Al Borges Has Always Been An Auburn Tiger
Al Borges celebrates with Will Muschamp after beating Florida in 2007. (photo:Robin Conn/al.com)
“I loved living in Alabama, and I wouldn’t mind living in Alabama again,” said former Auburn assistant Al Borges in 2015. News came last week that the former coach got his wish. Gus Malzahn offered the one-time offensive coordinator an analyst position, and it didn’t take Borges long to accept.
Known for shepherding the 2004 team to an undefeated season, Borges’ offense was 41–9 in four seasons at Auburn, but more importantly he was 4–0 against the Tigers’ biggest rival. I never understood why Coach Tommy Tuberville decided to replace him with Tony Franklin just days after winning the 2007 Iron Bowl.
Perhaps Tuberville thought he had to change things up after Bama hired Nick Saban, or perhaps he was responding to growing fan criticism of Auburn’s offense. At any rate, it was a move that Tubby probably wished he could have had a do over on.
Even though some fans did begin to question Borges’ ability, it never soured Al on Auburn. “Because I’m an offensive coordinator, there’s always times [fans] are not going to like me, but they were always respectful and good to me. I always had just a great feeling about Auburn football and Auburn people.”
In short, he became an Auburn Tiger. It’s something that we’ve seen before. People come to Auburn, and they fall in love with it and are changed forever. He and his wife Nikki (a former AU associate AD) say it’s the best place they have ever lived.
Al said, “Some of my favorite memories are beating Alabama. That’s probably the greatest deal. My four years there we were fortunate to win every year—I’ve been part of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry for three years. I’ve been in the big ones now. UCLA–USC, Michigan–Ohio State, Auburn–Alabama—but that one [the Iron Bowl] is special.”
Even after leaving the Plains, Al still talked like an Auburn Tiger. “My four years coaching there, I wouldn’t trade anything for it. What made my job so good really to me was the Auburn fans. The Auburn fans were awesome.”
Borges will be helping new OC Chip Lindsey with quarterbacks. It may seem strange that Lindsey would welcome such a move, since that’s an area that is supposed to be his expertise.
But then again, Borges in one year took a struggling quarterback and turned him into a first-round draft pick as Jason Campbell was drafted by the Washington Redskins. And of course, there were those other first rounders, Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. Oh to have that kind of backfield again. With the brain trust of Malzahn, Lindsey, and Borges … maybe this could be the year.
I’ve always thought fondly of Borges. He has a place in Auburn history because of the 2004 Perfect Season. And it’s good to have him back where he belongs. After all, he’s always been an Auburn Tiger.
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