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9.30.2008

Getting things started, 9/30


Hey everyone. I guess we can get started with my story that appears in Tuesday's editions and, for reasons that are beyond me, ran on the front page of the newspaper. Tommy Tuberville was in Montgomery and Nick Saban was not.

MAIN STORY: Auburn coaches talking offense

HEEDING THE CALL: I'm now bestowing an Official HABOTN shout-out to Patrick W. for taking the time to splice me a clip of Verne Lundquist's comments from Saturday. Nice work. As Phred also revealed, Lundquist said: "Jay Tate, a writer from the Montgomery Advertiser, said he's the `Master of Mea Culpa.'"

SCHEDULE UPDATE: Players are available for interviews beginning around 10:30 a.m. with Tuberville to follow at 1 o'clock. I'll be providing a Tuberville summary around 1:40 and a video around 2:30 with a few blogs to follow. So stay tuned during what could be an eventful Tuesday. The print and internet reporters on Sunday quizzed Tuberville about Tony Franklin's comments; now it's time for another round of questioning.

NOTES: My daily notebook was tacked on the end of Tim Gayle's reportage from Tuscaloosa. You probably don't care to read what happened in Tuscaloosa yesterday or any day, so I'm reproducing the Auburn information below:

  • Catch and release: Offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey has been granted a release from his Auburn scholarship, though his allegiance to the school hasn't yet faded.

    Ramsey hasn't participated in football-related activities since March, when he aggravated a back injury during spring drills. Months of rehabilitation haven't yielded significant physical gains.

    Though the sophomore is attending classes at Auburn this semester, Ramsey's father, Key, requested a release in August.

    ``He's trying to figure out what he wants to do," coach Tommy Tuberville said. ``I've talked with Chaz and his family about their options. He's with us and we want him to stay with us. He asked for the release just so he'd have that option available."

    If Ramsey's injury is deemed a career-ending development, he'll be permitted to complete his education at Auburn on scholarship.

  • Everyday people: Tony Franklin isn't thrilled with his offensive options.

    Coach Tommy Tuberville says they're good enough.

    The team's offensive coordinator has been outspoken in recent days about how he believes Auburn's attack is compromised by personnel issues. He has trimmed away a majority of playbook material and said Sunday that the Tigers can't operate at the fast pace he requires.

    ``I think we've got the personnel. We don't have the experience," Tuberville said. ``There's so many more opportunities for mistakes in this offense. Instead of just turning around and handing off, each player is asked to make a contribution on each play. We've got guys that can run this offense and make it work."

  • Toughing it out: Safety Zac Etheridge suffered a serious shoulder bruise during the Tigers' loss to LSU.

    He missed practice time last week. Missing a game, though, is a much different situation. Etheridge participated in 48 of the Tigers' 57 defensive plays against Tennessee.

    The Troy native finished with six tackles.

    ``It's a big game, so I just pushed myself to go," said Etheridge, a 2006 graduate of Charles Henderson High. ``I knew I had to step up and be there for the team. So I just pushed myself and fought through the pain."

    Trainers added an extra layer of padding to the left side of his shoulder pads. He also had his arm wrapped to help curb discomfort.

    ``It was hurting pretty bad out there," he said.

  • Deaf to criticism: Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba doesn't have much of an opinion about the boos that have become more frequent at Auburn home games this season.

    ``I don't even hear that," Ziemba said. ``It's irrelevant to what we're doing -- especially with my job. I have one job and that's the block the guy in front of me. Nothing else matters for me."

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at jgtate@gannett.com.

55 Comments:

Anonymous Crudup said...

Paul Rhoads and his top of the conference are on an island away from this ridiculously unstable offense and all of its divided characters.
I wonder if not the players take offense to their coach saying they aren't talented enough to run his high school offense. And I wonder if the head coach is offended by those same remarks since the head coach's stamp of approval went toward each of those players signing on to play for Auburn.

Clownish.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

Lookinf forward to the video today. Very interested to see how CTT spins the "mutual decision" drama.

I want you to ask CTF a question, because I really want to know the answer: You have commented that you don't have the players you need and have had to cut the play book down to almost 10%. Are you saying that AU doesn't have the athletes to run what many claim can and is run by the average highschool. Really? Seriously?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

There was so much breadth to Franklin's comments Sunday. The quote I ran here ... it was lost in the shuffle after all that other stuff.

Then I happen upon this one and said: "Whoa."

7:29 AM  
Anonymous hip-hopanonymous said...

Those personnel comments from Franklin make all the "my bad" comments seem sort of disingenuous.

It's like he only apologized for his poor coaching because that's sort of the stereotypical thing to do, but when it gets down to it he feels like this isnt his offense and he doesnt have the talent to run what he would like.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Phormerly Phred said...

I heard that one the other day and said the same thing. That's a huge statement. Huge.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous jim in scranton said...

So Troy had the talent to run his bobo offense, but Auburn does not? Right. OK Tony.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Aubie said...

Jay, What does he mean when he says we are not able to run this offense with the tempo it requires? What is he saying is missing? speed, intelligence, conditioning, commitment?

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

I still have to say this. There's been one constant with stagnant offense at Auburn over the last decade. Tommy Tuberville.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:17 AM  
Blogger scottie b in tennessee said...

CTF's comments have me completely befuddled so I don't even know where to start to comment. I guess I'll defer to the CTF school of commenting, though, "I've said all along I wasn't very smart and yall thought I was joking, and now you know. It's pretty true."

Can't wait to see the JGT/HABOTN shout-out on CBS. I jacked my TIVO up and didn't get it recorded.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Denny Crum said...

I have said for the past 3 years that we have problems at wideout. I really wonder what goes on there. JayG, you know that CTT never really says what is going on, in fact, it is almost disinformation.

The most innovation I have seen at Auburn was with Petrino and Borges (his first and second year). What do you think is the reason? I mean this year is just like last year in terms of production the players are same, but he OC is different. I get the feeling that CTT may be losing his nerve and ready to abandon his "solid" committment to the spread.

When I was at Louisville, I always said that if you believe in something, then you keep teaching it until everybody is up to speed.

8:23 AM  
Blogger scottie b in tennessee said...

mr. sensible,

do you have a link for that B.Matthews audio? intriguing.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous auburn guy said...

franklin can try to lay blame wherever he wants but the truth of the matter is that this guy has never - NEVER in his entire coaching career - had access to the kind of talent there is at auburn right now. i'm not saying we're "loaded" on offense, but there is sufficient talent for a competent o.c. to score points.

now, if the guy is trying to say he wants more chris todd type talent and less kodi burns type talent then yeah, i suppose we are somewhat deficient in that area.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P Marshall says after talking to coaches he is convinced CTF is still in control of the offense. Then CTF says CTT told him to play Burns and he is down to running 10%of his offense. Now he doesn't have the personnel to run "his" offense. Isn't this the same coach who kept saying in the off-season that he didn't have to have "his" guys to run "his" offense? That AU had plenty of talent? And we are supposed to believe that everything is fine and the coaches believe this offense is about to explode? I say at this point that an implosion looks more likely.

8:32 AM  
Blogger AUBigCat said...

As far as CTT going away from the spread...our most successful drive against UT was primarily under center. I'm not sure why every drive wouldnt have at least 1 or 2 plays under center since that is what our personnel is really geared toward. That only makes sense to me. That could buy us more time to really transition into a more full blown version of the CTF spread while sustaining drives and scoring more points in the process

8:36 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I haven't talked with BMatt today, it's early, but I think I agree with what he's saying.

In my story today, I quote CTT saying: "There are suggestions made. He wants to run the spread on every down. We're tweaking things to fit better with what we have in terms of personnel."

To me, that means they won't be running the spread on every down. That means more "I" ... and less core Franklin stuff.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read too much PM. Talk about sunshine pumping.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auburn does not have the playmakers that Troy had last year (i.e. Jerrel Jernigan0. You can laugh at that all you want, but look at what the Troy offense was able to do against SEC competition. Their defense was awful, but their offense held their own. Auburn does not have the receivers or quarterback to run this offense right. Plus, having watched Troy the past couple of year and Auburn this year, the speed and tempo of the offense of Auburn is much much slower than Troy's was.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

Mr Sensible, I honestly think Chris Todd is a good fit for your scenario. I really do. Todd's got a pretty cool head when he's not looking over his shoulder.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

PM busts his butt over there at AuburnUndercover.com and, well, I voted him for the ASWA Hall of Fame.

So I disagree.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Also keep in mind that OL penalties, particularly holding, have ruined several drives so far. That number has to be in the 10-12 range now.

This offense doesn't have a huge margin for error. Ten-yard penalties are stingers.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

Jay, it goes beyond penalties. WRs dropping countless balls. WRs running into the same end point on routes and even into each other a couple times. WRs not finishing routes or doing any downfield blocking what so ever. This still read option garbage is absolutely murdering Tate.

To your point, Jay, correct all the miscues with COACHING and this thing probably looks good enough for now without more Robert Dunns (see class of '09).

Coaching and punting. Got the punting fixed.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

Did I say something about our WRs? Woops! That's not TF's or GK's fault. No sir.

What ya got Hugh Nall? Can you be perfect? We need Billy Bob to come visit a practice.

9:03 AM  
Blogger AUBigCat said...

Mr. Sensible I agree with that. Chris Spielman made another great point when he said "you dont date the spread, you have to marry it." But we still need to dictate the terms of the relationship. We seem to have some needs that arent always gettting met in the shotgun.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auburn Undercover is a perfect fit for PMarsh.

Rivals is perfect for BMatt.

Those guys are great.

Jay, how well will this offense work if it becomes less spread and more "multiple"?

By that, I am asking two questions. One, what will the production look like? Two, how well will the coaches work together?

If it goes multiple, does that mean CTF is gone at the end of the year?

9:17 AM  
Anonymous auburn guy said...

anon 8:45, if auburn doesn't have the talent of troy then everyone from the head coach to the water boy needs to be summarily dismissed.

the problem is that franklin has utterly failed to make use of his playmakers - burns, fannin, lester, etc.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous WarEagleRK said...

I still don't think the spread is the problem. It's the play calling that's the problem. We may never know if Franklin's system works because I don't know if he can call a game.

I've also said for years that our WR development has been lacking for years.

9:27 AM  
Blogger AUBigCat said...

WR development has been lacking for years and I think most would agree with that. But the talent is there. There are 5 WRs on our team that are in their State HS record books: Billings, Trott, Slaughter, Zachery, and Hawthorne.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I removed my previous comments.

It seems the demise of the offense was greatly exaggerated.

According to Rod Bramlett, AU is running a lot of spread in practice right now.

In the end, we just need to be patient. It'll take a few years of recruiting to get the whole package together.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous atltigersfan said...

Auburn is not short on receiver talent. Spread, West Coast, Video Game or whatever scheme, you run to a spot and turn around for the ball. Look on the other side of the ball and you have a group thriving. Why? Because the coordinator doesn't have more faith in his "system" than the personnel in place to run it.

Tubs said he hired Franklin to help with recruiting, because nobody wanted to play in the previous system. Well, no one will want to play in this one either if a self-proclaimed dumba$$ (and I'll add schizo) reigns in power. He needs to learn the value of "no comment" and stop slyly calling kids dumb in the paper. I work in government and if one can cut 90% of something and still operate, it was too big in the first place.

And my goodness, where are the senior leaders on this team?

9:55 AM  
Anonymous WarEagleRK said...

Nobody ever said Auburn was short on talent at WR, just that the WR's haven't been properly developed over the years.

However your view of all that a WR does is a bit simplistic. They do more than just run to a spot and turn around.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous auburn guy said...

atltigersfan and wareaglerk, you are both right. we have talent at the wr position, and it has not been developed. i think we all realize that is one of the few problems taht actually predates franklin.

also, franklin is very skilled at making statements that sound self-deprecating but in reality are criticisms of everyone around him, from his players all the way to his boss.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous WarEagleRK said...

That's obvious. Franklin seems to have many used car salesman type qualities.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BMATT sighed and seemed to acknowledge this may be a one year experiment in that radio interview.

Like it or not, sometimes, these things take longer than that.

Maybe they can find a happy medium this year and do it full bore next with additional recruits.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous hip-hopanonymous said...

Greg

10:12 AM  
Anonymous hip-hopanonymous said...

Knox

10:12 AM  
Anonymous atltigersfan said...

WarEagleRK, it's a comment box, not a place to lay out all the duties of WRs. We both know it's a little more complicated than that, but in 10 words that's what they do.

More has to be discovered on the players' enthusiasm for this scheme. We are in the middle of MCP, and Tate can't run that story down for us. What is a new crop of kids going to prove? Don't you all read...the ones we already have don't get it according to Franklin. So what does Tubs do, only recruit at schools where Franklin sold the Spread DVD box set?

LSU lined it up and ran right over Auburn two weeks ago, and Auburn has five tailbacks on scholarship right now that could do the same to everyone else. It's not that hard, but folks create job security by making you and me think it is.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

atltigersfan said..."And my goodness, where are the senior leaders on this team?"

According to JG, there aren't really any?

There are some good guys, but no step, take charge in the huddle, leaders.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Offensive leaders is the key. Auburn has plenty of leadership on defense.

I think Jason Bosley is at least somewhat outspoken. Robert Dunn is so outspoken that maybe people don't listen to him as much. I don't see that Courtney Taylor-type guy who has the authority to handle business on the field and the personality to use that authority.

As far as this offense being more multiple: I don't think it has to be a deal-breaker. They're not going to abandon the spread. They're investigating ways to get Ben Tate moving forward rather than laterally. That's the real thrust here.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Practice has ended.

Let the interviews begin ...

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When do the players go to school, if practice is over at 10:45 in the morning?

10:43 AM  
Anonymous WarEagleRK said...

atltigersfan,

I realize it's just a comment box. However if our WR's aren't getting any separation on the DB's, it doesn't matter if they just have to run to a spot and turn and wait on the ball. Also, if you have players out there who aren't doing that without the ball coming to them it tips the D off to when the a guy is the 1st or 2nd option on the play.

