Tuberville Speaks About His Future And Iron Bowl

Coach Tommy Tuberville speaks out on the rumors of his future at Auburn and the Iron Bowl rivalry.

Auburn, Ala.--At his regular Tuesday press conference Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville strongly denied rumors that he will be stepping down after the season because of health reasons. Tuberville addressed the media about the rumors on his job security and expressed his desire for the focus this week to turn back to the Iron Bowl where it belongs.

"Let's get this out of the way early," Tuberville said. "For those of you who announced that I'm deathly sick and on my death bed, State Farm appreciates that," he joked. "My wife went out and bought a bunch more life insurance. I'm fine, I'm healthy, I will be the coach here next year and I'm looking forward to it.

"We've got a great state rivalry," Tuberville added. "We've got one of the number one sporting events in the country and let's don't take away from it. Let's add to it. Let's add to the players from both teams and let's have a good football game. This is not about me, it's not about coaches, it's about players and tradition. Think about that before you write it and report it. That's important to me. I'm a football traditionalist and this is the number one rivalry in the country and for some reason we try to take away from it."

Entering his fifth Iron Bowl game, Tuberville said that he's hoping to end a streak of the road team winning this game. The last home victory in the series was Alabama's win in Birmingham in 1998 and Tuberville noted he has a lot to prove and a victory would make this season end on a great note.

"I have not been successful here in the Iron Bowl and everybody knows that," said Tuberville, who 2-2 vs. the Tide but 0-2 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. "That's one thing I'm still trying to accomplish. I don't know whether it will happen this year or not, but we're working hard for that to happen. We've got a great group of players. It's been a tough year on us and it's been a tough year on them, but you can throw all of that out the window. This is a game where emotions are played in the stands and on the field. Let's make it that, let's make it a game. That's what it's about."

With a record of 6-5 on the season the Tigers welcome rival Alabama (4-7) into Auburn this weekend for a big game for both teams in terms of pride alone. Always important to people in Alabama, this weekend's game will be no different despite the less than impressive records for both teams. Tuberville said that while its record hasn't shown it, this Crimson Tide team is very capable and has good players.

"I think they've done an excellent job of keeping their players focused each week," Tuberville said of Coach Mike Shula and his staff. "We've tried to do the same thing when we've had ups and downs. They've had a couple of overtime losses, but they've got a good team and they've got good players. We're not expecting anything other than the toughest game we'll have all season long."

When talking about Alabama, Tuberville had nothing to but good things to say about sophomore quarterback Brodie Croyle. All week long the Auburn assistant coaches have praised Croyle for his toughness. Tuberville said that he's amazed at the resiliency of the leader of the Alabama offense and his play.

"The positive things should be talked about," Tuberville said. "The Brodie Croyles of this game, a guy that has fought his tail off to make it to this game. Guys like Demarco McNeil, who probably this year has played the best he's played. Just to get to this point on a bad knee for four years, those are the things that really stick out in my mind, guys that are from this state and understand the traditions and the people that have played this game before. They have made this such a great game. They want to uphold the same traditions."

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