Tuberville Connected to ASU Program

Tommy Tuberville discusses his history at Arkansas State as well as injuries against Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Even though Saturday's game between Auburn and Arkansas State will be the first meeting in the series between the Tigers and the Indians, it will be a game that brings back old memories for Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

At the age of 25, Tuberville got his first job in the college ranks at Arkansas State after spending four seasons at Hermitage (Ark.) High School.

"I can remember it like it was yesterday driving to Jonesboro to talk with Larry Lacewell about taking a job there and getting my first start in college football," Tuberville says. "I was a volunteer--I wasn't even a graduate assistant. That's how low on the pole I was. Coach Lacewell and his staff treated me well and I worked my way up from a volunteer to a defensive end coach."

After coaching at Arkansas State for five seasons, Tuberville moved on to other assistant jobs at the University of Miami and Texas A&M. Known as one of the top defensive minds and assistants in the country before becoming head coach at Ole Miss in 1995, Tuberville says that it was Lacewell and his staff that taught him the basics of coaching defense.

"He was a defensive guy and that's how I got started on defense," Tuberville explains. "He put me on the defensive side and I'll never forget the first day he told me, he said, ‘Listen, I want you to learn every position. You don't have any money and you're not going to have time to do anything else. So you might as well learn as much football as you can.'

"That's what I did," he continues. "I worked with the defensive tackles, defensive ends, linebackers and secondary. He was a frontrunner in technique football on defense. We talked technique and fundamentals."

Now known as one of the top head coaches in the country, Tuberville has 93 wins versus 48 losses during his time at Ole Miss and Auburn.

However, his first head coaching job was nearly as the head man in Jonesboro in 1993.

"I talked to the president and athletic director and was offered the job," Tuberville says. "I had it going pretty good at Miami, and I did the right thing and I didn't make an emotional decision. I went back and sat down with my coach at Miami, Dennis Erickson, and we talked about some things.

"We had some good defenses back then and I felt like it was best for me at that time to stay and continue working there because there were a lot of opportunities," he adds. "I really enjoyed living at Miami at that time. It's hard to give up a job where you're winning almost every game every year."

Joe Cope could see action at center this week.

Injury news: quotes from Tuberville

Marquies Gunn: "Sprained his shoulder, but he'll be fine."

Kevin Sears (hamstring): "Should be back this week."

Cole Bennett (ankle): "Today (Sunday) he goes back to jogging, but he will not play this week. Hopefully we'll get him back next week (against Georgia)."

Joe Cope (knee): "I'd like to play him. I think he needs to play. He needs to get out and get banged around and see how his knee is. I don't think we go into the Georgia game or the Alabama game with him not playing any. He's got to get out there and put everything behind him and knock the rust off a bit. Hopefully he'll get some game (action) this week."

Players of the Week versus Ole Miss

Offense: Brandon Cox completed 21-34 for 253 yards, all season highs. He also threw a touchdown and an interception.

Defense: Gunn was credited with three stops and helped the defense keep BenJarvus Green-Ellis to just 44 yards.

Special Teams: John Vaughn hit all three field goal attempts--31, 20 and 29 yards--and is now 17-20 this season.

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