BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
There are at least a couple of Auburn faithful jealous of Arkansas’ hiring of co-defensive coordinators Travis Williams and Marcus Woodson.
Sidelines radio host and 1986 Auburn graduate Rob Browne and AU Daily Dose podcaster Doug Dean are both high on the pair and discussed that Wednesday on the radio show and podcast that is aired in Atlanta, Memphis and Birmingham.
Williams, a former Tiger and All-SEC linebacker who came on board officially on Dec. 19, and Woodson, the former Ole Miss safety whose hiring was announced on Wednesday, were on the same staff at Auburn in 2018 and 2019.
“I want them so bad back at Auburn,” Brown said. “They are both phenomenal recruiters and two of the most personal people you will ever meet in your life. They connect with recruits. That is going to be phenomenal for Arkansas.
“…Arkansas people, they know their football, but I am just telling you from the time he was at Auburn…what you have just done, I mean watch what happens in recruiting now for Arkansas.”
Dean agrees with that assessment of Williams, who was hired away from the University of Central Florida by Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman, and Woodson, who has been at Florida State the last two seasons.
“It’s a compliment, I guess, to the Auburn football culture that players and coaches that had stints there to be hired by Sam Pittman,” Dean said. “I think the Auburn fan base, there was a segment that would have loved for T-Will – Travis Williams – to come back to Auburn. He is such a high energy guy and has had such good mentoring.
‘The only thing going against him – and he is a great recruiter, which is about 80 percent of it – but the only knock was should Auburn, with where we are at with our program historically, should we take a chance on a defensive coordinator or offensive coordinator that hasn’t proven it at the very highest level.
“But I am sure that Coach Pittman has a plan to give T-Will the resources and knowledge he needs to be successful. And then Marcus Woodson, as a recruit he has some natural hot bed areas that he will get you in on and then Sam Pittman and those guys will come in as closers. I think we will see Arkansas’ national recruiting rankings start to climb the ladder.”
Woodson has a great work ethic per Browne and should work well with Williams, who played two seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and is set to coach linebackers at Arkansas.
“Marcus, gosh he knows football and you talk about a work ethic,” Brown said. “My son and I were up in his office in 2018 or 2019 and I said ‘man, Marcus you work a lot of crazy hours up here. Do you ever sleep up here?’ And he said, ‘yes, look over there.’ I did and there was a sleeping bag with a pillow over in the corner.”
Former Arkansas player and assistant coach Tim Horton introduced Browne and Woodson.
“I wish he (Woodson) was still at Auburn,” Browne said. “He was there in ’18 and ’19… I met him when he recruited the Memphis area for Auburn. (Former Arkansas player and assistant coach) Tim Horton actually introduced me to him when they switched Tim over to North Georgia.”
Woodson played his high school football at Moss Point, who sent 37 player over just a few years to Mississippi State, and is expected to coach defensive backs at Arkansas as he did at Auburn and Florida State.
His Florida State secondary was ranked fourth nationally in yards per game last season while Arkansas was 131st out of 131 teams.
“…He is a phenomenal recruiter, but not only is recruiter, he is great coach of technique and skill,” Browne said.