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12.12.2007

News of the day, 12/12

Hey everyone. Let's get to business.

We have assured Arthur Blank that we'll continue to cover college athletics on this blog. You can trust us. This is the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

Tony Franklin of Troy will be Auburn's next offensive coordinator. He got final clearance around 3:45 p.m. and began clearing out his office at Troy around 4 o'clock. I anticipate Auburn formally introducing Franklin via teleconference during the early-evening hours. I'll be there. I'll provide you all a detailed synopsis.

UPDATE: (5:24 p.m.) The teleconference is scheduled for 6 o'clock.

I'll be very interested to see how Franklin's presence will affect the Tigers' recruiting effort. I can't say, with 100% certainty, that Kodi Burns is going to be the perfect fit for what Franklin intends to do here. Burns is NOT a "running quarterback." He is a pocket quarterback who has some legit speed and elusiveness. His skill set (as best I can tell so far) is not similar to Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook or West Virginia's Pat White. I wonder if Auburn will begin targeting a quarterback who more closely mimics Haugabook.

I talked with a couple of Auburn fans this morning at the gym who were concerned that Franklin's offense won't emphasize the running game sufficiently. I don't think that will be an issue. Franklin savors balance. Not "Al Borges balance." I'm talking about real balance where Auburn will call 40 running plays and 30 passes. Haugabook lead his team in rushing attempts this season only because the Trojans' tailback, Kenny Cattouse, dealt with nagging injuries.

Here is the tale of the tape:
**There are 119 FBS teams this season**

TOTAL OFFENSE
Auburn -- 101st (327.8 ypg)
Troy -- 17th (452.8 ypg)

SCORING
Auburn -- 82nd (24.3 ppg)
Troy -- 25th (34.0 ppg)

RUSHING YARDS
Auburn -- 56th (154.2 ypg)
Troy -- 35th (182.6 ypg)

PASSING YARDS

Auburn -- 107th (173.3 ypg)
Troy -- 30th (270.3 ypg)

OFFENSIVE BALANCE
Auburn -- 61% run
Troy -- 47% run

I know some people will naysay the numbers by saying that Troy plays in the Sun Belt against some lame Sun Belt defenses. That matters, though I'm not sure it's a huge deal. Franklin was undermining Sun Belt defenses with his own Sun Belt players. The Trojans demolished Oklahoma State, too.

Recall that Franklin's offense scored 26 points against Arkansas, 31 points against Florida, 41 points against OSU and 34 against Georgia -- a week before Auburn was blown out in Athens.

Here are the Things You Need to Know about what Franklin said this evening:

*He runs an up-tempo scheme that doesn't include a huddle.
"We're constantly attacking and trying to attack every area of the field. Every week, it's different. Every team, it's different. You take the strengths somebody has and you build from those strengths. That's what we'll do at Auburn. We'll find out what people are really good at and we'll build from there. Then we'll recruit for the other things we're not real good at."

*He'd prefer to have a dual-threat quarterback, but it's not a necessity. "If you've got a special guy that can sling it all over the place and he's perfect on throws, like Couch was at Kentucky, then he doesn't have to be incredibly mobile. Couch was a 4.9 or 5-flat guy, but he could really move well in the pocket. He just didn't run, but he didn't have to: He could flick his wrist and put in on the back shoulder of somebody.

``If you've got a really good athlete that can run and he can throw with accuracy, all of a sudden he becomes a very dynamic player. The kid we had at Troy was a special kid, because No. 1 he was a great competitor, but he was a guy who could run and throw. When you have that, you really cause people problems."

*He has no problem calling a run play. Troy ran 47% of the time in 2007. "We'll still do that stuff — I did it at Troy the first year I was there. We didn't do it as much this year because we couldn't. It's just that everybody's got a different way of doing things. But No. 1 is — I still believe this, I say it everywhere — in order to win a championship, you have to be able to play great defense and you have to be able to run the football.

``If you look at our stats this year, we finished I believe No. 35 in the nation in rushing, and that was with the idea of always throwing the ball first and running second. But we averaged around 180-something yards per game rushing."

*He likes to recruit. "The very second I'm cleared to go from Auburn, which I'm sure whatever paper work that I have to do, that I'll be able to do it. The very second they allow me to do that…hopefully, it will be before they go dead*. Recruiting is the life blood of any program, and it's something that I've been fortunate I've been successful with, so I'm looking forward to recruiting for Auburn."

*Dead period begins Dec. 17

*He won't begin installing his offense until the new year. ``Basically, I just want to be there and watch and get a head start on evaluating the talent for this spring. If I've got a suggestion, maybe a wrinkle or two, that would be good. I just want to try to see what the players are like and get around them and let them get to know me. If I can give them some advice that can help, that would be good."

