"Bob Petrino joined the groups "Abusing Defenses" and "Looking for Jobs." -- Jet, simulating a certain someone's Facebook feed
The HABOTN plan
I have more newspaper work than usual tonight, so that will tie me up for the next two hours or more.
My goal is to hold a campfire tonight, but it could be really late. Like midnight. I'm sure some of you will be around and chatty at that time ...
Players were available for interviews. Assistant coaches were not.
Tuberville said he's now considering all options at quarterback. That includes Barrett Trotter and, I guess, Neil Caudle.
Here's the complete line from Tuberville about his job situation: "I hope to be here. If you have good years and then you have one bad year, so be it. It will work its way out. I don't worry about those things. I worry about coaching. We've got five more games to go, and I'll let the higher-ups figure that out."
Taking a page out of the (now defunct) MCP, Tuberville said the coaches again did a poor job of coaching tonight.
Tuberville said it wasn't a mistake to fire Tony Franklin in the middle of a game week.
As you expected, Auburn apparently streamlined its offense again. That's what Jason Bosley said. I believe him.
Bosley said he found out about Tony Franklin's firing via cell phone from friends before he learned anything official.
We're here talking about the third quarter of Auburn's game against Arkansas.
STATS OF THE GAME: Total offense AUBURN -- 83 ARKANSAS -- 337
Time of possession AUBURN -- 15:02 ARKANSAS -- 29:34
AUBURN 20, ARKANSAS 16: The Hogs scored on a reverse pass from a wideout back to the quarterback. That was on 3rd-and-goal. Auburn's defense hasn't been all that effective today, I think you could say. The PAT kick was blocked.
AUBURN 20, ARKANSAS 10: Kodi Burns scores on a 3-yard keeper. The drive is prefaced by a fumble on Arkansas' kickoff return. The Tigers recovered at the UA 24.
We're now in the second quarter of Auburn's game against Arkansas.
STAT OF THE GAME Total offense AUBURN -- 53 ARKANSAS -- 244
Time of possession: AUBURN -- 4:45 ARKANSAS -- 18:58
AUBURN 13, ARKANSAS 10: Byrum hits a 36-yard field goal. The drive covered ... zero yards. A pick by Josh Bynes got Auburn to the UA 19 and that's where Byrum kicked it.
AUBURN 10, ARKANSAS 10: Casey Dick scores on a 1-yard run on fourth down. Eleven plays. Eighty yards. That's just mannin' up and pushing the Auburn Tigers down the field. Nothing else to it.
AUBURN 10, ARKANSAS 3: Wes Byrum breaks out of his funk and hits a 45-yard field goal. The score was set up by Neiko Thorpe's INT and subsequent 59-yard return. The Tigers' drive consisted of a three-yard loss and two incomplete passes.
Neiko Thorpe makes his mark; picks a pass and returns it 59 yards.
A look at the first quarter from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
FIRST QUARTER OVERVIEW Total offense: AUBURN -- 21 (21 rush, 0 pass) ARKANSAS -- 134 (73 rush, 61 pass)
AUBURN 7, ARKANSAS 3: Tristan Davis 97 kickoff return. Wow. First KO touchdown since the 2005 season. Great blocking deep and Davis found a crease without needing to shift direction. When he has a lane, he's a very bad man.
ARKANSAS 3, AUBURN 0: Shay Haddock 27 FG. That's the first time this season that Arkansas has scored in the first quarter. Hard to believe.
Check out the video I just posted below. You'll find it interesting.
How's that for a Welcome To Game Day greeting, huh?
Our soccer team took a 5-0 butt-whuppin' this morning, which was not fun to ingest. We were undefeated coming into the game. I asked around about our coach's buyout. Nobody seemed to have a copy of the contract.
I'll be FOI-ing that in the coming days.
Auburn football: I predicted 35-7 today in various places. I think the Tigers will look better.
I will be producing a pre-game video, but the format is changing. I'll shoot warm-up footage from the press box. That gives you a glimpse of what they're doing and who is doing it. That'll be more valuable than a shot of fans outside the stadium, you know?
Alright. I'm headed up around 1:15. Talk with you more from the press box.
Hey everyone. Fun night at the fair for me and the gals. I'll say this: I cannot ride the same rides as before. The Himalaya-type rides (fast and in a circle) really mess me up now. It takes me 5 minutes to get my senses back to normal.
Yet this kind of stuff lures me to Cincinnati every year:
Anyway, let's get to some Auburn-Arkansas chatter:
POSITION BY POSITION: QUARTERBACK Advantage: Arkansas Casey Dick isn't exactly a major-league player, but he has a grasp of the offense and an arm with some power. Auburn? Doesn't have a guy like that. That's 0-for-2 if you're scoring at home.
RUNNING BACKS Advantage: Arkansas Michael Smith leads the SEC in all-purpose yards because he's a very good runner and a very good receiver. Ben Tate brings the noise each week. Smith brings that and the lightning, too.
RECEIVERS Advantage: Arkansas Neither team has a wealth of talent here. Tommy Trott is a good player, but doesn't get many chances. Arkansas has two good ones in wideout Joe Adams and tight end D.J. Williams.
OFFENSIVE LINE Advantage: Auburn It's clear that blocking out of a two-point stance hasn't been easy for the Tigers this season. They made plenty of mistakes last week. Still, Arkansas' line has been really poor so far. Auburn's group has been better than that.
DEFENSIVE LINE Advantage: Auburn Even with Sen'Derrick Marks out because of injury, Auburn's defense front played well last week. Tez Doolittle and Zach Clayton have been productive of late, adding punch to a group that didn't need much more. LINEBACKERS Advantage: Auburn No big names. Lots of big-time production. Merrill Johnson played the best game of his career last week and Joshua Bynes has been excellent in the middle. The Tigers are loaded.
DEFENSIVE BACKS Advantage: Auburn Cornerback Jerraud Powers probably play this week, but that doesn't affect Auburn's allure relative to Arkansas'. Walt McFadden and Zac Etheridge are steady. Even Mike McNeil made some big plays last week.
SPECIAL TEAMS Advantage: Auburn Who knows? Neither team is kicking well. Both teams are punting well. Return games are a wash. I'll give Auburn the check based on the fact that Byrum can't really be this bad. Right?
COACHING Advantage: Auburn Bob Petrino was wildly successful at Louisville, but his value hasn't been as obvious in the NFL and at Arkansas. My guess is that Petrino will engineer major improvement. Tuberville has been at a pretty high level for a while, though the coach's personnel decisions could use some sharpening.
Arkansas TB Michael Smith (No. 21) 5-7, 175, Jr. Last week: 20 carries for 133 yards, 6 catches for 43 yards, 1 TD (vs. Florida) Scouting report: Skill-position guys don't come much tougher than Smith, who rarely takes breaks from Arkansas possessions. He's very fast -- coaches timed Smith at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash two years ago -- and has excellent hands. Smith has a good feel for the passing game. His weakness is probably what makes him so good: Size. Smith is small and doesn't look imposing. It's obvious that he's worked hard to refine other aspects of his game to overcome the genetic dispositions. He's also an honor roll student. If he was 5-11, Smith would be a major NFL Draft property.
Auburn WR Chris Slaughter (No. 23) 6-4, 179, Soph. Last week: 1 catch for 7 yards (vs. Vanderbilt) Scouting report: Slaughter was a major prospect from the 2005 high-school class who spent a year in prep school before enrolling at Auburn last season. He has a reputation for being a slacker, which he acknowledged recently. That's the first time Slaughter has described himself as such, which may preface a change in performance. He always has had some excellent tools: Average speed, good leaping ability, good feel for one-on-one matchups. The downside is that he still runs incorrect routes. If he begins taking pride in pre-game preparation, Slaughter could emerge as the go-to presence Auburn desperately needs.
