Tuberville Talks About OC Search, Changes

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville discusses his search for an offensive coordinator and what it means for the staff.

Auburn, Ala.--Following Auburn's 36-0 loss to rival Alabama to end a disappointing 5-7 season on the Plains, coach Tommy Tuberville was asked about his future at Auburn and he responded that he felt like he was up for the challenge and was ready to face it head on.

With the problems on offense this season leading to a down year, the annual meeting between Tuberville, Auburn President Jay Gouge and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs should be an interesting one as all sides talk about the future of Auburn football. Tuberville said the meeting should take place sometime this week, but nothing is set in stone.

"No time," Tuberville answered when asked if a specific meeting was scheduled. "Last year I talked with them sometime in the middle of December. I'm sure because of the publicity of all this it will probably be sooner.

"I know there are going to be people asking about my future," he added. "I plan on being here. I think it's an opportunity that coaches look to knowing you can get the job done. We've done it here eight out of 10 years having better than average football seasons and we're going to continue to have that."

The first order of business for Tuberville is to start recruiting as soon as possible. He'll do that beginning this week by visiting several players that have questions after committing to the Tigers. Once that is done he said it will then be time to narrow down his search for an offensive coordinator.

"What I have to do is identify four or five guys, which I'm pretty close to finishing that up. Then I'll start down the line and interview. I don't have any frontrunners or leaders. I want to talk to them and I'll have my leader in terms of who I think can best fit after talking with four or five people.

"I've got several guys in mind. I'll start talking with them and visiting with them because this is obviously huge in terms of getting a guy that is going to be here for a while and understands what we need to do with the type of players we've got here and we can recruit."

When looking for a candidate Tuberville said that he's got several things in mind that he wants to see for potential coordinators.

"They've got to be experienced," Tuberville said. "I'm not into training somebody. We're past that point. We should be able to get somebody to come in here. It's hard to find people that will change jobs and come to another situation. Number one the head coach and coordinators have to be on the same page. They have to feel like they can be successful and given opportunities to run their own program within the program. I allow them to do that. A lot of people have said in the past that I have forced assistants on people. That's never happened. That's been totally up to the guys that come in."

Tuberville said that is something that will continue this time around. Because of the staff still in place and on the recruiting trail, Tuberville said whoever he hires will have the chance to talk to current staff members if he chooses to do so.

"What I want to do is give him the freedom to bring in somebody if he has someone in mind," Tuberville said. "He'll probably want to visit with the ones here on the staff, which I would allow him to do. We've got to have an offensive coordinator that feels comfortable with what he's doing and if he's got somebody he thinks could help put his program in or maybe he's worked with in the past.

"Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't," he added. "I have not been around too many coordinators in the past that had people they wanted to bring. Obviously we've got to do something on offense and we're going to. We're going to get the problem solved and get some consistency. I talked with all of our coaches last night and they understand the situation. They understand this program and what we've got to do. I think all of them have done a good job, but we've got to make sure we get the program going in the right direction in terms of offense."

Tuberville also didn't rule out possible staff changes even if the new coordinator doesn't bring in coaches he wants from his current job or he's worked with before. He said that everyone on the staff will be evaluated in the coming weeks and will sit down with him to talk about their role in the program.

"I have to sit down and talk with all the guys first," Tuberville said. "Right now we're all out recruiting and that's the number one thing, but as we go through this process I'll sit down with each one of them and talk about their futures, what they've done and how they've done it.

"You don't want to get the cart before the horse in terms of offensive coordinators," he added. "What that does is in recruiting it throws you into a jam. You want to keep guys out there recruiting because they are still employed here. We've got good coaches here. They've worked hard and know how to coach. The main thing for them is going to be the situation with our coordinator."

All of the attention is on the offensive side of the ball, but there could be some action on defense as well. There has been talk that coach Paul Rhoads is receiving interest from Utah State as a possible head coach. Tuberville said that's something that is possible down the road, but right now it's only preliminary talk.

"There have been some people call about possible interest," Tuberville said. "Me and Paul are going to sit down and talk next week. He's not from Utah or anything. I think he may have worked for somebody out there. That will be up to him. He really likes it here. He would have to decide on whether he wants to go to that situation."

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