Travis Williams' long association with Auburn continues, now as the Tigers' linebackers coachBy Charles GoldbergAuburnTigers.comAUBURN, Ala. —
Travis Williams' appreciation of Auburn's history of a tough defensive team is first hand and runs deep, and now, the former Tigers' linebacker, graduate assistant and defensive analyst has a chance to show his school what he knows as a full-time assistant coach.
Gus Malzahn named Williams his linebackers coach Thursday, the same day he hired Wesley McGriff
as his secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator, and a little more than a week after naming Kevin Steele his defensive coordinator.
"I am very thankful to Coach Malzahn for believing in me and for giving me this opportunity," Williams said. "To whom much is given, much will be required. I understand the expectations and responsibility of being the linebackers coach at Auburn. I understand Auburn and those that laid the foundation before me. Auburn is home. If it wasn't for Auburn, I wouldn’t have met my wife and had two beautiful girls."
Williams knows of the Auburn's tradition on defense. He signed with Auburn in 2001, redshirted his first season, and played the next four, winning All-SEC honors during the Tigers' unbeaten 2004 season and winning all-conference honors again in 2005. He led Auburn in tackles in 2004, was second in 2005 and third in 2003. He won the Pat Dye Leadership Award for defense in 2004 and 2005.
"I have always been very impressed by Travis’ knowledge and passion for the game and his ability to relate to our players," Malzahn said. "I'm glad to have him as an on-field coach. Travis embodies Auburn and what Auburn football is about. He’s a great addition to our staff."
Williams returned to Auburn in 2009 as a graduate assistant and was part of Auburn's 2010 national championship season. He rejoined the Auburn program in 2014 as a defensive analyst and served as an on-field coach for the last two bowl games in the midst of coaching changes.
Williams said he learned the schemes and the tradition of being an Auburn defensive players from then-linebackers coach Joe Whitt.
"We always say we laid that foundation of the way it is supposed to be. But not to disrespect anybody, it was laid before us," Williams said in 2014. "There were great defenses here. What I really liked about being here was Coach Whitt always educated about Auburn history. I know about the '83 season, the '84 season, '89, '88, '90, '91. I know about all the great defenses. We did a really good job of keeping it steady. There was leadership way before we got here, and leadership in the early 2000s, like Reggie Torbor, Spencer Johnson, Karlos Dansby, who showed us how to do it."
Williams played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 and 2007.
Williams graduated from Auburn in 2005 with a degree in criminology and criminal justice. He earned a master's degree from Auburn in 2011 in adult education.Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: