players were named All-Sun Belt. Thompson was one of three players to first-team honors when he caught 80 passes for 820 yards as a junior. In 2019, a Troy receiver went over 100 yards in 11 different games, setting a program record.

 

10226985.png?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,off Emanuel Thompson (8) (Photo: Mickey Welsh / Syndication: Montgomery Advertiser, USA TODAY Sports)

One of Thompson’s favorite things about Williams were his in-game adjustments. When Troy’s wideouts would trot off the field after the first couple series of a game, they were met with tons of questions, as Williams worked to confirm what he was seeing from the defense.

“When we come back to the sideline during games, he gets me and asks, ‘Hey, what are they doing to y’all?’” Thompson said. “And I’m able to tell him the small things, tell him they’re playing me ahead, or playing 2-3 inches outside, he’s stabbing with the inside arm. We’re able to go over specifics in the middle of a game, and he comes back with a counter. He goes, okay, let’s try this release, let’s do this differently.

“Being able to make those quick, in-game adjustments as if he was playing with you, man, it’s king. It’s king. I can’t really stress that enough. If you are — and I’d say this to any player in the nation — if your position coach never played that position, you’re missing out.”

Neal Brown admits he was probably too tough on Williams. But as he put it, it’s difficult to break away from the player-coach relationship that was ingrained in the two of them from when Williams was in college.

Brown played wide receiver, too, at Kentucky and UMass. So when he returned to Troy as head coach in 2015 — with Williams on his staff — he often peered over Williams’ shoulder during practices.

That’s why Brown thinks the past two seasons — after he left to take the West Virginia job — were important for Williams’ coaching development.

“I think it was a really great opportunity for him the last two years,” Brown said. “Even though I respected him, my background is a receiver, so I was probably unfair to him because I didn’t totally turn him loose. I think that, in conversations with him about football since then, I think over the last two years, him really being able to take ownership of that, I think that’s greatly improved his ability to teach — to grow his guys and develop them on his own.”

When Chip Lindsey took over the Troy program prior to the 2019 season, Williams was retained on staff. The former Auburn offensive coordinator quickly realized he didn’t have much teaching to do with the young Williams, as Troy’s wide receivers routinely produced as one of the most consistent groups in the Sun Belt.

 

10226325.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offset-y0.50&width=620&height=320 Cornelius Williams at practice (Photo: Troy Athletics)

"He's one of the brightest young coaches in America," Lindsey told Auburn Undercover. "Very detail-oriented, has a great relationship with his players. He works extremely hard, and he'll do a great job there for Coach Harsin."

Brown wasn’t surprised when he started hearing buzz about Williams taking over for Kodi Burns on Harsin’s staff, and he was ecstatic to speak with Harsin about one of his former assistants.

“I know Neal, and Neal does a great job at that wide receiver position,” Harsin said. “So you know where guys were taught from and you know some of the things that they've learned through their coaching career and the type of details that a guy's going to bring. You can see that with Coach Williams.”

When Harsin touched on the addition of Williams last week, he noted that his new assistant has “knowledge in some areas where he's going to help us with the scheme” and will help Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in putting together the “system” that will become Auburn’s offense in 2021 and beyond.

Williams did the same for Brown at Troy. As Thompson alluded to, “Coach Corn” is always looking for an advantage with his receivers, whether that’s installing some new concepts in practice or making changes on the fly on a Saturday afternoon.

“He’s going to be a great staff guy for Coach Harsin,” Brown said. “And I think he’s a guy that not only in those areas, but for me, he had scheme ideas. I think he’ll be in more leadership roles in college football in the future.”

Williams’ cell phone ringer was always up. He told — better yet, he demanded — that his players give him a call whenever they felt the slightest urge to. Whatever the reason, Williams wanted to be there for them, day and night.

Thompson suspects it won’t take long for Auburn’s wide receivers to develop the same bond with Williams that he and his teammates cherished so much.

“He’s that type of person who says to always call,” Williams said. “He’s that type of person, he’s that type of man. He would much rather you call before you decide to drive home drunk from a bar after a big win. He told us to ring him and say, ‘Hey, coach. I’ve had one too many. Can you come pick me up?’ And he’ll be there ASAP, no questions asked.”

As Thompson put it, Williams’ personality off the field mirrors how he approaches coaching — easy, simple, always “going the extra mile,” doing “the little things to get over the hump.”

That’s why Thompson sees the addition of Williams as a valuable asset for Auburn in the recruiting department. He thinks it won’t take long for a young prospect to latch on and view Williams as a close friend and confidant, as Thompson and his teammates still do to this day.

 

10194809.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offset-y0.50&width=620&height=320 Cornelius Williams (Photo: Troy Athletics)

11COMMENTS

“He can relate to a lot of things that are modern for today’s time and today’s players,” Thompson said. “He can recruit an 18-year-old and 19-year-old and relate to things that kid is going through as a teen. He can bring him in, since he played college ball not long ago, he’s able to mold a lot of those things for kids coming in who really have no guidance.”

Williams would be the first to say he’s nowhere near a finished product as a coach. Brown and Thompson — from opposite perspectives of teacher and student — both said they watched Williams grind away, day by day, always questioning and tweaking, in hopes of making any sort of tangible improvement with his players, on and off the gridiron.

“He’s hungry to learn,” Brown said. “And what I mean by that is that he was always trying to improve his craft as a coach. Not just on his receiver knowledge, but also how to teach, how to run a meeting, how to lead.

“... He’s just now scratching the surface of what he’s going to be as a coach. I think he’s got a ton of growth still ahead.”

Thompson isn’t a lifelong Auburn fan, but now that he lives less than two hours away, he’s looking forward to diving in as a fan of the Tigers in order to support his former coach. He said he’s excited to catch a few games in Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall and hopefully catch up with his good friend.

And like Brown, Thompson doesn’t think SEC assistant coach is the ceiling for Williams.

“One day I think he’ll have his own team with his own group of coaches,” Thompson said. “He’s just that caliber of coach. It didn’t surprise me at all when I saw his name come up at Auburn. He’ll succeed there and wherever he goes. Everyone will tell you, man, it’s just a pleasure to know him.”

">247Sports

Link to post
Share on other sites

i think coach corn will be a great asset to auburn football and i hope so with that name. first time someone sees him struggle they will be calling him coach cornball.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...