"That Extra Edge"

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says he believes new offensive coordinator Bob Petrino will give the Tigers just what they need to take a step forward in the race for supremacy in the Southeastern Conference.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says he has followed the career of new offensive coordinator Bob Petrino for many years. No wonder the former Jacksonville Jaguars coordinator was so high on his list. With a history of producing big numbers on the collegiate level, Petrino is back coaching the game he loves and Tuberville is happy about that.

"It's an exciting day for me," Tuberville notes. "I've watched Bobby Petrino over the last several years develop a lot of good quarterbacks, great quarterbacks. He's been very successful wherever he's been. He's a solid technique coach that knows what he's doing, not only throwing the ball but running the football. That's what is very important to us. We want to be very balanced. We want to get back to being able to control the line of scrimmage. I think he'll help us do that."

Many times coaches are hired because of past relationships and this hiring is no different. Coaching at Miami in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tuberville developed many relationships with coaches around the country because of the Hurricanes' success during that span. Every spring and summer coaches would come to Coral Gables to seek input on their offensive and defensive schemes and that's where Tuberville first met Petrino. In addition to Tuberville, Petrino has also coached with a member of Auburn's defensive staff in the past.

"I first met Tommy a long time ago when he was at the University of Miami and I was coaching at the University of Idaho with John L. Smith," Petrino says. "We used to fly down to Miami and visit them every spring because Dennis Erickson and John L. went way back. I've known him and followed him since those days. I've also worked and coached with Don Dunn, who was the defensive line coach when I was at Nevada-Reno."

With the man in place that he wanted all along, Tuberville can turn his attention to filling the vacant defensive coordinator position. While that is going on in San Antonio, Petrino will be busy moving into his new office in Auburn's Athletic Complex preparing for an all-important recruiting meeting Thursday morning. Just four days away from the first big visit weekend of the year, Tuberville says he's happy that Petrino is in place and he's looking for big things down the road out of the program with his help.

"It's great to have him aboard and we're looking forward to his input on what we can do to get back to winning conference championships and possibly a national championship in the future," Tuberville adds. "I think he's going to give us that extra edge. It's fun to have him as part of the staff and we're looking forward to him being a part of the staff for a long time."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Now that the offensive coordinator spot has been filled, the only question that remains is who will get the defensive job. While former Vanderbilt coach Woody Widenhofer remains the hot name and was interviewed over the weekend by Tuberville in Auburn, more names continue to surface as possible candidates that are being added to a growing list of coaches interested in the job. Among the hottest of those candidates is current Denver Broncos secondary coach David Gibbs, who has ties to Auburn after graduating high school on the Plains when his father Alex Gibbs coached the offensive line under Doug Barfield. Other names to watch for are current Southern Miss coordinator Tyrone Nix, Central Florida's Gene Chizik, Pittsburgh's Paul Rhoads, Arkansas secondary coach Dave Wommack and Oklahoma co-coordinator Brent Venables. The position is expected to be filled before this weekend's visits begin Friday afternoon.

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