Tuberville: Goal to Improve AU Program

Comments from Auburn's head football coach are featured as well as news on Tuberville's talks with AU officials.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tommy Tuberville made his first public comment on his talks with athletic director Jay Jacobs and president Jay Gogue and said his meetings with the AU officials are for the "betterment of Auburn."

Speaking to Auburn Network play by play man Rod Bramblett on Thursday for an interview that was tape-delayed to run on the network's Tiger Talk radio show, Tuberville said, "There always seems to be a sense of urgency outside in the public eye about contracts. Contracts take forever. What you want to try to do is sit down and agree on some individual things. Most of this is about assistant coaches and obviously things in the program I think need to be looked at very hard for us to continue to win, and also for us to continue to get better.

"That is the reason I talked with Dr. Gogue and Jay Jacobs. What we have done, and what we will continue to do for about another week, is kind of sit down to look at the best circumstances for this team and program. There are a lot of variables there that you have to look at again.

"I have a contract, but when you redo it obviously it is for a few years so you just don't jump in and say, ‘That's fine, that's fine.' I want everybody, not just our administration but also our fans, to understand we are at a point and if we are going to get to another point we can't keep on as is. You have got to make changes...facilities. You have got to have a plan. A plan has to be intact.

"Of course, I have been here nine years and I think I would be pretty experienced on what I feel, and what our staff feels like, needs to happen for us to go to another level and get back to Atlanta and win in Atlanta. If there is anything out there physical we that we can do to make sure that happens, we need to do that so we are not going to run and jump through this.

"I am not looking to go anywhere," the Auburn coach said. "I am looking to make sure people understand what we need to do to get better. This program needs to take some steps in some areas to improve and some need to be talked about with our president, who is a great guy, and we had a great visit, and also Jay Jacobs, our athletic director."

Commenting on the interest and speculation the talks have generated, the coach said, "I read a little bit. I don't read too many newspapers or listen to talk shows. I read a little about this job and that job. I am worried about this one. We are going to take our time. We are going to look to do the best we possibly can for the program and whatever happens will happen.

"I saw some things that it is about money," he added. "It is not about money. It is about making sure we get this thing right for everybody because programs are there to get better, but they can also get worse and we do not want to take that avenue because we have a lot of competition in this league. We want to look at everything, evaluate everything. I have done that. I feel like I know what we need to do to take steps farther and now the next few weeks what I will do is I will try to get that over to the people that are in charge and see what they feel about it and we'll go from there."

Tuberville, who flew to Arkansas on Thursday for a long scheduled hunting trip, is scheduled to return to Auburn on Friday before hitting the road with his assistant coaches to scout football prospects on Friday. After that he is scheduled to travel to New York City to the National Football Foundation events.

"People don't need to panic or anything," Tuberville said." This is for the betterment of Auburn. Obviously, I always look out for my family, which is my coaches and their families. I am in charge of over 100 people. I want to make sure everybody is happy, healthy, but also has a chance to have success. We have had great success in nine years and we want the success to improve in the next nine years and I think everybody wants that."

On Thursday evening, an Arkansas television station reported that Tuberville would be signed by the University of Arkansas as its next head coach. However, multiple university sources told Inside the Auburn Tigers that report is not accurate.

On Friday, Jacobs sent Tuberville a proposed new contract that will extend his current deal, which runs through the 2011 season, for two additional years through the 2013 season. The package would continue his annual raise of $200,000 per year, which would make the deal worth $2.8 million per year in 2008 and $3.8 million in the final year of the contract.

Tuberville is expected to continue talks with AU officials next week in New York City where he will be attending the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame's annual award ceremonies. Jacobs will be there along with Gogue.

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