What a pleasant surprise today as I roll into the Georgia Dome and see these guys in their familiar spot along the back row of the press box.
It's the Auburn stat crew! They're here providing their usual level of excellence for The Big Game, which makes me happy.
In Auburn's press box, I sit directly ahead of these three -- L to R: Mr. Williams, Tommy Elliott, David Storey -- and it makes my life so much easier. They call out the tackler on each play. They identify down and distance, drive statistics ... bascially anything you'd ever need during a game.
They're also HOTTIES, so that helps as well.
*Disclaimer: There are other members of the stats crew, but I've known these three all along.
Hey everyone. I was pondering candidates for Auburn's vacancy today -- trying to weed out bogus information so I can refine my aim -- and something occurred to me.
If past is prologue, Auburn already has its guy and he probably hasn't yet become a celebrated candidate.
Remember 1998? Terry Bowden resigned on Oct. 23 and Tuberville was hired on Nov. 29. That's a 37-day "search." We began writing about Tuberville five days before he was hired, though, so we'll cut that down to 32 days.
One issue: We learned afterward that Auburn had secured Tuberville weeks before he was hired. Auburn handled business well ahead of time.
Remember all the names that flew around during that month? We talked about Pat Sullivan, Bobby Wallace, George O'Leary and even Mike Cavan.
I can't believe I wrote about Mike Cavan.
Remember 2003? A decision had been made to fire Tuberville before the season ended. Auburn was in suburban Louisville, Ky., securing Bobby Petrino as Tuberville's successor nearly a week before Tuberville's scheduled termination date.
Writers didn't have time to examine false leads. We never got to that point.
What can we learn?
Auburn has its next coach all but hired right now. Auburn does its homework -- even unethical homework -- when it comes to preserving the football program. If Auburn is out there pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and searching for a coach's replacement days after he left the program, well, it would be a first for this regime.
Don't hate. Houston Nutt played the game and the rewards are going to set Ole Miss back a few million bucks. They're good for it.
The Rebels' coach, said to be coveted by Auburn, agreed to a new contract today that yielded an $800,000 raise, a four-year extension and cash money for his assistants.
Not too shabby for 8-4.
So where does Auburn go now, you ask? It's not clear if Auburn ever was headed toward Nutt. Things are so low-key these days. Third parties talk with third parties so everyone knows who wants what before The Principles even get involved.
If "contact" fizzles, it looks the same as if contact never occurred.
Hey everyone. I see that you're all very excited about the possibility of Houston Nutt being Auburn's next head coach.
Is it possible? Yes.
I had a few knowledgeable people relay that name yesterday. The Advertiser forbids me from using unnamed sources, so that really limits what I can report about stuff like that. I'm working to get in touch with Nutt's People and get an official, on-the-record comment about his situation.
It's going to be a murky period here for a while. It's difficult to distill reliable information from fake stuff -- it often sounds the same -- and getting the legit stuff on the record adds a little more complexity.
We like complexity here at the HABOTN. It's all about love of the game ...
Jacobs was on "Tiger Talk" tonight. Here is what he had to say about the chronology of Tuberville's resignation:
He showed me his plans possibly for the next coordinators. When he got through with that, he said, `What do you want me to do?' I said, `I want you to do whatever you think is best.' I was thinking he was thinking about the coordinators. I didn't know. He said, `Ten years is a long time.' He said he would talk to Suzanne and think about it.' He came back yesterday and said he thought the best thing for him and his family was to resign."
Here's a cleaner summarization of what has been discussed today:
Jacobs said he and university president Jay Gogue gave Tuberville the $5.1 million buyout basically as a gift to his 10 years of service. Since Tuberville resigned, the school technically wasn't on the hook for that money. Auburn elected to give him that money. Tuberville also agreed to hang around in Auburn and help the school in various ways that weren't described.
Auburn told Tuberville that he wouldn't be saddled by the buyout clause if he sought another job. The contract states Tuberville would owe Auburn $5.1 million if he left for another gig.
Jacobs said he had no intention of firing Tuberville at any point.
Jacobs said Tuberville's resignation was not coaxed and, in fact, Jacobs repeatedly asked the coach to stay.
Jacobs said Auburn has retained Bill Carr and Associates, a Florida-based search firm, to assist in the quest for Tuberville's successor.
