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Tommy Tuberville Says He Knows What Auburn Needs to Right the Ship

By on November 13th, 2018 in Football 30 Comments »

Tommy Tuberville has some advice for Gus Malzahn (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

As an old sailor, I know from experience what it feels like to be in a ship that is taking on water and listing in heavy seas. I can attest from experience that it’s a scary feeling. The natural reaction is panic. But if you have a calm and experienced captain he will know what to do to right the ship.

The Auburn football team began well, sailing off in September with an opening win over Pac-12 power, Washington. However, the Tigers’ football season is now listing hard to starboard after the Tigers suffered another loss to their oldest rival Saturday.

From lofty preseason playoff hopes to staring at possible .500 ball, the situation has brought great angst among many in the Tigers’ fan base. There has been no shortage of articles and opinions offered on Auburn web sites as to what needs to be done to right the ship.

While there are several things that stand out, probably the most glaring difference in this year and previous seasons has been an inability to establish a consistent running game.

On Jay Coulter’s article this week, TET member Col. Angus probably best summed up the situation: “As much as I want to wring my hands and bemoan the state of things, when I look at things objectively, I can only point to the play of the offensive line as the main culprit to this disappointing season. Injuries and lack of quality depth, especially at center, have been the death knell of this team and why we can’t run the ball.”

The Colonel’s supposition was given credence on Monday by Tommy Tuberville , who penned an exposé in The Athletic about what he thinks the problem has been and what Gus Malzahn needs to do to return the program to being a contender in 2019.

The former Auburn coach said the O- line’s problems permeate every aspect of the Tigers’ struggles, including the defense. Of course, when your offense is inept, the defense gets worn down as the game progresses. That was certainly evident Saturday in Athens.

Many think Malzahn’s offense needs a running quarterback to be successful. However, Tubs doesn’t agree. And that point could certainly be supported by last year’s team that averaged 40 points with Jarrett Stidham playing behind an experienced line.

Tuberville listed three definite things Gus should do to turn it around in 2019. You can read the entire article here. (This is a subscription site.) However, the main thing Tubby said is this year’s O-line needs to get healthy and receive more development by J.B. Grimes in the off season along with recruiting some top linemen to challenge for playing time.

“This recruiting class, especially on the offensive line, will be a major turning point for Malzahn and his coaching staff,” said Tuberville. “Bringing him back for another season is a smart move in that area because Auburn can’t afford to lose a class … if [Auburn] lost a recruiting class, I think it would have a devastating impact on the next four years.”

The old Tiger coach may have raised a few eyebrows by saying that AD Allen Greene did the right thing in announcing Gus’ job was secure. However, if Auburn is to have a chance at recruiting some top O-line talent, to bolster the front five, it was the only thing Greene could do.

I don’t know if the problem can be fixed that simply, but one of the most successful Auburn coaches in the past 25 years appears to think so.

I hope he’s right.


  1. Good article ATM. Too bad Tommy is not the captain of the ship.

    • I was hoping he would have at least gotten the AD job last fall.

  2. AUjason says:

    I respect Tubs but I don’t agree with him here. These guys have been in the program long enough they should be better than what we’ve seen this year. Could it be Coaching???

  3. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Tubbs last words after losing the Iron Bowl 36-0 in 2008; “they were out for blood”.
    Soo, I suppose we were out for candy and pie!
    Nah. Tubbs should shut up!
    Je me souvien; I myself remember.

    • WDEGirl says:

      Tubbs is the guy who held Auburn hostage every January by taking the BBQ Boys duck hunting instead of recruiting. Tubbs is also the guy who said “I can take 2 & 3 Stars and make them into 4 & 5 Stars”, except that he couldn’t.

      Tubbs should retire quietly, or at a minimum, quit butting into AU Football. Go give Texas Tech or Cincinnati some advice…..oh but you can’t, because neither of those fan bases, players, communities respects him or how he left their programs.

      And actually I’m kind of done with anybody from Arkansas (Gus included) having anything to do with Auburn and AU Football.

    • ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

      I agree but sounds like something from Quebec… 🙂

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Thank you Captain Obvious (@ TT). Like we didn’t know the problems at this point in the season. And the offensive line isn’t the only thing wrong. Auburn doesn’t have an SEC caliber running back. At all. Boobie ain’t the guy. Sorry.

