Iron Bowl update; coach-in-waiting?

Iron Bowl 2008 coverage at the Capstone Report is made possible by:

Random notes I haven’t posted yet…

What’s Auburn doing during the bye week?
“We are working more on ourselves this week,” said Auburn’s head football coach Tommy Tuberville during the SEC teleconference. He said the focus is making the team better in its fundamentals.

He said the Alabama defense is probably the best defense the Tigers have faced all year. It puts added emphasis on the Tigers’ need to improve its red zone efficiency and scoring in general. The Tigers came up empty on four scoring opportunities last week—two missed field goals and two failed fourth down conversions. “We’ve got to get better,” Tuberville said.

Influence on Tuberville
Tuberville was influenced as a young football fan by the old days of the Southwest Conference. Being from Arkansas, Tuberville followed the Razorbacks and the Longhorns. He cited Frank Broyles and Darrel Royal as coaching icons as he was growing up. As an NFL fan, Tuberville said he was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and a Tom Landry fan.

“I think he (Landry) still to the day is one of the best football coaches to ever coach,” Tuberville said.

His mention of Landry says a lot about Tuberville. Landry was innovative—played a big role in the development of the 4-3 defense and later the flex. Landry also coached the same team for 20 years. Amazing in the world of the NFL.

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Tuberville’s hiring and firing of Franklin showed insecurity
I said at the time of the Franklin hire that it was a bad move. I never fathomed just how bad it would prove to be. Franklin is now talking (and talking) about his time with the Tigers and Tuberville. In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Franklin chatted about his time at UK and AU. He said personalities were the biggest problem at AU and that the time at UK was more painful for him. There are several Franklin quotes and a few insightful comments from the writer:

A secure head coach might have pointed out that Texas Tech (and its potent spread offense) was not built in a day.

With Alabama seemingly headed back to college football’s elite under Saban-ic influence, probably no Auburn head coach could feel secure.

Tuberville clearly didn’t. He axed Franklin the Wednesday (Oct. 8) following the Vandy defeat.

Alabama and the line of succession

Shakespear, Henry V
King Pepin, which deposed Childeric,
Did, as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown
Of Charles the duke of Lorraine, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great,
To find his title with some shows of truth,
‘Through, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,
Convey’d himself as heir to the Lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis the emperor, and Lewis the son
Of Charles the Great. Also King Lewis the Tenth,
Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied
That fair Queen Isabel, his grandmother,
Was lineal of the Lady Ermengare,
Daughter to Charles the foresaid duke of Lorraine:
By the which marriage the line of Charles the Great
Was re-united to the crown of France.
So that, as clear as is the summer’s sun.

The trend in college football is to anoint a successor coach. There are benefits—you eliminate the dynastic struggles within a program to pick a successor because the pathway is already prepared–you’ve already fought the battle. You eliminate the leaks during the coaching search because you don’t undertake a coaching search.

You also create enormous tension within a staff. I can’t imagine it would be good for anyone serving under such a situation. Who holds power when a coach enters his last few years? In politics, he would be called a lame duck, and subordinates would begin to curry favor with the new power. But what do I know? Apparently, coaches-in-waiting are pretty cool. And well-run corporations create succession plans. So why not a multi-million dollar business like college football?

Kentucky, Texas and Florida State have done it, and now Nick Saban has endorsed the practice, according to Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky. It would fit with Saban’s personality. He plans for everything. That reminds me of a line from The Hunt for Red October, which we could paraphrase, thusly: “Saban doesn’t take a dump without a plan.” It would make sense he would want to plan the succession process (something Bryant failed to do properly.) Like Alexander’s empire, Alabama was torn apart through internal fighting due to the lack of a unifying force. Proper planning may have eliminated much of the turmoil in the post-Bryant years. Proper planning now could mitigate problems in the post-Saban years.

More modern examples of advance planning would be the success in rebuilding Europe post-World War II. The Defense Department began post-war planning as soon as the war began. Failure to plan would be the problems the US faced in Iraq (largely due to Donald Rumsfeld’s inability to plan for the post-war period.) According to many soldiers, the US didn’t have a post-war plan for dealing with insurgents. Europe was a success. Iraq will be a success, but at a much higher cost thanks to poor planning.

No doubt this will be a hot topic. In fact, The Rap Sheet has a poll up on who fans would like to see as Alabama’s coach-in-waiting.

Alabama in good financial shape
News of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny expansion was published on The reaction was predictable:

mikevol writes:

What happens when Nick takes someone else’s money and moves on.

Typical of a Vol or Auburn fan. Here’s the best response:

kantanuuv writes:

He humiliates the Vols with another team.


Add Yours
  1. 1

    All the hate on saban is a laugh.Any program in the football nation would love to have him.God bless fat PHIL and the hillbilly faimly;;;;;;;;;

  2. 2
    Stephen Williams

    The practice of “Coaches in Waiting”
    is just another way to circumvent the hiring process. It eliminates African Americans and other minorities from an open and competitive process. Is there A President in waiting? Better yet is there an Athletic Director in waiting? How many African American coaches are there in waiting in college football. I only make it racial because it is, it looks to be an answer to keep a closed shop as far as major college Head Coaching jobs in football are concerned.
    The SEC schools are famous for this practice.

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