BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Although some Auburn fans might not be familiar with "Fast Freddie," his SEC opponents were well aware of his capabilities when he played for the Tigers 1976-1979.
The Athens High School graduate boasted 528 tackles over the course of his Auburn career--no easy feat.
"The faster you can think on your feet the better off you are," Smith said. "I knew where every running back may be what holes he gonna take and I studied the film extremely well."
Since 1979, Smith's been Auburn's all-time leading tackler. His impact on the team was felt immediately. In the first game of his freshman season, Willie set an Auburn record for tackles by a freshman with 22 tackles against Baylor. A game later, he broke that same record with 24 tackles against Tennessee.
But most people don't know about the soft spot that drives the hard hitter.
"My mom motivated me extremely well," Smith said. "When I saw her up in the stands I waved at her. I was performing for her."
Now Freddie's doing something else he loves--coaching. He's joined up with Ramsey High School serving as an assistant coach working alongside the linebackers.
"They want to learn from you," Smith said. "The more I can give you the better off you are, but you've got to receive it if you want it. That's the most challenging part of it getting the young guys to buy into it. You'll see how much success these guys will have once you buy into it."