Tigers Not Playing The Blame Game

Tiger defenders Antonio Coleman, Chris Evans and Josh Bynes talk about coach Tommy Tuberville.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Following Auburn's 36-0 loss to rival Alabama Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Auburn's Tommy Tuberville addressed the media and took all the blame for the loss and the 5-7 season. Taking the heat off his assistant coaches and players, Tuberville notes that it was his decision to bring in Tony Franklin and change the offense that sent the program into a tailspin this season.

His players aren't buying it though. Tuberville told the team the same thing in the locker room following the loss. A player that has been through some very good times in his five seasons at Auburn, senior Chris Evans says while he doesn't agree he expected nothing less from his head coach.

"Coach Tuberville, being the man he is, he put the blame on his shoulders," Evans says. "Us seniors have to take part of the blame ourselves and the rest of the team has to take part of that blame. Coach Tub, being the man he is, put the blame on his shoulders.

"That means a lot," he adds. "This is a big game. You've got a lot of people pulling for Auburn in the state. For him to put all the blame on his shoulders means a lot."

Junior Antonio Coleman was even more forthright in his defending of Tuberville. Saying it's crazy to even hear people questioning his job status, Coleman says there's plenty of blame to go around as Auburn puts the finishing touches on a disappointing season.

"I can't believe it because it's not his fault," Coleman says. "You can get anybody up here and ask me that and I'll stand on the side of Coach Tub and tell them it's not his fault. They can call the plays and you can coach, but we've got to get out there and play. It's not his fault. I feel like it's my fault. Every time we lose a game that's how tough I take it because that's how much I love it."

In a game where the Tigers lost by the biggest margin since losing 56-10 to the Florida Gators in 1996, Auburn was outgained 383-167 and turned the ball over two costly times to break open a close game in the third quarter. Sophomore Josh Bynes says those are things that coaching can only take so far before players take over.

"He can't take that as a coach," Bynes says. "He's not out there playing. We're the ones out there playing. We were in tough situations, but as far as I'm concerned we're the ones out there playing. They're not out there playing. The only thing they can do is coach us, but as players we have to go out there and play."

Where do the Tigers go from here? The first thing is hiring an offensive coordinator along with making some possible staff changes on that side of the ball. While there is talk questioning even Tuberville's status for next season, Coleman says right now he has no doubt in his mind who will be on the sidelines for Auburn in 2009.

"I'm shocked," Coleman answers about Tuberville‘s status. "It's a business because they got rid of Phillip Fulmer, but there is no doubt in my mind that he'll be back next year. I'm not too much worried about that."

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