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Tommy Tuberville spent approximately 20 minutes today taking questions from reporters about the contract extension, the negotiations, the erroneous report about him taking the Arkansas job and life in general. Tuberville can be a frustrating guy to cover at times because he can be unnecessarily evasive, but he comes correct when it's time. I'll give him that. It was pretty cool of him to hold an open forum like this. A lot of coaches couldn't handle it.
Here are The Things You Need To Know about what he said today:
1.) Tuberville thinks this was all a big misunderstanding.
"I'm glad this is behind us. I think there was a lot of misunderstanding in terms of what this was all about. There was never any doubt I was coming back. It was in terms of whether I wanted to add to more years onto my contract, so we sat down. We had discussions. They were a little bit drawn out. You can't do them all in one day. Of course, I had some things to do, and they had some things to do, but, in the long run, we wanted to do what was best for Auburn and for Auburn's football program and athletics department, and we come to a conclusion that some things that could be worked out, and my family and I and our coaches decided to add to years onto the contract."
2.) Tuberville won't actually sign the deal until his lawyer, Montgomery's Jere Beasley, adjusts some of the contract's language.
"It took a month to sign it the last time, but we've agreed on it, the terms. Then what you do is you work out wording, words and if-ands and all of those things. That's very easy to do, but you just want to make sure for both sides everything is the way you want it."
3.) Tuberville is satisfied with proposed facility upgrades.
Work will begin in January on a complete facelift of the Athletic Complex's bottom floor, which is where the players spend most of their time. Work will continue through the spring and into the summer. Tuberville also said a new dorm catering to athletes will be build near the new coliseum during the next two years. The coaches' offices are getting a facelift, too.
4.) The assistants got something out of this.
Tuberville said administrators were receptive to ideas about instituting an incentive system for assistants. Many assistants are one year away from being vested for an education-related retirement plan. Tuberville said something about assistants getting raises, though that hasn't been discussed in detail yet.
5.) Tuberville doesn't think there are any hard feelings between him and The People Who Matter.
"It's a business. You don't want to let anything go by."
6.) Tuberville didn't say much last week because he didn't think it was necessary.
"There wasn't anything out there that I could have intelligently addressed because there wasn't anything to it."
7.) Tuberville got a good laugh out of the report last week that he was leaving for the Arkansas job.
``I happened to be in Arkansas that night. We were at a deer camp. We go every year. It's not that I just happened to go this year. I usually go the week of Thanksgiving. They moved the game back. One of my best friends is a farmer in Arkansas. He always picks me up and some of the coaches. We hunt one afternoon, hunt the next morning and come back.
``We were sitting around the fire. We'd just got through eating. It came on the news that I'd accepted the job. We all turned around and looked at each other very slowly and started laughing about it. That's how things start. It really had nothing to do with Arkansas officials. This is just rumors. It's rumors that get started, internet, talk and everybody thought I was probably over there interviewing for the job. It was a little different. My wife even called me and wanted to know what in the world was going on. There was no basis to it on either side. It was strictly bad reporting."
Tuberville said that he expects defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to return next season. He apparently withdrew from consideration for the Southern Miss job and Muschamp's degree from Georgia apparently didn't go over well with the people at Georgia Tech. No problem. He'll get a nice raise and probably snag a top job somewhere in 2008.
I submitted my Heisman Trophy ballot today ... hours before the deadline. I was leaning toward Darren McFadden. Then I talked with Al Borges, who essentially demanded that I vote for Tim Tebow. Borges described him as "an entire offense by himself." My wife intervened, she of the recent bonus that gets me to Vegas, and asserted her belief that McFadden is the best player.
So with that in mind, here are my official choices:
1.) Darren McFadden
2.) Tim Tebow
3.) Todd Reesing, Kansas: 3,259 yards, 32 TDs, 6 ints, BCS bowl for Jayhawks.