Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Clarifying Tubby

So, as you may have heard, in last night's latest episode of General hAUspital Tubby got together with the Jays for a meeting that resulted in the following statement from the Auburn athletic department:

"President Gogue, Jay Jacobs and Coach Tuberville did meet Monday to have their annual end of the season meeting. Further conversations between Jay Jacobs and Coach Tuberville will take place in the following days to discuss Coach Tuberville's plan to make improvements for the program moving forward under his leadership."
Like Jay (uh, Coulter), it's my read that the "under his leadership" implies that the operative plan is for Tubby to return in 2009--if not yet exactly setting it in stone. As I've stated repeatedly before--and as recently as yesterday--this is the course I'd like Auburn to take.

But I want to make clear: after watching the Iron Bowl, the reason I want Tubby to return doesn't have a whole lot to do with my assessment of what he'll be able to do with Auburn's football program going forward. Rereading the same Jay post I quoted yesterday afternoon, I find myself in (almost) the exact same ambivalent boat:
I've been outspoken in my support of Tuberville. He's been the perfect ambassador for the university. He's won on the field, his players have stayed out of trouble and they perform in the classroom. It would be hard to ask much more from a coach than what he's given Auburn during the past 10 years.

But the future of this program is not about the past. It's about tomorrow and that's an ugly picture at the moment ...

This is not a one year job. This week's discussion should not be about giving Tuberville another season, but rather do they have faith he can rebuild the program over the next couple of years. With the team in its current state, it's hard to see things getting significantly better next season.

Do Auburn officials, alumni and fans have a strong enough stomach to go through this process with Tuberville? ... Saturday was no aberration. Alabama passed Auburn so quickly that none of us saw it coming. This falls squarely on the shoulders of Tuberville.

Does he deserve another chance? Perhaps. Would it be an outrage if he were fired this week? I'm not so sure anymore.
Jay and I differ on the "perhaps"--I am decidedly behind Tubby getting his shot at making amends. But if I believe (as I do) that it truly is "hard to see things getting significantly better next season," that (as I wrote yesterday) "I'm past the point of genuinely expecting Tubby to accomplish much" with that shot, I realize it does beg the question: with Auburn at such a critical juncture, with decisive action needed ASAP to slow Saban's momentum and pull Auburn out of the muck they've slipped into, why wait? Why prolong the inevitable? If a change is coming, why not make it as early as possible, when it can make the most difference?

One very simple reason: it's the right thing to do.

Even in college football, there are bigger things than college football, most of which fall under an umbrella we might call "fairness." Fair play, coaches being fair to the players, administration being fair to the fans, etc. Even in college football, what's fair is fair.

And what's fair is to give Tommy Tuberville his chance to make amends. He's earned that much. Is it the best thing for Auburn football in terms of wins and losses, in terms of the bottom line? I'm going to go ahead and say probably not (though there are few times I've hoped so badly to be wrong). Is it the best thing for Auburn football in terms of what ought to be done, in terms of what's fair and what's right and good? Yes. Certainly, unequivocally, yes.

And hey, who knows? Maybe Tubby will earn himself a second mulligan all over again.


Sullivan013 said...

Thanks, Jerry, for some rational thought on the issue. Tuberville indeed deserves another chance (and yet another, if you ask me). He has accomplished far more than anyone but Pat Dye and Shug Jordan in the league and is the very reason for our sky-high optimism earlier in the year.

That optimism and expectations were earned in previous years by this coach and his staff. Though the reality may not seem to match, it was in the realm of possible for this team to be 9 - 3 or even 10 - 2. There are a hundred reasons for a game to go one way or another, but often it comes down to one or two plays. In previous years, victories like those over Florida (06,07), Clemson (07), Georgia (05), LSU (04) have gone his way. This year almost none of them went his way, but other than the last game, there were no blowouts.

The bottom line is that I'd rather have Tuberville than Kitten (I mean Kiffen) coaching this team. Come to think of it, I'd even rather have Tuberville than Saban, Meyer or the OBC. Richt, Brooks or Johnson might be hard choices, but certainly not Petrino, Nutt or whoever will take the MSU position. Just IMHIO* you understand.


*In my humble Irish opinion

Anonymous said...

The numbers never lie! Ten or 11 win seasons are great! Four or 5 SEC and one National Championship in 12 years is EXCELLENCE in action!!! Spurrier did the job at UF! Tubs has (1)One SEC Ch. in 14 yrs.

The problem is Tuberville hasn't produced but two 10(+) win seasons in 14 as a head coach. He ave 4.29 losses per season. He is a .647 coach that so far is a "one hit" wonder and seems to be returning to the mediocrity that almost got him fired in '03.

Tommy Tuberville the record. Just behind the Iowa coach Tuberville is the most overpaid cfb coach in America! Season losses as a Head Coach = 5, 6, 4, 5, 6, 4, 5, 4, 5, 0, 3, 2, 4, 7 !!! 110W-60L .647 winning %. Greatness? Eleven of fourteen seasons with a minimum of 4 losses, NO WAY!!! A one hit wonder at best. Lost 5 of last 7 to rival UGA, last 3 in a row. The Vandy loss is the LOWEST point of the Tuberville tenure on the plains.

Coaching six wins in a row over Bama was a major plus !!! However, Bama was suffering under NCAA penalties. Tuberville is paid more than Spurrier and 107 FBS head coaches and frankly with what he's actually done that is INSANITY...

The numbers never lie!