Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tuberville out at Auburn

I always thought this was inevitable after the Petrino/Lowder private jet debacle in 2003. We may not know the details for a few more days, but Tuberville was probably just as excited to get out as Auburn might have been to show him the door. The consensus across the blogosphere seems to be that Auburn made a mistake, but I'm not so sure. Lest we forget that Tommy is the one that brought in Franklin before the bowl game last season, essentially trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with personnel that was not designed to run the spread offense (specifically at QB.) Wingnut will find himself a home whenever he's ready to coach again, and I'm sure Mississippi State would welcome him over with open arms tomorrow if he so desires.

That said, Tuberville was just 4 years removed from a parade through campus, so I can understand the confusion. Can they do better? If they want to fork over a truckload of cash, I'm certain they can at least do just as well. There are probably a number of egomaniac coaches out there that would welcome the opportunity to go head to head against Saban in that state. Mike Leach is the name I'm hearing most often in the last 24 hours, but I'm fairly certain that Auburn fans have had their fill of quirky offenses for a while. Same would go for Paul Johnson. I'd be shocked if they didn't hire somebody in the mold of Richt or Saban, someone that will run a traditional offense and be more of an "overseer" of things. Which I guess, ironically, is kind of what Tuberville used to be.

What I'm more interested in is how this will affect the way Richt goes about his business. Tuberville's situation (and Fulmer's to a lesser extent) are classic examples of how quickly it can fall apart in big money college athletics, especially in the SEC. No one can say with a straight face that the UGA program is on the verge of collapse. As a matter of fact, Richt's record in his first 8 years at UGA compared to that of Tuberville through 8 is pretty staggering. (Richt: 81-22, 2 SEC titles, 5 Top 10 finishes; Tuberville: 71-29, 1 SEC title, 2 Top 10 finishes.) But with Stafford and Moreno gone and no changes within the defensive or special teams staff, it isn't totally out of the realm of possibility that the Dawgs could take a major step back next year record-wise. (That's just my opinion, as I've heard it said from some people that removing Stafford's talent and replacing it with someone else's leadership might be a net gain for UGA. I don't see it, but I've heard it from quite a few people.) Perhaps Richt, as the new Dean of SEC Coaches (man, I'm getting old) sees this coming and re-thinks his idea of maintaining status-quo.


Sports Dawg said...

The Fulmer & Tubberville situations show you what can happen when the big influential money boys at a school get on your rear end. A huge buyout is obviously no issue. You let us (the Dawgs) continue to play "soft" another year and those same guys will be after Richt too. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying it is what it is!

Ally said...

As much as I love CMR, his fate is in his hands and he will only have himself to blame if we continue to regress(on Defense that will be for the 5th year). If he insists on hitching his wagon to Willie then he should not be surprised when the hammer drops on his head.

Sticking with the status quo on Defense yet losing Stafford, Moreno, & Owens does not make for a 10 win season. Add another loss to Yech & I'll be at the head of the line running him out of Athens. Enough is enough.

Hire Kirby Smart said...

The Stafford leadership comment is odd. What was wrong with our offense this year? NOTHING. We had maybe the best offense of the Richt era.

I dont think we will take a major step back next season (we were 3 plays from being 6-6 this year!). But we COULD take a major step forward if Richt grows the balls to fire Willie Martinez and hire an aggresive minded DC.

JJ said...

Kirby, the Stafford comment did not come from me. I love the kid, to be honest with you. As a matter of fact I'm not sure there's another player that I've enjoyed watching more ever during my 20 or so years of seriously paying attention to UGA football. It sounds odd to say that, and some people will think I'm an idiot for it, but it is true. UGA quarterbacks have always held a special place in my heart, and I happen to think Stafford is the best QB I've ever seen wear the UGA uniform. I shutter to think about the monster #s he'd put up next year in Athens, but I'll enjoy watching him develop as a pro (hopefully somewhere other than Detroit.)

His leadership qualities I can't speak to. I haven't a minute spent at practice or standing in a huddle with the guy. But there are lots of folks out there that seem to think his leadership qualities leave something to be desired. That's been documented all over the place.

Regarding your comment about Willie being fired, I think you missed the point of my entire post. Unless Richt opens his eyes and sees that he needs to make some changes, lest he have one bad year and be relieved of his duties a la Tuberville and Fulmer, nothing is going to get done. In no way am I calling for Willie's head, I just want to know that Richt is not letting his personal friendships cloud his judgement about what's best for this team today and tomorrow.

JJ said...

By the way, AJC reporting that Tuberville resigned on his own and was not shown the door. In fact Jacobs and other boosters (assume Lowder was not one of those boosters) tried to talk him out of leaving.

Of course, that makes no sense given that there were reports that Auburn people contacted Leach as early as Sunday night, but I'm sure the details are sketchy all over the board.