Jacobs said cost will be no object in terms of hiring the next coach.
Jacobs said his search will be "efficient," but he said there will be "no rush to judgment."
Current assistants may or may not stay to provide support as Auburn makes the transition from Tuberville to The Next Guy. Some of those guys have guarantees and some don't.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs will be addressing the masses at 11 a.m. CST.
The HABOTN is on hand.
Jacobs has arrived.
"I asked Tommy to lay out a comprehensive plan. Yesterday in our meeting, Tommy told me that he'd like to resign. We will honor his contract. His willingness and assurances that he wants to continue to be part of the Auburn family" ... is why they paid him the buyout even though he quit.
The search: Bill Carr will be handling the search. Jacobs will be meeting with Carr later today.
What happened with Tuberville, going from hopeful to resigning in two days' time: "You'd have to ask Tommy about that."
Had Tuberville not resigned, would he have been the coach next season: "Absolutely."
Search: "We're going to be as efficient as we possibly can."
Has Auburn contacted anyone yet: "Not to my knowledge."
Current assistants: "We're going to honor their contract. Tommy said he would help stay and call these commitments that we have. If they want to continue recruiting, we'd love for them to continue to do that."
Atmosphere at the final meeting: "I was a little shocked. After three times of asking him if he'd change his mind, he convinced me that" this was the best thing for Auburn.
On his emotions: "We prayed. It's a tough business. He was involved in the interview process when Dr. Richardson when I interviewed for athletic director. With me asking, I understand he supported me."
Is Tuberville just tired" "It's a tough business. You'd have to ask Tommy that. I respect his decision."
Did a 36-0 loss to Alabama end this?: "That's the first time I've thought about that score since Saturday night. That had nothing to do with it."
"We have a list of coaches. We're going to hire the best person for Auburn regardless of what his title may be."
Quick search: "We're not going to rush to judgment."
Paying a buyout even though Tuberville resigned: "We just thought that was the best way to treat him."
On the search: "Financially, we will have no contraints."
Is Tuberville going to coach again?: Jacobs says he told Auburn that he would get no money if he had another job in mind. "He said he planned to be here about a year."
Auburn was going to let Tuberville leave for free (ie no buyout) had he wanted another job.
Was there ever a time when you thought Tuberville wasn't the guy?: "No. He said he wanted to do this five more years. I told the president that Tommy wants to be here five years and it's my job to get him through the five years."
JASON BOSLEY SPEAKS
"I was upset when I first found out. (The Wednesday meeting) was very emotional. He loves his players. He made sure everyone knew that."
"I loved playing for him. He stood up for his players. When times were tough, he had our backs. He just made sure people did things the way they were supposed to."
"He gave me a chance when nobody else would. He took a chance on me. I respect him and I'd love him. Right now, I'd run through a wall for him."
"One day they love you and the next day, it's cut-throat."
Did he quit on you: "I don't believe that whatsoever."
Seeing Tuberville emotional last night: "It was probably one of the toughest things I've had to do in a long time."
Hey everyone. It's moving day on the Plains. Though coaches are in a meeting right now, they've already begun the process of packing their things and moving out. It's sad in a sense. They dedicated a big chunk of their lives to this place.
I'll miss seeing some of them.
There are cameras all over. Reporters all over. You may have the opportunity to watch this unfold on live television at 11 a.m. CST, but I'll be here live blogging as Jacobs speaks.
AUBURN—Tommy Tuberville is resigning as head football coach at Auburn, announced Athletics Director Jay Jacobs, Wednesday. Tuberville has served as the program’s head coach the last 10 seasons.
“The last 10 years have been a great time in my life, both professionally and personally,” Tuberville said. “It’s been a great place to coach and live, and we’ve had a lot of success along the way. I’m going to remain in Auburn and help the Auburn family however I can. I’m very appreciative of the coaches, players, staff and Auburn fans over the last decade.”
In 10 years at Auburn, Tuberville posted an 85-40 record and a 51-29 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Tuberville directed the program to eight winning seasons, including a perfect 13-0 mark in 2004.
“Tommy and I have had the opportunity to discuss the direction of the program,” Jacobs said. “Through those discussions, Tommy felt it would be in his and the program’s best interest to step aside as Auburn’s head football coach.”