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job, Jay!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay, on a scale of 1 to 10, how lucky would you say Auburn is that Petrino did not become our head coach in 03?

4:58 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Gazing into my crystal ball ...

I think Bob would have handled business in 04 and 05 and 06. He would have pulled the NFL stunt after the 06 season, leaving Auburn to find itself a long-term solution. The Tigers would have pulled out the stops for a coach. Nick Saban? Surely he'd have been a candidate.

Overall? I think it's a wash. Tuberville has been highly successful (the coaching staff's performance in 2006 was worth an A+) and has Auburn on the cusp of conference title contention.

That's approximately where Auburn would be right now had Petrino been the guy in 04.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay,

Do you see Auburn running 4 wide receiver sets as the normal formation next year, or do you think they'll keep a tight end and/or fullback inside to drive the running game?

I remember there was a lot of hoopla when Borges came in to run the "West/Gulf Coast" offense. It seemed the offense really wasn't that different than a normal Auburn offense with lots of running. Are we in a similar situation where a lot of hullabaloo for nothing?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

No. I think Franklin is going to make some substantive changes. I'll know more after this teleconference.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kodi wants to be known as a pocket passer. Look at his high school film. He runs all over people. He runs a 4.5. Elusiveness is not as important as straight away speed in the spread. I think Kodi excells here.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furr. Darkhorse.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Where's the conference Jay?

U slackin on us? Marshall could post it with his eyes closed and he's 75.

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phillip's really slacking today. He's been on a beach somewhere, bro. And I do mean bro.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Answers said...

Franklin is bringing the spread offense to Auburn. "The biggest thing is that we want to try to get the ball to the people who deserve to have it in their hands," said Franklin. "At Troy this year, we had 14 different receivers catch touchdown passes.

"Basically, we spread the field. We can use the same personnel in every formation imaginable without having to change personnel. We also can change personnel in and out."

Running a no-huddle attack, Franklin said Troy led the nation with 81.5 offensive snaps per game.

"We play fast. We practice fast," said Franklin. "It gives you a huge advantage as far as trying to control the tempo of the ballgame. When you're on offense, you should control the tempo. The defense should never control anything. They should be defending and you should be attacking."

Franklin said he prefers to have a mobile quarterback running his offense but it's not a necessity. Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook threw for 5,376 yards and 39 touchdowns and rushed for 944 yards and 16 touchdowns combined the last two seasons.

"If you've got a special guy that can sling it all over the place and he's perfect on throws, like Couch was at Kentucky, then he doesn't have to be incredibly mobile," said Franklin. "But if you've got a really good athlete that can run and he can throw with accuracy, all of a sudden he becomes a very dynamic player.

"The kid we had at Troy was a special kid, because No. 1 he was a great competitor, but he was a guy who could run and throw. When you have that, you really cause people problems. We're going to continue to hopefully have a quarterback who can do both, who can run the football and can throw it. That doesn't mean he has to be a 4.4, it just means he has to be an athlete and a competitor and willing to stick his nose in there and get dirty a little every now and then."

Franklin says his current offense has evolved from what they ran at Kentucky where he was an assistant from 1997-2000.

"What we've done is, we've used some of the base stuff they did, and we still throw a lot of screens to the wide receivers, stuff like that, but we also have tried to incorporate the zone option scheme, similar to what West Virginia does," he said. "We've always believed if you can do both, it's a pretty dynamic thing.

"When the quarterback can run the football, it just makes a huge difference, just from the simple fact that it gives you an extra guy all the time, an extra blocker."

Franklin said his system is flexible enough to adapt to whatever talent Auburn returns for next season. While he often used four or five wide receiver sets at Troy, he can use tight ends or running backs in his offense if that's where the strengths lie.

"You can do all kinds of stuff," he said. "Missouri has used the spread and 6-foot-5 tight ends to play out in the slot. We'll do that, we'll have them in tight, we'll have them in the slot, they'll be in the backfield, they'll be all over the place.

"I coached running backs three years at Kentucky and for those three seasons, we had two running backs together had more yards from scrimmage than any running back combination in the SEC – that's rushing and receiving combined."

Franklin said he was surprised when he was first contacted by AU assistant coach Eddie Gran on Sunday about the opening at Auburn. Franklin, who said he's known Gran for nearly a decade, was driving back from a recruiting trip in Kentucky when he stopped to meet with the AU staff.

