Tuberville Anxious To See Changes In Action

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville talks about the changes on offense and defense heading into the 2008 season.

Auburn, Ala.--The decision to make changes has never been a problem for Tommy Tuberville in his career at Auburn. With five different coordinators both offensively and defensively, Tuberville hasn't been shy about fixing a problem before it's too late. This season marks the biggest changes during the Tuberville era though.

While defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads is cut from the same cloth as Tuberville on that side of the ball, offensively Tony Franklin is from an entirely different line as his no-huddle fast-paced offense is completely different from how Auburn has won games in the past. Tuberville said so far things have gone well with the transition on both sides of the ball.

"It has been good," Tuberville said. "Of course Tony was a little easier because he has been with us and they understand him a little more. Paul has fit in well. First you have to fit in the with the other coaches and there has to be good communication. All along I have known he's been a good teacher. I think the players have looked at it as somebody that can help them get better. Get away from more of the X and O and more to the fundamentals of footwork and angles and all those things. I think it's really going to help us. Both of them have done a good job of fitting in and that's what you have to do when you're new."

Fitting in is something Tuberville said is not only for the coordinators to do but also the coaches already on the staff including himself. Adapting to change is a key to being successful in just about any profession you choose and Tuberville said this season will be about doing just that for the Auburn Tigers.

"I have to change a little bit," Tuberville said. "We sat around and talked about that for several hours over the summer and last month about game management. We're going to spend a lot of next week talking about situations on the sideline, how to handle slow up situations, speed it up. The big deal is that we're playing so many people on offense that substitutions are going to be different.

"We want to make sure we don't get delay of games. I don't think that will be problem but you will get delay of games when you run people out there too late. When you no huddle you've got to give other teams time to sub if you run people in late after you're at the line of scrimmage. It's good. It has kept us on our toes. We've had to go back and check everything we're doing and how we're doing it. I'm sure we'll have some rough spots that first Saturday or two but hopefully it doesn't cost us with penalties or anything."

Known as the ‘Riverboat Gambler' early in his head coaching career both at Ole Miss and Auburn when he took chances with lesser teams to try to gain an edge, in recent seasons Tuberville has gone the other way as he's chosen to run clock and win games instead of taking the risk of trying to score more points and win in a blowout. He said while the option may be there for more blowout victories in Franklin's offense, he's still concerned with the bottom line and that's winning games.

"He's going to run it as much as he throws it," Tuberville said. "The problem is the speed of the game and how you run it. We can slow it down. There's no problem with that. Even though you don't huddle you can still run time off the clock. That's what we've talked about. There's not going to be any problem there. You've got to know when to put your foot on the accelerator and when to put it on the brake. We all know that as coaches, especially when you get in games you feel like you have under control. You don't want to get the steering wheel out of whack."

While Franklin has been a coordinator in the SEC before at Kentucky, it has been almost 10 years ago. Rhoads comes to Auburn from Pittsburgh and the Big East. While both have experience coaching in big games, Tuberville said the changes both have made look good so far but the proof will be in the pudding during the 2008 season.

"We've changed some things on defense but we've kept some the same," Tuberville said. "I've let Paul do some things he thinks will help us get better. We kept it all the same in spring practice and he evaluated the players and took some things that would fit what we do against the people we play to make us better.

"It has been good," he added. "It's always interesting to see different coaches and how they handle situations. Both have done a good job. Do they know what they are getting into yet? I don't know, but they'll find out here in about eight days. I think even us as coaches we're anxious to see how all this stuff will work when a lot of it is new."


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