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Auburn fires wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams after four games
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Auburn fires wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams after four games

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The Auburn Tigers have made a change on their coaching staff.

Auburn has fired first-year wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams, a source confirmed to the Opelika-Auburn News on Sunday. Williams’ ouster comes just four games into his tenure with the team.

The program has not announced who will fill his role going forward. Per a separate source, Auburn analyst Eric Kiesau – who served as Boise State’s co-offensive coordinator in 2019 before being the sole coordinator in 2020 – is expected to fill Williams’ position.

The Tigers’ passing game has encountered an up-and-down start to the 2021 season. Through four games, Auburn is averaging 227.3 passing yards per game, which leaves the team 73rd in the nation and ninth in the SEC.

The big question to start 2021 concerned who would be Auburn’s go-to receiver following the departures of Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove. Through four games, sophomore Kobe Hudson and senior Shedrick Jackson are tied with tight end John Samuel Shenker with 13 receptions apiece.

Hudson had a team-high five receptions for 76 yards and Jackson had four receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown – the score coming on a 10-yard pass on 4th-and-9 – to help Auburn top Georgia State 34-24 on Saturday.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin was asked about the decision to switch up the rotation of receivers against the Panthers.

“We have got to find ways to make plays on the perimeter and be able to run the football. If you get a one-on-one matchup, we’ve got to win. We’ve got to win. It doesn’t always have to be a deep ball; it can be, like I said, an easy catch and go make something happen with it,” Harsin said. “Every guy on that field wants their chance; well, here you go. Here’s your chance; do something with it.

“You know, we’re going to continue to do that. We’ll keep playing until we really figure out who gives us the best opportunity to be explosive and to make some of those plays consistently.”

Williams signed a two-year, $600,00 deal to join Harsin’s first staff at Auburn in January. Auburn would owe him the remainder of his deal, though the amount would be mitigated if Williams took another coaching job.

Williams’ departure was first reported by On3.com, 247 Sports and Rivals.com.

Williams came to Auburn after coaching Troy’s outside receivers for the past six seasons.

Williams, who played wide receiver at Troy in the mid-2000s and was a four-year letterman, returned to his alma mater in 2015 after coaching the receivers at UAB in 2014 and at Jacksonville State in 2013. During his time on staff at Troy, the Trojans have posted a 45-29 overall record with three double-digit win seasons and three bowl appearances.

Prior to Jacksonville State, Williams coached the wide receivers at North Alabama in 2012 and Murray State in 2011. In 2011, Murray State led the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring offense at 37.1 points per game, total offense with 460.9 yards per game and passing offense with 308.6 yards per game.

Williams was an offensive graduate assistant coach at South Alabama in 2010.

Williams entered coaching after a standout playing career at Hoover High School in Alabama and his run as a player at Troy. During his playing career for the Trojans, Williams had 63 receptions for 764 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Tigers return to the field Saturday against LSU.

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