“We appreciate everything Tommy has done for this program, this university and the Auburn community over the last 10 years,” Jacobs said. “He has established a strong foundation to build upon and we thank him for the standard he set. We wish Tommy and his family—wife Suzanne, and sons Tucker and Troy—nothing but the best.”
The buyout portion of Tuberville’s contract will be fulfilled, from which no state or university funds will be used. All assistant and contractual staff will be paid according to their respective contracts.
“I will begin the search immediately for Auburn’s next head football coach,” Jacobs said. “We will move as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can, but we’re going to be thorough and strategic with our search to find the best fit for Auburn.”
A press conference with Athletics Director Jay Jacobs will be held at 11 a.m. CT in the Athletic Complex Auditorium on Thursday. The press conference will be closed to the public.
"I really question some of the judgment relative to how it is for our game that people who have those kinds of relationships and have done that kind of job and affected so many people in a positive way and have had a reasonable amount of success relative to their circumstances, would not be given more respect and consideration that what these guys have been. So I guess we're 5-7 away from the same thing."
The Auburn players were summoned to the Athletic Complex at 6 p.m. for a briefing about Tuberville's situation. He attended the meeting. He instructed players to not reveal what was discussed. Auburn officials made all players off-limits after the meeting.
The meeting lasted approximately 10 minutes. As players streamed out, some bee-lined silently and others congregated outside to discuss the day's event.
SportsCall here in Auburn had an interesting caller on the air earlier today.
She was identified as "Amy" and, as you'll read, says her husband is/was an Auburn assistant and was meeting with Raymond Cotton Jr. when notified of Tuberville's dismissal
Steve Ensminger was in Maryland. Steve Ensminger is the primary recruiting contact for Cotton. Steve Ensminger has a wife named Amy.
``My husband was sitting in Maryland in the Cotton's home. This is how Auburn runs things. This is going to hurt recruiting. All the coaches are on the road. They knew they were going to do this. You do it right -- you tell them don't leave out, don't go on the road. Let the families know first. This is how Auburn runs things -- just like they did in 03."
``Everyone on this staff has busted their butt, has done eveything for Auburn and this Auburn family. There a lot of people from within who couldn't wait for the time and the place to get rid of us. We're sad. We love it in Auburn. We have a lot of friends. I hate it for the kids. I hate ot for the families. To hear it this way, that's just wrong. It's not professional whatsoever."
Hey everyone. Nothing more to report. I have seen Tuberville since the last time I updated, but he didn't say anything that adds to this situation.
UPDATE (@2:15 p.m.): Tuberville and Jacobs meeting in Tuberville's office right now.
One thing to keep an eye on is how this awkward delay affects recruits. They're antsy. Auburn has taken care to speak with TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, QB Raymond Cotton Jr., LB Eltoro Freeman and TB/WR Onterrio McCalebb in recent days.
I just spoke with Jay Jacobs. He said there has been "no change" in anything involving Tommy Tuberville. I have received three calls this morning -- all from credible sources -- insisting that Tuberville has been fired. That's simply inaccurate.
So that's the situation.
The door above provides access to the hallway housing Tuberville's and Jacobs' offices. UPDATE: Paul Rhoads and Eddie Gran are in their offices going about their usual duties.
ALSO: I have an idea. Since we all have heard radio people claiming this and that since Monday, would you be up for creating a thread simply to post what the clowns (ie the unscrupulous "reporters") are reporting? That way, everyone can see who was correct and who was completely wrong.
Good idea or not?
(I'm going to get some art to accompany this post.)
Hey everyone. We had a ton of participation on the campfire last night, so big ups to the HOTTIES and our other associates for making it fun.
Maybe we'll light the torch tonight as well.
(The picture at left is the coaches' hallway, barren, at 10 a.m.)
Here's what's happening at this hour:
As you may have seen in other places, there was a team meeting this morning. I didn't relay that information to you because, frankly, it wasn't relevant. They discussed basic stuff like off-season weightlifting schedules and training room hours. They do this every year. Tuberville wasn't discussed.
I'll be keeping an eye on Tuberville and Jay Jacobs today. Nothing (conclusive) has happened so far.
As for the statement you see below from Kirk Sampson, I wouldn't read too much into it. Auburn felt like too many reporters knew about Tuberville's meeting with Jay Gogue (still not sure Jacobs was involved there) and wanted to take a proactive stance. The statement wasn't an affirmation of Tuberville. It wasn't damning, either. It was just an admission that a meeting had occurred. Nothing more.