Auburn DL Zach Clayton (No. 98) 6-3, 290, Soph. Last week: 4 tackles including 2 for loss (vs. Vanderbilt) Scouting report: Clayton was a nearly unknown prospect out of high school. He now is the team's most versatile defender. Clayton split time at tackle and end last week -- a very taxing mental challenge -- and impressed coaches with consistent productivity. Clayton isn't the most skilled player around, but he brings unusual fervor to the field. He has learned to use his hands to his advantage this season and has no problem getting nasty with players of all sizes. He's quiet on the field; it's all business.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Auburn offense Arkansas' run defense is poor. Very poor. The team's last three major-conference opponents (Florida, Texas and Alabama) have racked up 814 rushing yards against this front. Auburn will be tempted to use those Ace formations and send tailback Ben Tate between the tackles ad naseum. Is that the plan? Who knows. One thing we know -- Auburn hasn't had much installation time since Tony Franklin's departure Wednesday afternoon. After all that talk from Franklin about how Auburn's offense needed to be dumbed down for three consecutive weeks, it's unlikely this staff will be adding complexity over such a short period of time. Expect what you saw during the first half against Vanderbilt. Running should be the theme.
Auburn defense The Tigers have put together several thorough performances against SEC teams this season. Last week was no exception. Conceding 14 points to Vanderbilt in Nashville is not a problem. This week should be easier. Arkansas is the least refined opponent Auburn has faced this season. Bobby Petrino's team allows more sacks than any other SEC team and has struggled with turnovers lately. The key player is Michael Smith, who is a very talented back. Auburn must hold its wide positions to funnel Smith toward the middle. If he gets the corner, he's dangerous. Quarterback Casey Dick has been there a while. He's still only average. He prefers short passes. He doesn't take many risks. Smith is the only thing working for Arkansas right now. Auburn's defense is particularly good against the run.
Hey everyone. I'm here in Auburn now preparing for the post-practice scene. Workouts began around 9:15 and are scheduled to conclude around 10:15.
The Tigers generally don't practice long on Thursdays and, apparently, recent events won't change that. If you guessed "Plenty Of Spread" on your Arkansas Prognostication Quiz, you win.
I'll be back with Tuberville reaction when conditions merit.
In the interim, allow me to recall some of the stuff I said on the radio today:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Tuberville safe?: Not completely. If this situation decays and the offense doesn't improve, I believe he will be in legitimately hot water.
How did this happen?: There was a wide chasm between what Franklin espoused and what Auburn has been doing for a long time. Tuberville envisioned an offense like Oklahoma's -- a running attack with spread principles -- but hired a guy who didn't run Oklahoma's offense. That dissonance created a sour situation that finally imploded.
Whose fault is it?: It ultimately falls in Tuberville's lap. His plans went awry. He tried to make something happen that couldn't happen.
Who will run the offense now?: We'll find out later this morning.
Tuberville said he decided to make the change because of weak offensive production.
"It hurts. It hurts bad. It's a difficult situation, difficult thing to do in the middle of the season. My responsibility is to this football team and it always will be."
Tuberville declined to say when he made the decision to fire Franklin. Asked if it was during the weekend, Tuberville termed that a "non question."
Tuberville said there was no confrontation.
Tuberville said he would make an announcement tomorrow about the team's short-term plan at offensive coordinator.
Tuberville said Auburn still will be running the spread.
``Basically it comes down to production. We played four conference games and we just haven't done that well. I had to look at it, it had nothing to do with X's and O's, he's a heck of a football coach. It was about getting it done on the practice field and to the game field, we're all responsible to that."
Tuberville said Steve Ensminger was coaching quarterbacks today.
Tuberville said he's not worried about the effect this could have on recruits.
"Players don't come for any other reason -- they come to school to where they're committed to. Of course, we'll have to go out and talk with all the players and visit with them but I see no problem there."
Here's my opinion on this. I'm just free associating based on what I know and what I've seen.
Is this bad? Absolutely. This makes Tommy Tuberville seem out of touch with his own program, which is a critical violation in a lot of eyes. This kind of stuff just doesn't happen.
Here's the thing: This makes sense from a win-football-games perspective. Franklin's systems weren't working. Period. They just weren't. So the thinking inside the walls here is ... Auburn won't regress by reverting to power football again. It can't be less successful. A move like this could prompt a change in attitude that yields big returns. Could. If the "new" offense makes sense and the players can execute it.
ALSO OF NOTE: Going down a man on the staff means Tuberville can hire a consultant and let that person actually coach. Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows. I'm just saying that avenue exists.
I was just going through some parts of the Vanderbilt game and saw something interesting.
I didn't realize Auburn's first three plays of the game -- the ones that gained 10+ yards each -- were the exact same call.
