Tuberville Talks Football And His Future

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville discusses his future on the Plains and Saturday night's win over Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite winning three out of his last four against Alabama and averaging eight wins a season since he's been at Auburn, Coach Tommy Tuberville heads into the week of Thanksgiving unsure of his future with the Tigers. In today's world of what have you done for me lately, he said that all he can do now is just wait and see what the future holds. With no meetings planned or discussed to this point that could mean a stressful holiday for the coach and his staff.

"It's year by year and we know that," Tuberville said. "We're paid a lot of money to get things done. We started from a very low point five years ago and I judge us on how we recruit, how we handle our players, how things are going, not just in 12 days a year but 365 days and that's how I have to do it as the CEO of this organization. How many season tickets we are selling and how much money we are raising, graduation, all of those things. It's all pretty good.

Saying he is shocked that this is even being considered, Tuberville said that he plans to take this week off along with the players and his staff to enjoy the holidays and do some recruiting over the phone because of visits being cut off until Dec. 1. After hosting five official visitors over the weekend and numerous high-profile prospects for unofficial visits, Tuberville said that his staff will move forward and everything will be business as usual in the coming days and weeks.

"As far as I know I have not heard anything," Tuberville said. "As far as I know there has never been a problem. Let's just go from there.

Quarterback Jason Campbell steps up in the pocket against Alabama Saturday night. Campbell finished with 270 yards passing and one touchdown.

Playing on the emotion of the rivalry and the fans outside the stadium, Auburn put perhaps its best all-around performance of the season on display Saturday night against Alabama in a 28-23 victory. Defensively the Tigers held the Crimson Tide to just 291 yards of total offense, but it was on offense where things clicked. Gaining 519 yards of total offense and getting 21 first downs they looked like the team everyone thought they would see this season.

"I think things fell our way a little bit," Tuberville said. "On the opening play of the game we ran a new play where we cracked from the outside and sealed everything off when Carnell (Carnell Williams) broke the line of scrimmage. It was pretty well designed play that we executed. The players did an excellent job of that.

"We've been right on the edge all year long," he added. "We were hoping this was going to be one where things were going to go our way for a while. We've grown up. This team hasn't quit. They've practiced and played hard all year long. We've been running the same things trying to make it happen and last night it just sort of clicked for us."

Things are up in the air for Auburn as far as the postseason goes with many different options available depending on how the rest of the season plays out. Much of the talk has been about the Music City Bowl in Nashville and that is still the best bet, but there is also a chance that the Peach Bowl or even the Outback Bowl could want the Tigers. If the SEC gets two invitations into the BCS, which is likely at this point, that would move everyone up one notch in the bowl hierarchy in the league. In that scenario the Tigers could wind up anywhere dependent on what the bowls feel like are their best match-ups.

Because Florida played in the Outback Bowl last season that could mean they want someone different this season, possibly opening the door for the Tigers to head to Tampa, Fla. That scenario would put Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl, Florida in the Peach Bowl, Arkansas in the Music City Bowl and the loser of the SEC Championship game in the Citrus Bowl. All that is left now is to wait and see what happens in the coming weeks as the wacky 2003 regular season comes to a close.

The Tigers head into the holidays with several banged-up players hoping to get well and get back to bowl practice after Thanksgiving. The most serious appears to be defensive lineman Tommy Jackson, who has been bothered by a knee injury that may require surgery after the season. Saturday night both Brandon Johnson (ankle) and Justin Fetsko (knee) left the game in injuries, but Tuberville said that both should be ready for the bowl game. The same is true of wide receiver Anthony Mix after he sat out of the Alabama game because of a sprained ankle.


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