Darrell Williams, left, celebrates with Kris Frost last season
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn linebacker Darrell Williams likes the style of new assistant coach Travis Williams.
Old school, out-going personality, an emphasis on "physical, hard-nosed football."
Now, the linebacker says he's ready to challenge today's spread-'em-out offenses with that old-school mentality. He says that plays right into his game.
"It's a new generation," Williams said. "You have to run from sideline to sideline. I feel like he instills that in us. He's a good person. His character, his enthusiasm takes us a long way in practice. He really gets us through practice. He's a good coach. I see it every day."
The linebacker said his coach likes "to point out individual guys and their strengths in the film room because we're a group and we have things to work on, but every time he says that, I like it. I appreciate it, but I don’t like to be held up like that. I use it like I do the good criticism because I need to get better. If somebody gives me a compliment like that, in my head 'I’m thinking I can do better than that.'"
Travis Williams is 11 years removed from being an All-SEC linebacker at Auburn. The offenses have changed since then. Travis Williams' attitude is still the same.
Darrell Williams, who played in nine games last year, said he'll couple his coach's old-school approach with what he says his ability to run with the offenses of today.
"I definitely feel like that is my style of play," said Darrell Williams. "I feel I'm more comfortable doing those type spread things. Coming here I knew I had to get better, faster, quicker, recognize stuff quick because that gives you a step up against those faster offenses."
Williams is in the mix for what will be a new-look Auburn linebacker corps. He welcomes that after last season.
"I was in the position I could have played a lot, but our old coordinator, Coach Muschamp, didn't feel like I was ready enough," Williams said. "I had never been in that position where I didn't play, so I sat back and watched a lot of the older guys, and took a lot of technique. My eyes are open more, growing up as a player.
"I felt like I had a good spring, but at the end of the spring I felt like I had a lot of things I could work on. I feel like the first couple of days of camp I really worked on getting better at those things."
Darrell Williams credits Travis Williams for that.
"He's really pushing us hard and he wants me the best I can be, just as much as I want to be the best I want to be. That really helps me a lot in practice," Williams said.
Williams is "very athletic for a linebacker," his coach said.
"He allows us to do some things with him from his athletic skill set. But he’s a guy that’s got to continue just to work and just grind. It’s amazing because all the guys are getting better."
Darrell Williams said he's adapted to Travis Williams and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's mandate.
"The first thing they said is you have to be physical and give effort. That’s the biggest thing we’ve been working on is you’re not going to play if you’re not willing to give effort running to the play on the defensive side of the ball. Being in the SEC that’s what it’s about – being physical.”
And having a chance to play.
"I'm really excited about it. I know it's a lot to look for this season, not only for myself, but as a team. I know it's pretty much my time to get back into playing a lot. I'm ready to see what it holds for me."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine