Friday, October 10, 2008

Rearranging the Deck Chairs

Based on my inbox, apparently a few people want to know what I think about the abrupt end of the Tony Franklin Era at Auburn. I don't think I have a whole lot to add at this point (as usual, Jerry has done an admirable job of covering the bases), but here goes.

To state the absolutely obvious, this is a fiasco. Nobody comes out of it looking good. Fairly or not, Franklin looks like a failure. Auburn's other offensive assistants look like boobs who weren't able to put their own egos aside and work for the "new guy." Tommy Tuberville clearly buffooned the whole thing, from hiring Franklin without allowing him to bring in even one spread-experienced assistant (Josh Moon wrote a good column on that topic), to managing his coaches during the off-season, to handling a situation that never should have reached Wednesday's denouement on the front steps of the Auburn Athletic Complex. The one and only good thing I can say about Tuberville in this entire situation is that he did step up and take the blame for his bad decisions. That's more than he did five years ago, and perhaps it's a start.

Of course, by Wednesday morning he didn't have any good options left. Franklin clearly decided by Tuesday's practice that he was going to do things his way, and if Hugh Nall, Steve Ensminger and Greg Knox weren't going to be on board--and I think we can all agree that they were not--he'd shove them aside and do all the coaching himself. This put Tuberville in an untenable situation, and while he never should have let things deteriorate to that point, I suspect he made the only decision he could have when facing a (possibly unspoken) ultimatum from Franklin: "Them or me."

It had to be "him." You can make do without one coach at mid-season. Unfortunately, you can't replace three or four of them, no matter how badly they're performing, or how much damage they've done to the program by being pigheaded idiots.

That's now, of course. It's not, say, the first week in December. At that point, if Tuberville is serious about Auburn continuing as a "spread" team, he's going to have to cut out a lot of dead weight that he's been carrying along for the last five years. That is, if the decision is left up to him at all.

I do not have high or even moderate hopes for the Auburn offense in the remaining six games. Auburn is fortunate to be playing three not-great defensive teams over the next few games, but I wonder if even that will make any difference. As a quarterback coach and play caller, Steve Ensminger makes Tony Franklin look like Bill Walsh. I have less than zero faith in either Ensminger or Hugh Nall when it comes to game-planning or gameday coaching. That ship sailed long ago, in Grant Field.

So, there you go. Still glad you asked?


ty webb said...
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Aubtigerman said...

Will , As always you hit the nail on the head ! However I'm praying for a # 7 over bama . It will take finishing 2-0 or maybe 1-1 at amen corner to smooth over this soap opera.

Auburn KGreene said...

CTT needs to do a little off season house cleaning. I think he might have finally seen the writting on the wall and will completely overhaul the offense (which includes coaching staff). He will help his buddies find employment elsewhere, but he is good at saving his own skin and will do what is necesary to save it again.