Shane: Tubby’s last stand

By Shane from Centerpoint
Some people know when to walk away – some don’t. Thomas Hawley Tuberville tried at the end of the 2007 football season, but he was unable to finish the deal. As a result, the past has come back to bite him. In 2004 he cut a swath of revenge across the Auburn landscape (after the failed coup to oust him from power following the 2003 season) and the world has been his until this year, when he decided to change his coaching style. Tommy now stands on the edge of a monstrous cliff and the men whom he silenced in 2004 are planning to shove him over. Tuberville looks like a man who is being forced to walk the plank.

Tuberville appears to have lost his ability to make sound decisions, evidenced by his pseudo commitment to a “spread” offense that he apparently never intended to stick with in the first place. He hired Tony Franklin, a “spread” guru, and crippled him from the beginning by not allowing Tony to control the long time offensive assistant coaches who are Tuberville’s buddies. Franklin even had to interview with those men, who would be under his command. That is insane! Since when does a commander allow the foot soldiers to question the captain he personally appointed to lead them? Something is very wrong with that.

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Want more signs that Tubby is derelict in his duty? He allowed his players to openly question Franklin in front of the press after losses. That isn’t good leadership. He allowed friendships with longtime cronies to influence his decisions and eventually overrule a complete change in philosophy that he initiated. The offensive leader he personally selected said, “It just reeks of something that’s not right.”

What offensive coordinator with a sound mind would touch the joke of a system that Tuberville runs down there? Why would a young player’s parents buy anything that Tommy tries to sell them after seeing the circus he runs down on the Plains? How could they reasonably trust this clown? Tommy may have cut his own throat when it comes to recruiting.

Tubby is doomed to fail this time around because he has lost his credibility, bowed to the musings of friends who no longer look out for the good of Auburn University, and are only taking care of themselves. Where did concern for the welfare of the players go? They seem to only be a secondary issue at this point. This situation has become all about the ego of Tuberville and the whims of a few average assistants.

Head football coaches are supposed to think about the “big picture” and every command they issue should be centered on the success of the program. Somewhere Tommy stopped thinking about the University he is supposed to be leading and became more concerned about his buddies and himself.

Tommy’s style is no longer laid-back and controlled. He has made far too many radical maneuvers lately for that to be true any longer. His knee-jerk hiring of Franklin and the resulting disaster that followed serve to confirm for the men who pay his salary that it may be time to find a new commander to run the ship.

His rant at his latest press conference gives the impression that he is feeling pressure from the money men to win or else. In fact, Tim Jackson, a powerful, longtime member of Tigers Unlimited (the money men), has taken up residence two doors down from Tubby so that he can feel the presence of the men who are probably going to remove him from power.

Lately, Tommy is wearing his desperation like a badge. He’s tried to make a final appeal to Auburn football fans that – along with Sports talk legend Paul Finebaum – saved his job in 2003. This time around he is living dangerously, out on the limb alone, because the fans are divided and Finebaum has an ax in his hand.

The duration of an SEC head-coaching job is affected by two main factors. Winning gives the man in place all the power. Losing can be grounds for automatic dismissal. That is why it is crucial for a coach to keep everybody (that may influence whether he keeps his job) happy. When tough times come everybody needs to be on the same page, yet Tommy Tuberville has done something that guarantees his demise should things get worse. He burned the bridges with management a long time ago and he can never cross them again.

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