Tommy Tuberville is (reportedly) out as Auburn’s coach.
Are you okay? Do you need a minute? I know you couldn’t possibly see this coming. Auburn has had so much success in 2008 it’s really quite amazing the athletic department would think to get rid of him. The Tigers have modernized their offense and had a seamless transition to the spread, new OC Tony Franklin fits in like a glove with the other coaches, and Coach Tuberville himself is showing such great faith and leadership in his players and coaches. It’s amazing to see. Like a family over there on The Plains. Thoughts and prayers to everyone involved with the Auburn family in this difficult time.
Guh. Okay, I’m done. I can only keep up that sarcastic charade for so long before my eyes start twiching and my hands freeze up.
Seriously, is this story a surprise at all? With the exception of Tommy Bowden, no one did a bigger botch job with a talented team this year than Tommy Tuberville, and Clemson fucking fired Bowden halfway through the season. He screwed up so many different ways it’s really difficult to chronicle them all, but let’s try anyway.
Screw-up number 1: First, he hired Al Borges from Indiana. I don’t think I need to tell you hiring an unsuccessful coordinator from a crappy Big Ten program is going to end badly. Yes, the Tigers did manage to go undefeated with a quarterback, two running backs, and several defensive players who were all NFL level, but it’s not like their offense was impressive or flashy at any point. It was the players that made the system good. Plus, Tuberville forgot to, you know, recruit talent to back those guys up. Once they were gone, so was the offense. Their nadir came in 2007 when the Tigers were so atrocious on offense, Tuberville decided to take radical steps and overhaul his program by hiring Tony Franklin and installing the hurry-up spread offense.
Screw-up number 2: Though Tuberville fired Borges, he kept on the rest of the offensive staff, who were all loyal to Borges and liked the way things worked before. They took hiring Franklin as a personal insult to their jobs and therefore never really did what Franklin needed them to do. In fact, the scuttlebutt is they were pretty much insubordinate the whole time. How did Tuberville handle this crisis? By firing the whiny coaches? Of course not. Though the team was 4-2, he decided to “back up his coach 100%” by firing him because the offense wasn’t working as well as he’d hoped…after one offseason and six games.
Screw-up number 3: Tuberville actually thought the spread offense would work right away with one offseason to prepare and a shit-ton of no-talent square pegs trying to run the offense. These were the same guys who were slow and crappy when they played in 2007, but just the system was supposed to make them great suddenly with no support from the coaches? Idiot.
Screw-up number 4: Once Franklin was gone, Tuberville essentially gave in to his shitty players and whiny coaches and went back to the old, run-first system. Auburn subsequently went 1-5 doing it the old way.
Screw-up number 5: As the Tigers’ schedule got more difficult, he would have had a built-in excuse for the entire disaster if he’d simply kept Franklin and kept trying to run the offense. They could have sucked and he’d have been able to get at least another year scott-free. I call it the Rich-Rod Stratagem.
To use the parlance of the common man, Tommy Tuberville fucked the dog in 2008. And listen, I don’t want to call for people to lose their jobs because of the amount of other people firings usually affect, but if anyone earned it, it was Tuberville. In fact, he’s a really good coach, or at least he was. But this year, he not only succeeded in taking his successful program and turning it into Michigan, he lost the respect of every one of his players who went out and didn’t play hard once during the second half of the season. The spread was his idea and he gave up on it while trying to blame others.
So to Tommy Tuberville, whom I greatly respect as a head coach, I say good day, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY!