Wednesday, December 3, 2008

talking Tuberville

By now, everyone who cares about college football has learned of the fate of Tommy Tuberville, either fired or resigned, depending on your source.

Like most of these situations, more will be learned in the coming days, as various "sources" reveal bits and pieces of information. Here are a few scattered thoughts of mine, based on my own limited knowledge.

-- The Car Wash (and others) have speculated that Tubs' ouster is ultimately the result of his refusal to dump some (or all) of his coaching staff. If this is true, then it's a complete departure from the Tommy Tuberville most Auburn fans knew; that guy was never above dumping a high-ranking assistant to save his own hide, no matter his personal history (see Mazzone, Noel).
-- Auburn's administration comes off looking like absolute clowns through the whole mess, particularly with the stories now trickling out about AU assistant coaches learning about their fates while sitting in the homes of recruits.
(Note: I particularly enjoyed the remark from the assistant's wife who still found time to label Nick Saban a cheater for some reason. You stay classy, Mrs. Assistant.)
-- The national press, predictably, has leapt to Tuberville's defense, particularly the ESPN Radio guys (bear in mind, these were the same people who jumped all over Alabama for firing Mike Shula and hiring Nick Saban and are now singing Alabama's and Saban's praise on a daily basis). The problem with ESPN -- as it always is -- is twofold: a) ESPN is a national organization with very little info from the front lines, so they're basically providing the "drive-by" version of what's going on; b) ESPN's pundits are almost entirely either former coaches or players, people whose judgment is ultimately compromised by their empathy toward people involved with the games they play (not to mention whatever personal relationships might exist between the analysts and the subjects of the story). Fortunately for Auburn, there's Plaxico Burress to keep ESPN distracted. For the most part.
-- I have found it interesting that no one has mentioned that Auburn was in almost this exact scenario with Tuberville at this time five years ago. After the Teagles went to Georgia and got crushed -- UGA lost only to LSU (twice) and Florida that year -- Auburn fans had just about decided they'd had enough: a national-championship contender had sunk to a disappointing 6-5, and Tubs' smugness was wearing thin.
And then a curious set of circumstances worked themselves out.
  • Tuberville's Auburn team outlasted 4-win Alabama at Jordan-Hare, and the good feelings created by beating 'Bama (no matter how bad they were) softened the hearts of many Auburn folks out there.
  • Auburn officials embarked on the now-fateful jet excursion to Kentucky, odd for its timing and their poor job in keeping it out of the public eye. Naturally, Auburn fans -- who more than any other fan base regard themselves as somehow above that sort of behavior -- went ballistic, suddenly surging in support of the coach they were ready to behead three weeks prior.
-- Speaking of that incident, I don't believe Tuberville ever really had a great amount of loyalty towards Auburn University as an institution. I think he probably liked it there, enjoyed his job and to that extent, was very loyal. But I don't think he ever "bled" orange and blue, whatever the hell that means. He certainly wasn't above allowing his name to be floated in rumors at various other programs (Miami, Arkansas, Texas A&M) whenever it could benefit him financially.
-- The question, obviously, is who Auburn goes after next. Nothing I can say about that isn't already being said. One thing Mal Moore proved nearly two years ago at this time, however: you hire the right guy, everyone will eventually forget about how badly you bungled the firing of the previous guy.
I will say that my brother and I are prepared to step up to the plate, so long as we can bring our mom on board as an offensive consultant (every play would end with the instruction: "And make sure you throw it to somebody in a BLUE SHIRT!"). Our dad is also on board if needed.
-- Nick Saban -- who shares an agent and a friendship with Tuberville -- naturally had something to say about the situation in today's presser.
There have been several coaches that have been let go in our league that have a pretty good body of work behind them. They’ve been really good coaches. They’ve been really good for the game. They’ve been good for a lot of players and they’ve had very very good programs. I’ve talked about Philip. I’ve never really ever talked about Sly [Slyvester Croom]. And Tommy… I mean…
Those guys are really good coaches. They’ve done a good job for a long time. They’ve got a tremendous body of work. I really question some of the judgement relative to how it is for our game. That people who have had those kinds of relationships, and have done that kind of job and have affected so many people in a positive way, and have had a reasonable amount of success relative to the circumstances. [That they] would not be given any more respect and consideration than what these guys have been… So, I guess we’re 5-7 away from the same thing…
Suffice to say, Saban doesn't think much of Auburn at the moment, either.



-D. said...

I would support you and Whit as co-head coaches. I want to coach the special teams, if y'all are looking for anyboI would support you and Whit as co-head coaches. I want to coach the special teams, if y'all are looking for anybody.dy.

Matthew said...

I want to coach defensive line.