Tuberville Says Borges "Had It All"

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the interview process and what made Al Borges the best fit for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tommy Tuberville said the hiring process for a new offensive coordinator took almost a month and he feels like he got the right man for the job in Al Borges. After talking with coaches from around the country and getting positive feedback on the position, Tuberville narrowed his list down to Borges, Toledo's Rob Spence, Miami (Ohio)'s Shane Montgomery and Buddy Geis from Georgia Tech. While many things went into his final decision, Tuberville said that in the end he felt like Borges was more of what they were looking for to lead the Tigers into the 2004 season.

"Each guy was brought in for six or seven hours of film watching," Tuberville said of the on-campus interviews. "Half of it was spent watching their film and we turned around and watched our cut-ups and evaluated our cut-ups several times, which helped us. We wanted to show them what we were doing and get their suggestions on what they would have done here. Their playing man coverage on this play, what would you have done? Would you have changed the play or try to get in another formation? Would you use motion? So, you learn a lot.

"Any one of these guys that we brought in I felt comfortable with. When it all gets down to it the guy that fits in the most with what you're doing and gives you enough change to make you better, several coaches we were going to have to make major changes with. One coach was basically all no-huddle and 70 percent shotgun. In this league I don't think you can survive by doing that. I think when you're in a passing situation the shotgun is probably the best thing, but if you're running the football and have a chance to run play-action then you better put the quarterback under the center.

"Al had it all. He was more like we were running-game than any of them and the passing game probably fit what we needed in the way of attacking the LSU's and the Georgia's. You have to keep that in mind too of who you're playing. You're bringing a guy in and you're playing somebody, is this going to work against this team? Does this have a chance or is this working for them because they're much better than the other team? Obviously some guys came in from the MAC. The speed of the game is a little bit different. I'm not saying they don't play good football, but it's a little bit different because of depth and speed. All of them had some good ideas.

New Auburn Coach Al Borges busy watching film in his new office on Monday.

Despite the final choice, Tuberville said he was prepared to search for three or four days until Borges came through for his interview. Recommended by Auburn Strength and Conditioning Coach Kevin Yoxall, Borges worked with Yoxall while both were at UCLA in the late 1990s. Tuberville said Yoxall convinced him to bring Borges in to see what he had to say and the rest is history.

A defensive coach by nature, Tuberville said the coaching staff got a chance to work with and listen to three very qualified candidates for the job during the process of hiring an offensive coordinator. Although he could only hire one person for the position Tuberville said that they learned something from every candidate and will take away some new ideas from each for possible use down the road.

"We put all of them through it," Tuberville said, "most of them for seven or eight hours. We watched film and one thing we wanted to do was find out their philosophy and their beliefs. You watch film from places that they have been and let them explain it to all of our coaches. We talk about techniques and fundamentals, not just about x's and o's, but how to block and stances. An offensive coordinator is like a defensive coordinator, you have to know every position.

"I drilled them on protections, how to run routes. The great thing about this is that you learn a lot. You are learning another offense from somebody else and we picked up several things we'll think about running with our offense and different techniques. Somewhere after all the x's and o's we talked about recruiting, because they still have to be able to recruit. The offensive and defensive coordinator have the second choice on who they take. I'm the last one and they are the second-to-last. If it doesn't make it past them it doesn't get to me because if they don't think a guy can play for them then there is no reason to bring it and let me look at it. It was a pretty thorough process."

The deciding factor in the process may well have been watching films of Auburn's games from last season. To get to the position of being a coordinator on the major college level there is no question that you have to know football from an x's and o's standpoint, but gameday situations are the most important aspect of a coordinator's job on Saturday's and Tuberville said that is where Borges stood out the most.

"You don't want to bring a guy in that doesn't have an answer for what we already have problems with," Tuberville said. "You want to have some kind of thought process. That was for me. When we got the film of us I wanted to know how they would make adjustments. The other was for the other coaches, the type of offense that we would put in. I'm looking for a teacher and a thinker that can out-think the guy over there calling defenses and can make adjustments. What we do is get a game film and go through a half and chart plays as he would see and let him make suggestions on what he would have done on that down and distance. When we got to halftime I asked what adjustments would you make based on what you saw?

"That's what I was really impressed with by Al. He had a lot of good suggestions that would have made us better. Obviously it's a lot easier when you look at it and run it back four or five times. It's not like watching a game where you only see it and don't have film to look back on, but he had some good answers and good scenarios. He had comparisons when he was at Oregon and UCLA and said ‘this is what we did when he faced this type of coverage'. It was very impressive to see how it fit in with what we do."

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