"I was basically a little taken aback when Eddie called me," said Franklin. "It was not something I ever thought would happen. But they've won a lot of ballgames, and won championships, doing what they do. I think it's just a sign there are some good things out there besides sometimes lining up in power things.

"We'll still do that stuff — I did it at Troy the first year I was there. We didn't do it as much this year because we couldn't. It's just that everybody's got a different way of doing things.

"But No. 1 is — I still believe this, I say it everywhere — in order to win a championship, you have to be able to play great defense and you have to be able to run the football. If you look at our stats this year, we finished I believe No. 35 in the nation in rushing, and that was with the idea of always throwing the ball first and running second."

Auburn averages 154.2 rushing yards per game this season. Troy averages 182

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Thanks Answers!

Bro, what u think about Tony?

Jay must be pumpin iron again.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

No. Jay is eating dinner with his gals and writing the newspaper account. Blogging doesn't pay the bills.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Also, there is NO WAY Kodi Burns runs a 4.5 in the 40. Absolutely no way.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I beg to differ, Jay. Hard to visually measure his speed vs the defense when he was run right at them. He's got wheels, dude.

I like Tony, Alan. I like his style so far.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right there, Jay. I think many will be surprised at what Kodi can do with some space. He hasn't had any yet.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Yea. I wasn't trying to say Kodi can't run. I'm just saying -- he's not Patrick White or even Omar Haugabook in terms of acceleration.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Reposting an earlier comment that included a grammatical error:

Having wheels and being a 4.5 guy aren't mutually inclusive.

Of course, that's coming from a 5.7 guy.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know I haven't really noted that Omar was that fast? He's relentless. He's tough. He's fast enough. And he has horrible mechanics. That gives me hope for a long limbed Kodi Burns with a lot of fast twitch.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Jay, Y's up on Atlanta Highway is the place to be. Some serious Tateheads there. You do know you are a cult hero to some of us here right?

I think the QB race is wide open, I am I do mean SPREAD open.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Sorry for the gramatics in earlier post.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grammatical conflictimusterific mess up

8:58 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I'll be very interested to see if Franklin alters the team's recruiting approach to quarterbacks -- as of, like, tomorrow.

Y's Up? Atlanta Highway?

No thanks.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting comments from Tony. This guy kind of reminds me of an offensive Bill Oliver already. Weird. But good. He knows his stuff and he can articulate it to the general pub very well. We'll see if it's that easy. Looks that way at Troy. He's going to play a big part in landing Julio. I smell it. Wouldn't be surprised if he aided in stealing a few verbals from other places, too. This guy's fun.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Caleb Rotton said...

As always, great reporting Jay. This guy looks to be exciting. I would love to see a dynamic offense before I leave Auburn(I am sophomore). Jay what is your overall feeling on the hire? Good move for AU?

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take this one, Jay. He's a good hire young man. That is, if you like having the master of a certain brand on your side. One thing though. How will Tubs adopt and coexist with a guy with a bigger personality than he?

10:14 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

That's going to be an interesting development. Franklin, based on scouting reports I've head, is, uh, very confident in his skills and 100% certain that his way is the right way.

This Auburn staff can deal with a big ego as long as offensive production is up. I mean, nobody can have a bigger ego than Bob Petrino.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea nice comments Bob has for his QB Brohm. Glad he's not at AU.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay, like the blog.

You mention Kodi Burns' "Skill Set". I assume you mean a passing quarterback with a big arm.

But you also say he has "legit speed and is elusive".

I think you just described the ideal quarterback for this spread offense.

Not sure how you are coming to the conclusion that he's not a good fit? I would imagine Franklin would have been even more effective if Haugabrook (sp?) had Burns' arm strength.

Burns ran a similar offense in High School and passed for like 10,000 yards and ran for a bunch more. Sounds good to me.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Honesty Is It said...

That pic of Al and Will is kind of sad. That was Al's last glorious moment as AU's OC. He never lost to Bama, UF, UT, Ole Miss, Vandy, South Carolina, UK. He BARELY lost to LSU twice. And he beat them twice. 3 of those games his QB was Cox. Not much else needs to be said about that.

Al, if you could read this, I appreciate everything you did to bring success to The Plains. God bless you and your family. You will land in a great place.

Jay, if you have Al's email address I'd like him to see these words.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I'm split on Burns. I know he has a strong arm. I've seen him throw deep. He has zip.

His accuracy didn't blow me away, though I haven't seen him practice in a long time. We can't attend practice and I don't always believe what I hear from coaches, if you know what I mean.

Kodi has some speed. He could be an excellent fit for this offense. Answers to that question will take months to formulate.

3:03 PM  

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