Auburn loss raises questions about Tuberville's future

November, 29, 2008
11/29/08
10:48
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

 
 John Reed/US Presswire
 The loss left Tommy Tuberville and Auburn shut out of a bowl game for the first time in nine years.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The disaster that was Auburn's football season this year was Tommy Tuberville's fault.

That comes straight from Tuberville's mouth Saturday following the biggest flop in a series of flops for the Tigers this season. This one was magnified even more, though.

This was Alabama, and 36-0 beatings at the hands of the Crimson Tide have a way of making life even more tenuous for the head football coach at Auburn, the same coach who's been under fire ever since his experiment with Tony Franklin and the spread offense blew up in his face.

Will Tuberville be back next season?

He says so, and his athletic director at Auburn, Jay Jacobs, is saying all the right things, too.

Still, there's a sense of uneasiness on the Plains, and senior center Jason Bosley said it's "ridiculous" that Tuberville's job security is even an issue, and he didn't stop there in an emotional Auburn interview room.

Bosley said those individuals who are trying to run Tuberville out of town after one bad year aren't true Auburn fans.

"I don't know where it comes from," Bosley said. "When you face adversity, the cream rises to the top and so do the turds. That's the way it is. People start pointing fingers, and it's easy to point fingers at the head coach. But it shouldn't even be a topic of discussion, in my opinion."

Bosley pointed out that the last time there was an attempted coup against Tuberville that he came back and went unbeaten the next season and won the SEC championship. That was 2004 following the secret trip by Auburn officials to meet with Bobby Petrino on prominent booster Bobby Lowder's private jet.

"That's just college football today," Bosley said. "You have one bad year, and everybody wants to fire the coach. People don't understand that you don't do that. You don't get rid of somebody who's done what he's done. It's ridiculous to even have that conversation.

"I don't know who it's coming from, our fans, boosters, whoever. I don't think true Auburn people feel that way. I think true Auburn people love Coach Tub and are going to stand by him. They're not Auburn people if they're behind those kind of things and saying those kind of things."

Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman admitted that he was shocked to hear that Tuberville's job could be in jeopardy, but added, "You never know. This is one big business. They got rid of Phillip Fulmer. But there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be back next year."

Tuberville said he's certainly committed to being back for his 11th season and getting Auburn back to competing for SEC championships.

He's supposed to meet with Jacobs next week and has already started the search for his new offensive coordinator. Tuberville acknowledged that he would also take a long look at his staff.

He repeated several times Saturday that he put his coaches in a terrible situation this season by trying to go to the spread.

"I have total confidence that we can get this thing turned around," Tuberville said. "It was my fault that we got it this way in terms of the offense."

Tuberville said his offensive assistants will take a lot of hits, but added, "The buck stops with me. I'm the one that put them in that situation."

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