Tuberville: "I Made a Mistake"

Comments from Auburn's head football coach are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville took the blame for the struggles with his football team's offense on Thursday night at his weekly Tiger Talk radio show.

On Wednesday, Tuberville fired Tony Franklin as offensive coordinator following Auburn's 4-2 start.

"I made a mistake, I admit that," Tuberville said. "We hired Tony Franklin. It wasn't Tony Franklin's fault. It was my fault and we are going to get it straight.

"Tony is a good person and good guy," Tuberville said. "I don't want anything said bad about him. It was not his fault. It was just a situation that for some reason we struggled. We didn't get it done and it didn't work.

"What else can you say? I made a mistake. He is going to live fine for it, he is going to be good from it. I just hate it for him. It is just a tough situation.

"That's a tough thing to do, especially in the middle of the season," Tuberville said of the firing. "I am not that type of guy, but my first responsibility is Auburn and Auburn University, and the football team. To make a decision like that is tough. I can't shirk that responsibility. That is my responsibility. That is the reason I am the head coach and we will continue to make those tough decisions, if we need to, and hopefully I don't need to."

Tuberville's team is preparing for Saturday's 4 p.m. SEC home game vs. Arkansas following a 14-13 loss at Vanderbilt last Saturday.

"I looked in those kids' eyes and we lost to a team we shouldn't have lost to and we normally don't do that," Tuberville said of the setback at Vandy. "For some reason we just struggled doing this with the new quarterbacks. It just didn't work."

Steve Ensminger, who has been one of the two receivers coaches this season, is taking over as the quarterback coach and play caller. He has been an offensive coordinator at McNeese State, Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M. Ensminger, who began his coaching career at Nicholls State in 1982 after playing briefly in the NFL and CFL, has also been offensive coordinator at Clemson. The former LSU quarterback was also the passing game coordinator at Georgia.

Tuberville again said he was committed to running a version of the spread offense that Franklin was hired last December to install. "I like this offense, I think it is good," he noted. "Obviously, we are going to make some changes to make this better as we go. But again, it is tough on everybody involved."

Auburn will take a 2-2 SEC record into Saturday's game as they look for their fifth win in the last sixth seasons vs. the Razorbacks, who are coached by former Auburn offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino.

Tommy Tuberville

"I am going to put my full attention to the offense and we are going to get better from this day on," Tuberville said. "We are going to play good on Saturday. We have six games left and I don't know if we will win any of them, but I promise you one thing, if you come out and I know a lot of people are mad and all that stuff--heck, I am mad, you know. We are 4-2 and we have lost two games by a total of six points. A lot of people would love to be that way. I am mad that we have lost two games and not gotten better. We haven't gotten better. We are going to put our full attention forward."

The coach said he wasn't going to take any questions on the subject during this show. "It's over, it's done with," he said. "We have done it for the right reasons. We are going to go forward and play Auburn football." Tuberville praised his team's work ethic and told them he wants them to have more fun the second half of the season. He also talked about how he broke the news of the firing to the team. "I told the players, sometimes you have to make tough decisions in life. When they get out of school and have families, you have got to make those decisions. This was mine, and again, I am still hurting from it. We will all get over it and everybody will be better for it."


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