|Tony Franklin leaves Auburn|
Only in the south does this video land on the front page of a major newspaper. (Birmingham News)
With Al Borges lasting four seasons on the Plains, Auburn definitely had some ground to make up to get back to their impressive "one season per offensive coordinator" policy that carried them throughout the early part of the 2000s. They took a step back to those old ways with today's firing of Tony Franklin, the much ballyhooed coordinator Auburn brought in to implement a version of the fadtastic spread offense that is sweeping the nation.
As Rich Rodriguez and Michigan are currently demonstrating, there are going to be growing pains anytime you try and bring a new scheme to a team that does not have the personnel to fit said scheme. Did Tuberville not see this coming? What do you expect when you go from a grind-it-out, run-it-up-yo-gut offense to the Hal Mumme special? By firing Franklin just six games into his tenure, you have essentially conceded that you made an enormous mistake by hiring the guy in the first place, and that at least half of your 2008 season has been a waste.
In my worthless opinion, Franklin could have been given the benefit of the doubt and at least given a season or two more to prove his system. Let him get some of his own players in there (hopefully more talented than Chris Todd) and give him a chance to run the offense that he sold you on when you hired him. I mean, you don't hand someone the keys to a Chevy Cobalt and expect them to be driving a Cadillac in a few months. Major scheme adjustments take time, and most knowledgeable football fans realize this. A very scientific poll on the Auburn blog Track Em Tigers shows that 62% of Auburn fans think Franklin's firing was either too early or completely unwarranted. If they were willing to wait it out and live with the decision that the CEO of the program made when he hired Franklin, why wasn't the CEO, Tuberville, himself?
So where does Auburn go from here? Do they completely ditch the spread and let Brad Lester and Ben Tate carry the load from here on out? Do they try and run a more balanced attack utilizing some of what is in this season's playbook? Only time will tell, and the Tigers have the light part of their schedule coming up to work this mess out, but I can't help but think that the hysteria over Nick Saban and Alabama's ascension in the rankings (both real and recruiting) played into this FIX IT NOW attitude that Auburn showed today.