According to a statement released by Auburn spokesperson Kirk Sampson on Monday night, Tuberville met with school officials on Monday.
Here is the statement:
President Gogue, Jay Jacobs and Coach Tuberville did meet Monday to have their annual end of the season meeting. Further conversations between Jay Jacobs and Coach Tuberville will take place in the following days to discuss Coach Tuberville’s plan to make improvements for the program moving forward under his leadership.
Hey everyone. Sorry for being a tad late on getting this started.
It's still unclear when Tommy Tuberville will be meeting with athletic director Jay Jacobs and university president Jay Gogue (now summarily titled "The Jays") about the football program's health. This isn't something they want publicized, so the situation from a reporting standpoint could change at a moment's notice.
I'll pass along anything I see or hear from the Athletic Complex.
Head coach Tommy Tuberville is meeting with reporters via teleconference today. We're providing a blow-by-blow account.
"The sun did come up; it didn't come up until about noon."
"I thought we had a good game plan."
"The bright spot of our day was our punter."
"Offensively, we didn't do anything to give our defense any hope at all. We had no drives. We had no big plays."
"You could tell that (Alabama) wanted to end that streak and they did."
"I plan on being here. It's an opportunity the coaches look to know that we can get the job done. We've done it eight out of 10 years in terms of getting the job done."
On is Kevin Scarbinsky's column alleging that Tuberville already gaining official affirmation from Jay Gogue is true: "I have no clue where that came from. No."
On Lee Ziemba needing off-season surgery: "He's a tough young man who wanted to go through the season. Overall, considering the knee, I thought he had an outstanding sophomore season."
On Paul Rhoads and Utah State: "We've talked to some people from out there. There's been just a little bit of talk about that; not much. That'll be up to him. He really likes it here."
On their recruiting: "On guys who had shown any sense of (wondering) if I'll be here or not, I want to meet with them first. It'll be this week."
On OC changes: "I want to give him the freedom to bring someone in. We've got to have an offensive coordinator who feels comfortable with what he wants to do. I've not been around too many coordinators that had people that they wanted to bring, but obviously, we've got to do something on offense and we're going to. We're going to get the problem solved. We're going to get some consistency."
More on the OC situation: "You've got to make sure coaches can work with other coaches. There's more than hiring a guy and turning them loose. There has to be a sense of philosophy among all of them. We haven't had a consistent offense in a long time. This time, we're going to get someone who understands this program."
"They've got to be experienced; I don't want to train someone. We're past that point. A lot of people have said in the past that I've forced assistants on people. That's not the case."
"I don't have any front-runners. I don't have any leaders. It's not going to happen overnight. This thing probably won't happen until after the first of the year."
Q: So you say that your No. 1 priority is to talk with the recruits who are worried about your future here?
A: "That's correct."
Q: Is this going to happen before or after you talk with Gogue/Jacobs?
A: "It depends on when we talk. Recruiting starts this week and that's what we're doing now."
Q: How can you give recruits an affirmation when you don't have one yourself?
A: "I'm going like I've got a contract here. I'm working and as I said last night there's no doubt that we can get this thing turned back around. I didn't turn into a bad coach overnight. I know this program better than anybody. I know what it takes. I know the type of people that you can get to come in. I know their strengths, I know their weaknesses and I'm fully committed to doing it. I'm going out and selling that."
Hey everyone. Glad to see the overwhelming majority of HOTTIES acting responsibly on the comments thread. That's why you > everyone else on the planet. Classy, classy group of fans.
Notice I didn't say Auburn fans, FSJ.
LOOKING AHEAD: Tuberville will hold his weekly teleconference this afternoon at 3 o'clock CST. I'm aiming to live blog that. I expect Tuberville, Jay Jacobs and Jay Gogue to meet no later than Wednesday to discuss the program's direction.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?: No idea just yet. I still hear people preaching patience, but I don't see how Tuberville (and his defenders by extension) can explain away the 36-0 incident.
Recall, though, that Tuberville was remarkably chatty and serene Tuesday with long-time supporters Paul Spina (trustee) and Vince Saia in tow. Was that a sign? We shall see.