11:16 AM  
Blogger ron mexico said...

You know, franklin's big thing when he got the job at Auburn was saying how personnel issues aren't an excuse, you don't have to have your players in there to make this system work. It was his job to tailor the system to make it work to the personnel. Now here we are. I wish someone would call him out on that.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Crudup said...

rk, I kind of took it that Franklin said AU didn't have the kind of talent he needed to make it work. That said, when coming here he appeared to have a bluebird on his shoulder when talking about "Auburn athletes".

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one probably will, Ron.

Tubs is practically telling all of us (Auburn fans) to shut up and be happy with what he and his corp group are doing.

I no longer fear that Auburn will fall to the bottom of the SEC.

I fear Auburn will slip quietly into mediocrity.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really not sure what the problem is. Back in the day (okay, the 90s), Alabama won with Stallings all the time. Every game looked like what we have been doing. No O and lots of D. They won most of their games.

What is wrong with winning ugly?

Why does everyone act like the wheels have fallen off?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think the most honest thing Franklin has said has been about the offensive talent. I think we don't have a QB. If we did, things would be much merrier. It's no coincidence that 2004 genius Borges and 2007 genius Franklin have had a hard time producing. I don't think it's coaching, I think it's personnel. If Tubs isn't really blowing smoke about recruiting then we should just suck it up and let Franklin do what he wants.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous WarEagleRK said...

Because it's the internet and everyone (myself included) has to have something to complain about.

Plus I think it is more of a concern if we'll have enough offense to win each week. The Stallings teams had enough on offense to keep the D off the field with Barker, Palmer, Stacy & an offense built around controlling the clock. We don't have that right now.

As for when they players go to school, I think Tues and Thurs are morning practices so they have afternoon classes on those days. Plus you only have to have 6 hours in a semester of the sport you are playing.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous weagle251 said...

Anon @ 11:52

Do you not remember how that little saga in the 90's ended? Sure, it starts with winning ugly. But before you know it, somebody's having scandalous relations with the relative of a trustee and getting run out of town on a rail midway through the season. Then we get to spend the next couple of years rebuilding. No thanks.

If our Offensive Talent needs to be 'cruited up, then fine. But I think our offensive woes for the past three years have hinged on poor to mediocre QB and WR play across the board. After three years, wouldn't that be considered a trend Coach Knox? I realize that Knox holds plenty of recruiting relationships that we don't really want to lose, but couldn't we... I don't know... lose Ensminger (what exactly does he do anyway?) and hire a new WR coach while keeping Knox on as 'Cruitin' Coordinator?

Just thinking out loud here.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Bo said...

4-1

Arguably the best defense in the country.

Still a chance to turn around the offensive ship.

Is their division? You're damn right there is. Have you ever dealt with division in your job or on your team? It's always there to some degree.

Only one way this thing starts to move forward and that's for the players to do their effin jobs and start making some plays. If I'm a coach that's my job. Get the job done.


I know who has a huge ego although he likes to hide it. Thomas Hawley Tuberville. Think he's embarrassed a tad? He's been here before.

The last time we all pissed him off he said he was going to win a national championship. Everybody laughed. He said, "and you can write that". And he went 13-0 the following season. Every bit a national championshop in any sane's person's mind.

I wouldn't count that guy out as much as some thing he's completely void of taking Auburn to the top again.

This spread thing will work. But not without the pain first. And not without Tubs and crew getting their hands in there and tweaking it based on what lifetime experiences have taught them. They know football players.

Franklin said early on he's not good with schemes. He's not good one on one vs a skilled defensive coordinator. He wants a system, not situational play calling. I'm afraid that's not going to work all by itself this year.

So...who calls plays when the situation is win or lose? I think they made a good case last week by inserting Burns to get us out of the endzone and seal the deal.


I'll tell you one thing. Don't think for a minute that smirk on Tubs' face is hiding his will to to win. He's small town/big ego. And he also knows what's going on in Tuscaloosa. Count on it.

1:19 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I just finished watching a replay of the TN game and have realized that Chris Todd is the biggest problem with this offense. Yes CTF's(or whoever's) play calling at the end of the game was bad but CT missed so many open receivers or got the ball to them so late, any space they had created, disappeared while waiting on the throw. His INT was completely his fault, the O-line gave him all the time he needed and he threw it too late in a bad spot for a pick. The wide receivers are getting open but he is not getting them the ball at the right time or place, allowing the D to get there and make plays. Up until now I was thinking he might improve and it wasn't just him, and its not just him, but mostly him.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I've posted this before and nobody had any input, possibly because its stupid and doesn't warrant such, but IMO when the season concludes either Franklin will leave of some other offensive coaches (that have been with Tubbs a long time) will. I could be wrong and have certainly been called way worse than stupid...

5:47 PM  

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