Here is the breakdown: FIRST DRIVE Ace base (50/68 pull) R. 44. FIRST DOWN Ace base (50/68 pull) R. 44. FIRST DOWN Ace base (50/68 pull) R. 44. FIRST DOWN Shot read (71/57 pull) R. (44) Chris Todd fumbled the snap Shot read L. 27. Shot read L. 44. FIRST DOWN Shot read L/C. 44. Ace +1R (9 as lead blocker) C/R. 44. Ace +1R (9 as lead blocker) C/R. 44. Ace +1L (9 as lead blocker) L. 44. Stuffed on fourth down at the 1.
SECOND DRIVE Ace base (71/57 pull) L. 1. FIRST DOWN Shot read L. 1. Shot 5 wide. Todd scrambles. FIRST DOWN Shot read R. 44. (75 missed his block badly) Shot screen L. 80. Shot read (71/57 pull) L. 44. FIRST DOWN Shot read L. 9. (13 in motion L to R) Shot rollout R. 13 incomplete. Shot 5 wide C. 80. TOUCHDOWN (5 was the intended receiver)
THIRD DRIVE Shot read (71/57 pull) L. 44. Shot 5 wide. 27. TOUCHDOWN (27 beats OLB on a go route)
FOURTH DRIVE Ace +1L. C/R. 44. Shot 5 wide. Rollout R to 5 complete. FIRST DOWN (27 in motion R to L) Shot read (73/71 pull) R. 44. Shot read R. 44. FIRST DOWN Ace +1L. R. 44. Ace +1L. Pass. Todd fumbles. Big loss. Shot read (50 pull) L. 44. Big gain. Punt.
... so that's four Ace base runs and four gains of at least 10 yards.
Here's a look at some stuff The Head Coach had to say today:
Cornerback Jerraud Powers is "doubtful" for the Arkansas game this weekend.
What is Auburn's offensive identity?: "What we can execute. We're still going to run the spread. When we go to something else (ie Ace formation) and we come back to the spread, it has to work."
On Bob Petrino's role in Jetgate: "As that time, I was a little confused about what was going on. If there was going to be a change, why not him?"
On the changes at practice for the offense: "Our offensive side of the ball sounded like the defensive side. We've got to be more demanding at practice. We've got to worry about what we do at practice."
On players like Rod Smith and Ben Tate being outspoken about their confusion: "The offense is not going to change. Everybody's got to be on the same page. They're disappointed. They got beat by a team we should have beaten, to be honest."
On quarterbacks: "They make more mistakes than anybody. Sometimes, you overload them. It's a tough transition (to the spread), but I'm sold on it. Our recruits are sold on it."
On foreshadowing the team's current problems: "I prepared the team for this. I knew there would be growing pains."
On the Vanderbilt loss: "We should have won that game 13-0, to be honest."
I don't have access to the quotes just yet, but Rod Smith said the coaching staff made some major attitude changes at practice today.
Smith said Tony Franklin was much more animated than usual. He stopped a play and showed everyone on the field why a particular route was incorrect and actually ran the (correct) route himself.
Smith said Franklin commented that "the old Franklin" was back.
Smith said he'd never seen "the old Franklin" before and this guy was much more stern.
Smith said the team is running a smaller group of plays and focusing on making those few plays work correctly every single time. If anyone made a mistake today, Smith said the team had to run the play again. Some play were run as many as three or four times in a row.
Smith said the tempo was much faster than ever before today.
Hey everyone. It's another Tuesday, which means you'll be getting more frequent updates today. Basic schedule: Players available at 10ish, The Head Coach available at 1 p.m. I'll summarize afterward. Sunday was probably the high-water mark in terms of interesting quotes.
Tommy Tuberville will have to answer questions about Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino today.
"We are in a mess,” the former Auburn coach told reporters yesterday. “We’re fixing to pay 700 billion dollars to bail out Wall Street. We don’t know who to vote for president. Auburn and Arkansas — ain’t either one of them worth a damn. Y’all have had floods all down here, in Louisiana and Texas, and hurricanes, and floods up there in the midwest. We’re in the middle of a three-year drought where I live. And it’s still great to be an American.”
He also said of Georgia: ``They can score more points by accident that we can score on purpose."
