Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tubby out

Goldberg, like so.

How in the hell did it come to this, this soon? How?

First of many UPDATES, 5:44: the OA-News reports that Tubby resigned rather than having been fired outright, which would seem to lend credence to the "Either your assistants go or you go with them" thread of belief. Jay G. Tate now also reporting that he's gone.

More knee-jerk reaction coming soon now that we've got multiple-source confirmation.

UPDATE 6:15: OK, so, the JCCW's instantaneous reactions to finding out--holy crap, man--that Tommy Tuberville will no longer be Auburn's football coach:

1. First, despite the fact that there will be time for eulogies later, a massive thanks to Tubby for what he's done for Auburn. I have serious doubts that anyone, anyone would have put together the kind of 10-year run at Auburn he's had. Make no mistake: Auburn is a difficult job, and perfect or not Tubby performed it as well as it could have reasonably been performed.

2. Assuming that Will Muschamp is indeed committed to remaining Mack Brown's understudy, the JCCW's preferred shortlist reads like so, in no particular order for the time being: Mike Leach, Paul Johnson, Brian Kelly, Charlie Strong/Dan Mullen.

3. If Bobby Petrino is hired as Auburn's coach, I will keep a bucket beside my couch during all Auburn games the way you kept one beside your bed when you were sick as a kid, and between each quarter I will induce vomiting into the bucket as a commemoration for Auburn's decision to hire him. Petrino is obviously a terrific coach, but he will care nothing for Auburn and nothing the Auburn admin could do would crap all over Tubby's memory and dignity by replacing him with this mercenary. UPDATE, FWIW Petrino's agent says he's "not a candidate." I know, I know, it's Petrino, but I think even he might balk at abandoning one SEC West job for another after a single season. HT to GSB, who also provides a potentially relevant quote from Barnhart on Leach.

4. Prepare yourself, Auburn fans, for an onslaught of negative press the likes of which we haven't seen since 2003. Remember two things:

First, we still don't know the details. If Tubby walked away in response to a demand that he fire his current staff members, that's on Tubby. Said demand is a perfectly reasonable one for the Auburn admin to make. Keeping an offensive coaching staff as unproductive as the current one has been for the previous three seasons would mean putting Tubby's personal loyalty above his loyalty to the program and the institution. We don't know that's what happened, but we also don't know that Tubby was shoved out, either. We will have to wait.

Second, even if this move was the wrong one from a standpoint of fairness or "doing right" by Tubby, it's the right one from the standpoint of what's best for Auburn's football program. This program was in the kind of decline it would have taken a miracle OC hire to pull itself out of, and frankly none of the names I've seen bandied about were going to be that miracle.

If this was ultimately the administration's decision, I won't endorse it. But I can respect it for being forward-looking enough to see the handwriting on the wall. Need more convincing? Read Jay Coulter's account of one Auburn recruits' experience and tell me if a coach with Tubby's current energy level is still the optimum choice for a program that shares a state with a Saban-coached team.

I won't argue this the right thing for Auburn, but it probably is the best thing for Auburn.

UPDATE, 6:22: From the Track'Em comment thread, a name I honestly hadn't thought about but that makes some logical sense, especially if Papa Bowden is bound-and-determined to beat out JoePa: Jimbo Fisher.

UPDATE, 7:24: I can tell already, I'm going to end up a broken record on this over the next several weeks (or months, or years), but: this was NOT a case of Auburn having "one bad year." Statistically, the 2006 team was in no way an 11-2 team and represented a substantial step down from the 2005 quality team. 2007 was another dramatic step down, this time with the losses to accompany it. And the 2008 record is not a fluke: Auburn is tied for 107th in the country in offensive yards-per-play and was a missed Miss. St. field goal and a botched Tennessee handoff from going winless in the SEC.

Again: I wish Tubby had remained in charge another year, or possibly longer. But the Season of DEATH wasn't a random slip-up. It's the culmination of a host of problems within the program that have produced a consistent three-year decline. If during these meetings with Jacobs, Tubby wasn't willing to address those problems, Auburn is better off having moved on.

All right, the "breaking developments" phase seems to have passed, so unless something huge happens, the JCCW will be back tomorrow to start breaking down the coaching search and perhaps write the Tubby eulogy if I'm feeling up to it (probably not). 'Night.


rowlandoffice said...

It's sad. We have a very good coach who graduates players, keeps them off the police blotter and generally represents the university well, and some Lowder puppet, half-ass AD yanks the rug out from under him after one bad season. Sad. What coach who thinks he can get another job that's equal or better wants to work for Lowder/Jacobs? And if they really pursue Petrino, that would be sadder still. I don't think I could in good conscience buy a ticket if they hire that slimy mercenary. Good luck, Tubs, and thanks for what you've done for AU. And thank you, Jerry, for all the good bloggin'.

charlie said...

If they hire Petrino it will be hard for me to stomach it.

Anonymous said...

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Auburn has pulled a Rocky Top. Tennessee shoved out a legend and got a boy from California. Saban will eat Kiffin's lunch, as will Meyer and Richt. And although Tubs is not on the same iconic level as Fulmer, he still won an SEC title, went undefeated and got Auburn to Atlanta more than once. And if Auburn isn't careful, they are going to get another Lane Kiffin (unproven coach that may be a "sexy" pick, but will likely go the route of Mike Shula, Ed Orgeron, Sly Croom, etc.), and that is bad news for the Tigers.

J.M. said...

I feel sick. Grabbing Paul Johnson for the job is the only way that would make me feel like Tubs' departure was for the best. I'm convinced that the things he has accomplished with Navy and Tech are no fluke.

charlie said...

"But I can respect it for being forward-looking enough to see the handwriting on the wall."

I disagree a lot with this, because Auburn already has an image problem regarding loyalty to a coach. It makes the school less appealing to potential hires and it will make people quicker to jump when another opportunity arises (not just in football -- across the athletic department).

Let's say Tuberville has lost his fire, and he's not the same coach he was before, and next season is a six or seven win mediocrity, and then he gets fired. Would that be so much worse?

Razorback Expats said...

What a strange turn of events...and people thought Arkansas fans were crazy for running off Houston Nutt.

(of course, Arkansas fans are crazy, but not any crazier than the fans of any other SEC team)

A united method said...

Some are sad to see Tuberville leave and they aren't even Auburn fans. As one guy said to me at Church tonight, "Wow, Fulmer and Tubby in the same year? I hate to see 'em go. We better enjoy next year while we can."

Lets offer Saban 5 mil!

my vote is for Jimbo, seriously.

K dog said...

Auburn is not a "difficult job" and yes there are thousands of coaches who could have done as well or better at Auburn in the last 10 years. As my father, a business man in manufacturing for 30 years of his life, told me when I was young, everyone is expendable and they will find another one just like you or more likely better. Tubby has been mediocre at best. One trip to Atlanta in 10 years is unacceptable.

Frank Drackman said...

Did Y'all watch any of the games this year?? Hell my 8 year old daughter stands taller in the pocket than Kodi. Yeah 2004 was Great, but its Ancient Effin Hystery. Tubbs would rather coach the Razorbacks anyways. Good Riddance ya big eared Prick! Click Clack, don't let the door smack your ass on the way out. Get Al Borges!!!!!!

Skunk Ape said...

Good Post. With all the Tubby sentimentalist up in arms, it's reassuring to hear someone in touch with reality. War Eagle!