Offensive coordinator Hugh Nall says watching the Cadillac in action was a treat. "Carnell is one of those backs who can make people miss, but he will also run over people when he needs to do that," Nall says. Nall, who doubles as offensive line coach, adds, "I have been around some great backs and he ranks right there with them."
Carnell Williams heads for the end zone on one of his six touchdowns in Saturday's rout of Mississippi State. (Photography: Jason Caldwell)
In the past three games, Williams has rushed for 496 yards on 86 carries and scored eight touchdowns. His six touchdowns in the 45-13 victory over Mississippi State came on runs of 72, three, 22, seven, two and six yards. His 72-yard run was the longest by a Tiger since Rudi Johnson ran 78 yards vs. Louisiana Tech in 2000.
"The offensive line gets all the credit," says Williams, who is the first person to be named SEC Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks. "They opened up holes for me, Brandon (Brandon Jacobs) and Tre (Tre Smith). They made our day very easy."
The Cadillac's position coach, Eddie Gran, says that the whole backfield played well, but says that there is no doubt that Williams is special. "That was a tremendous effort by Carnell against Mississippi State," says Gran, who adds, "I think the offensive line deserves a lot of credit, too. Carnell and the other backs had some nice holes to run through."
Head coach Tommy Tuberville says that the Tigers are enjoying Williams' hot streak and how he has made a complete recovery from a broken bone in his leg he suffered in the 2002 Florida game. "It's good for the team, it's good for Auburn, it's good for everybody," Tuberville says of the Cadillac's play. "Our players knew how good Carnell was at the beginning of the year. We would have hoped to have gotten off to a better start. We know how good Ronnie (tailback Ronnie Brown) is. Ronnie got hurt and Carnell has kind of taken the bull by the horns, but we are going to need all of them before it is over with."
Williams is just one shy of the all-time record for SEC Player of the Weeks after being honored six times. Alabama's Shaun Alexander and Florida's Danny Wuerfful are tied for the all-time lead with seven.
In seven games this season, Williams has rushed for 713 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has caught three passes for 19 yards. Brown, the co-starter at tailback, has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but is expected back this Saturday as the Tigers travel to Baton Rouge to face 10th-ranked LSU.