Hey everyone. Good morning to you. I really needed a good night's sleep and got it last night. Big up to my wife for taking The Daughter to school this morning, thereby clearing out for my final hour of slumber. The last hour makes all the difference.
A MAJOR THANKS: We set at least two HABOTN records yesterday: Most participants in a single campfire and most visitors in a single day. I'm pretty sure we also hit a record for most pageviews in a single day, too, but those calculations aren't completed until 11 a.m. or so.
Lesson learned? HOTTIES > everyone else.
* 1. Oklahoma (18) * 2. Missouri * 3. Alabama * 4. LSU * 5. Texas * 6. Penn State * 7. USC * 8. BYU * 9. Texas Tech * 10. Florida * 11. Georgia * 12. Ohio State * 13. Utah * 14. Boise State * 15. Vanderbilt * 16. Kansas * 17. Virginia Tech * 18. Oklahoma State * 19. Northwestern * 20. Wake Forest * 21. South Florida * 22. Auburn * 23. Wisconsin * 24. California * 25. Michigan State
Here is your panel: Frank Broyles (Arkansas), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), John Cooper (OSU), Fisher DeBerry (Air Force), Terry Donahue (UCLA), Vince Dooley (Georgia), Pat Dye (Auburn), LaVell Edwards (BYU), Hayden Fry (Iowa), Don James (Washington), Frank Kush (Arizona State), Dick MacPherson (Syracuse), Bill Mallory (Indiana), Tom Osbourne (Nebraska), John Ralston (San Jose State), John Robinson (USC), R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Gene Stallings (Alabama) and Virginia's George Welsh.
Rod Smith on changes to The Auburn Offense today: "(Tony Franklin) said we're going to cut back on what we've been doing and just try to keep it simplified because he thought we tried to do too much on Saturday. We're just going to cut it back and run a few simple plays and get good at it and just go out and lay it out on the field and see what happens."
Recall that Franklin already has trimmed the playbook twice. This is the third episode.
MATH UPDATE: With an assist from Charles Goldberg, I now have an official tally from The Tony Franklin Playbook Erasure Project.
After the Tennessee game, he said they already had trimmed 60 percent of the playbook.
He said Auburn would trim another 30% during the week leading up to Vanderbilt. So that's 30% of the 40% remaining ... meaning the Tigers were down to 28% of their opening-day offense. Give or take.
Now the Tigers are back on the whittle. How much is left?
Let's take a gander at what The Head Coach had to say today.
On The Auburn Offense's growing pains: "This is our first time do it. Everybody else is going through the growing-up process with two new quarterbacks. That's what makes it tough. You don't have a Brandon Cox back there. Brandon can pretty much know what's going on and understand adjustments. These two guys are learning as we go. When you change something, it changes something for them."
On not using the Ace formation more during the second half Saturday: "We did go back to it some. We went back to it a few plays. We wanted to come back with a few different things in the second half because they had adjusted and we didn't have a lot out of that formation. When you don't have a lot out of a formation, they pretty much know what you're going to run. That'll steadily get better. That's always been a good formation for us."
On Burns' role: "I think you'll probably see a lot more of Kodi as we go through the second half. The first half we're kind of finding out what he can do, what Chris Todd can do. The upside on Kodi is huge. He hasn't thrown the ball as well as we've liked but neither has Chris Todd. The quarterback usually they get scrutinized more than others and I scrutinize them more on the ability to run the offense as far as how they execute."
More on the QBs: "Both Chris and Kodi have to play better for us down the stretch. We've got to improve at the quarterback position for us to have a chance to win games going through the rest of the year. "
Tuberville's Take on injuries:
Robert Dunn: "Ankle." Status for Arkansas unclear.
Ben Tate: Leg. Fine.
Sen'Derrick Marks: Ankle. Probably OK for Arkansas.
Jerraud Powers: Hamstring. Status for Arkansas unclear.
Brad Lester: Right knee. Probably OK for Arkansas.
Mike Goggans: Left ankle. Probably OK for Arkansas.
Craig Stevens: Turf toe. Will play, will need frequent substitutions.
I'm headed out of Nashville now and will be making a beeline for the Plains. Tuberville's weekly meeting with the media goes down at 3 o'clock. I expect something major to happen today at Auburn. Tuberville told players to expect major changes and he rarely overstates stuff like that.