Tuberville Talks Game Situations, Strategy

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville talks about his duties on a game day, what he's looking for out of the offense, and how he'll handle clock management.

Auburn, Ala.--Game days are always different for Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville because every game is different. Whether it's the plan of attack, defense, or maybe some wrinkles on special teams, every week is a new plan for the Tigers.

That doesn't mean the former defensive coordinator goes about each game differently though as when the clock starts he reverts back to his upbringing as a coach. He said it's tough for him to get out of the habit of thinking like a defensive coach once the ball is kicked off.

"When we're on offense I watch the defense," Tuberville said. "I want to see their plan of attack and what they're trying to do. I listen to formations mainly. I do usually know what the play is going to be but I listen to formation to see how they match up mainly. I'm kind of another pair of eyes on the sideline. I give ideas on field position and whether we're going to go for four downs or field goals. We have to be thinking about punt, whether it's right, left or hang middle. We've got different put formations. That's what I watch there.

"Defensively when we're on the field I watch their offense and try to help the defensive guys understand what they're trying to do," he added. "As an old defensive coach I'll try to figure out their best personnel and what they're trying to do and what they're trying to accomplish. These guys know as much as I know. I'm just another set of eyes."

Bringing in offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and his up tempo spread offense has been perhaps the biggest change during Tuberville's career as a head coach. While he's had many different coordinators going into his 10th season at Auburn, 10 to be exact, nothing has been as dramatic as the move to Franklin.

A coach that has leaned on the running game, playing strong defense, a healthy kicking game, and controlling the clock, Tuberville's offense is now about running plays at a rapid pace and scoring points. He said while there's a big difference in what they're doing, they've got to be careful not to go overboard and leave the defense out to dry.

"You've still got to manage the clock no matter what tempo you're going to run," Tuberville said. "I didn't know a whole lot going into this game. I was just like a regular spectator in terms of how fast this offense goes. We'll learn a lot as we go through the year. If we get a lead at some point in time you're going to have to run some time off the clock to let the defense understand you're trying to help them. You can't go out there and run three plays in 45 seconds every time you go out there."

Last season Franklin's offense at Troy was one of the best in the country in terms of total yardage and averaged over 90 plays per game. While that's a number Tuberville said they may reach at times, he noted sometimes it depends on who you're playing and the success you have on offense.

"If you're playing against a good defense you've probably got a chance to run more plays," Tuberville said. "Playing against people that don't have good defenses is when you move up and down the field pretty good. This is a pretty high-powered offense. You can score. That's the reason we went to this is to try to have more big plays."

Leaving no stone unturned, Tuberville will be his usual detail oriented self leading up to Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff against ULM. With several meetings with the coaching staff planned before then, he said they'll pour over every possible scenario to make sure everyone is on the same page as they kick off the 2008 season.

"We'll go through every game situation," Tuberville said. "We'll go through everything we're going to do all the way from pregame and Tiger Walk until the end of the game for the umpteenth time. I'll kind of let them know my philosophy and how we're going to handle this game. Each game you handle different. This game we've got a pretty good idea how we're going to handle it in terms of clock management."

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