Friday, October 10, 2008

The Works, Viva La Revolucion-style

Auburn's offensive position coaches celebrate their successful siege of Tony Franklin's offices.

OK, so that's a bit extreme. But maybe--maybe--not as extreme as you'd think. We all know (or believe, at least) by now that there was conflict between Tony Franklin and Auburn's other offensive coaches: Hugh Nall, Steve Ensminger, Greg Knox, Eddie Gran, etc. The HOT RUMOR which is a RUMOR and is UNSUBSTANTIATED and is probably not even all that HOT any more since it's reached me, and I don't exactly sit at the cool kids' table in the cafeteria that is the Auburn Internets if you get my drift, and it's probably ALL OVER the state's talk radio that I can't listen to, is this:

You may recall that Rod Smith told everyone Franklin was running routes for his receivers at practice Tuesday. The pretty-well-universal reaction to this tidbit was "Wha? What was Knox busy doing?" The HOT RUMOR is saying that Franklin had gotten fed up with the other coaches to the point of deciding to coach his offense from top-to-bottom: coaching all aspects of the team at practice, gameplanning alone, relying on no one. As this understandably rankled the position coaches, they then went to Tubby and told him they would no longer work with Franklin. And so, on Wednesday, Tubby and Franklin had words and at that point Tony Franklin's Auburn tenure really did, in fact, =DEATH.

Again: this is naught but a HOT RUMOR you are probably ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH and you the JCCW reader are encouraged to view it skeptically. However: it jibes nicely with Smith's account of Tuesday's practice, does it not, and adds a whole new spin to Franklin's "They told me to get lost" kiss-off, no? The bottom line is this: whatever you as an Auburn fan believe about the details of Franklin's dismissal, it's obvious now that expecting Tubby's old guard to seamlessly mesh their alleged talents into Franklin's vision was madness, a fool's errand from the very beginning. (UPDATE: Dueling, far less Franklin-friendly rumor posted by a fan over at Track'Em. Wheeeeee! This is fun!)

No, I didn't see it that way to start with, but I've never met any of these people. Tommy Tuberville, however, works with them on a daily basis and this was still his expectation anyway. He was apparently willing to hinge the fate of the season, the entire direction of the program, on Tony Franklin combining with Hugh Nall, Steve Ensminger, Greg Knox, and Eddie Gran to create Oklahoma's offense. Maybe he also expected Brad Lester to anonymously participate in a top-secret government project in which a pair of wings were surgically grafted onto his back, which he would then use to fly the ball into the end zone*. I'm not sure one expectation is so much more outlandish than the other.

I know, I know, 20/20 hindsight. But hindsight is all we fans have. It's the head coaches of the world who get paid to show off their fancy foresight, and in this case it's not debatable that Tommy Tuberville didn't show any off at all. Hiring Tony Franklin was, to put it as politely as I can, a gross miscalculation, and Tubby's second in three tries when it comes to filling this particular position. At least he admits it, but what else can he do?

He can take Steve Ensminger's play-calling abilities out for another spin. Oh, right, that's what he can do. Except that this time the offense will have practiced something completely different for the last 10 months, has no starting quarterback, will allegedly have its plays called from a playbook Ensminger has no experience with, and won't have the services of Jason Campbell, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Marcus McNeill, etc. Aside from all of that, though, it'll be just like 2003 all over again! I'm sure it's all going to work out just fine. Just ... fine.



*head explodes*

Continue the teeth-gnashing! a Jay G. Tate reader provides us Auburn's South Park-derived long-term offensive business model:

Grotus has a request:
Auburn fans and bloggers, I implore you. I'm begging you to please, someone, anyone explain how the following scenario makes any kind of sense, whatsoever:

1. We fire our offensive coordinator late in the season and hire a new offensive who teaches a totally unfamiliar spread system.
2. We adjust recruiting strategies to fill needs for the spread, but we do not allow our new OC to run that system as it needs to be run.
3. Then we fire him - second mid-season OC firing in less than a year, mind you - for not running the offense all that good.
4. Having fired the only man who knows how to run the spread, right down to the basic receiver routes, we claim that we already understand the spread and insist that we will keep running it.
Sorry. Can't help you. TWER's Jeremy sees it as karmic backlash for abandoning the man who bailed us out of the 2003 debacle:
Despite Tuberville’s makes-sense insistence that the spread could beat back the pimps of Sabanism come signing day, the offensive woes of 2008 seem almost karmic, a seek-ye-first punishment for what we all (not so) secretly feared to be a season-too-soon bailing on Borges. Meanwhile, nice guy Al roams our nostalgia in Auburn pajamas, probably just as crushed as we are.
Oh well. At least the last time we were in this predicament we found someone to save us. I'm sure the candidates will be lining up. Right, J.M.?
(A)fter what happened yesterday (Tiger Jack on called the scene of Tony Franklin loading up his SUV after this dismissal in front of the cameras “Spread Man Walking,” which is brilliant) I don’t see the decline of offensive brain trust at Auburn changing soon. Who in their right mind would accept the job, knowing that a band of jackals (or worse yet, complete dumbasses) possibly lay in wait, ready to sabotage their best efforts to change things, rattle the ol’ cage a bit and bring in some fresh air to the offensive side of the ball? A fool would accept this job under the current terms.
I wish I could disagree, but J.M.'s list of Auburn's offensive casualties makes a compelling argument. It would be a crying shame if Eddie Gran had to leave the Plains and I do think Hugh Nall's done good work at times, but after the events of the past week it seems almost impossible that Tubby's going to find any quality candidates while still demanding the current crew stays on staff.

UPDATE: Commenter Lovecrafty takes Tiger Jack's brilliant (yes, I agree, who wouldn't) assessment and converts into handy LOLFranklin form:

Lastly: If you're interested in my responses to Razorback Expats' Auburn-centric questions (and why wouldn't you be?), those are up right here.

*Note that even this wouldn't have been a long-term solution, as Lester would have suffered a sprained right wing against Southern Miss.

1 comment:

Lovecrafty said...

A visual aid to go with Tiger Jack's brilliant call.

I hafta make LOLs because if I don't I feel like I'm trapped in a Smithereens' song (i.e. Drown In My Own Tears)