News of the day, 12/12
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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**
Auburn -- 101st (327.8 ypg)
Troy -- 17th (452.8 ypg)
Auburn -- 82nd (24.3 ppg)
Troy -- 25th (34.0 ppg)
Auburn -- 56th (154.2 ypg)
Troy -- 35th (182.6 ypg)
Auburn -- 107th (173.3 ypg)
Troy -- 30th (270.3 ypg)
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."