Tommy Tuberville phoned in his weekly teleconference from the road, but said despite no affirmation that his job is secure for next year (he’ll meet with the AD and school presdient sometime this week), he is treating this week like business as usual.
“I’m going like I’ve got a contract here,” Tuberville said. “I’m working and as I said last night there’s no doubt that we can get this thing turned back around. I didn’t turn into a bad coach overnight. I know this program better than anybody. I know what it takes. I know the type of people that you can get to come in. I know their strengths, I know their weaknesses and I’m fully committed to doing it. I’m going out and selling that.”
The Birmingham News reported today, citing insider Auburn sources, that athletic director Jay Jacobs told Tuberville three days before the Iron Bowl that he would be allowed to come back for 2009.
Is that true?
“No,” Tuberville said. “I have no clue where that came from.”
A time still has not been set for Tuberville’s meeting with Jacobs and school president Dr. Jay Gogue.
Tuberville’s focus will instead be on recruits who are waffling on their commitments.
“What I’m going to try to do is meet with guys that have shown any sense of possibly wondering whether I’m going to be here or not,” Tuberville said. “I want to hit those guys first. There’s probably four or five of those, but we won’t bring up any names.”
Tuberville also addressed his vacant offensive coordinator position, saying he wants to give whoever he hires the freedom to bring somebody with him if he wants.
“We’ve got to have an offensive coordinator that feels confident with what he’s doing,” Tuberville said. “If he’s got anybody that he thinks can help him put his program in, maybe that he worked with in the past. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve not been around too many coordinators that had people that they wanted to bring, but obviously, we’ve got to do something on offense and we’re going to. We’re going to get the problem solved. We’re going to get some consistency.”
Not being able to bring in any assistants is one of the many reasons that Tony Franklin was not able to make a successful transition from Troy, instead forced to work with Auburn’s long-tenured coaches. It was a source of friction throughout his 10 months on the Plains.
Tuberville denies the claims.
“A lot of people have said in the past that I force assistants on people,” Tuberville said. “That’s never happened. It’s totally up to the guys that come in.”
Tuberville has several coordinators in mind and said he’s almost whittled the list to four or five. He said he doesn’t have any frontrunners out of that group.
In other news:
- LT Lee Ziemba is scheduled to have knee surgery Tuesday. The sophomore was clearly laboring on the knee the second half of the season. “He’s fought through it, and a lot of us never would have done that,” Tuberville said. “He’s a tough young man that wanted to play and wanted to go through the season. He has struggled — we all know that — mentally and physically. … It’s probably pretty tough. We don’t know what you go through in an injury like that in terms of pain in going through a game and putting pressure on that. He’s a tough young man.”
- WR Chris Slaughter did not make the trip because he spent part of last week visiting his ill mother. He didn’t know enough of the game plan by the time he returned, so he did not travel.
- Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads‘ name has been linked to the vacant Utah State job. Rhoads, who got his masters from Utah State and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there in 1989, declined to comment on the job after the Iron Bowl. Tuberville offered this Sunday: “There’s been some people call here about maybe interest. Paul and I were going to sit down and talk next week. … That’ll be up to him. He really likes it here. He’d have to decide whether he’d want to go to that situation. … If (the assistants) want head coaching jobs, I think that’s outstanding. I think that’s the reason we all get into this.”