    This just didn’t happen. It’s recruiting or lack there of. It’s a failure to plan.

    The question now is will Malzahn get it fixed?


    • AubieCE AubieCE says:

      Whitlow could be the guy, but has been a RB for 2 years, 1 being a redshirt year.
      He was a QB in High School and still learning to be a RB.
      Another year in the weight room, and spring ball, he could the the guy.
      The problem with AU RB, is there is not a bell cow RB on the roster.
      Not sure what the problem is with Asa Martin, but there must be something, he should have got playing time at some point.
      Need 2 SEC Caliber RBs, dings are going to happen, it has been a while since an AU
      RB played every game.
      From my view the “O” Line is the key, can Coach Grimes make them viable?

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Hey '88 good to hear from you again. You've been missed around here!

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Tuberville is correct that it was good for someone in charge to come out and say, one way or another, that Malzahn would be back. There were at least 3 instances where Tommy was left twisting in the wind by the administration. He ought to know!

  6. I didn’t know you were in the Navy ATM. A listing ship taking on water in heavy seas is a good analogy for where the Auburn program is at right now. But the onus is on Gus to bring it back up and quickly before it takes on so much water it sinks.

    To use another analogy. He’s already had his mulligan and he has to finish near the top of the leader board next season or we’ll be talking about a new captain this time next year. Got to say I’m pulling for him, but we’ll see.

    • easyedwin easyedwin says:

      Uhm…said ship is listing to PORT. Not starboard!
      Store Keeper ; 3rd Class.

      • uglyjoe says:

        If that pointy thing on the right is the bow, it’s definitely listing starboard

        • AUglenn says:

          I’ve never been in the Navy but it looks like it’s leaning right to me too.

      • AUglenn says:

        As we just observed Veteran's day … thank you easyedwin for your service and you too ATM.

      • AUglenn says:

        ATM, if you don’t mind me asking, where did you experience a ship listing?

        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          Date myself here: Off the coast of North Carolina in the late 60's.

          And thanks for the kind words. Serving in the military has always been part of my family since my ancestors came to this land.

      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        Machinist Mate: 3rd class.

  7. zotus zotus says:

    “Tommy Tuberville Knows What Auburn Needs to Right the Ship”

    Yeah, that’s the ticket!!!

    As I recall, ol’ Tubs ran his “Ox into the Ditch” at least 3 or 4 times back when he was the man in the corner office — and we didn’t hear squat from ol’ Tubs about, “What Auburn Needs to Right the Ship.”

    We heard nothing outta ol’ Tubs then, did we? Not squat. Not a hello or a goodbye!

    And, when Tubs was supposed to be talking to the “2&3 Stars” that Tubs would turn into those “4&5 Stars” — Tubs was nowhere near a player Auburn was trying to recruit. Back then, Tubs would announce to the press, through his agent Jimmy Sexton, that: “The Auburn head coach is duck-hunting in Arkansas … but, there is no truth to the rumor that the Auburn head coach has accepted the job to be the next Razorback head coach.”

    Uh-oh, time to renegotiate another contract extension. Ka-ching !!

    Classic Tuberville. Classic Catfish Jesus. That’s the kind of moves ol’ Tubs made when he was in charge. That was Tubs being Tubs. Lots of laughs being around ol’ Catfish Jesus and his PR agent.

    But, you got to hand it to the ol’ Catfish though, he knows how to get outta Dodge when he decides the time is right for ol’ Tubs.

    Sometimes it’s in a pine-box.

    Sometimes it’s when a Miami Dolphins coach comes back to the SEC West and has ol’ Tubs squarely in his cross-hairs.

    But, every time it’s with more money than most folks see in 4 or 5 lifetimes.

    Yeah, ol’ Tubs knows when to get outta Dodge.

    Too bad ol’ Tubs won’t stay outta Dodge. Too bad he won’t stay outta other people’s business. Surely Tubs learned that in West Texas.

    Nobody’s laughing now, Tubs, way past time for you to get off the stage.

    • ABQA says:

      ZOTUS – Thank You for thoroughly outing tupperware ie….wingnuts.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Those “Duck hunting” trips where Tuberville could never be reached for comment used to drive me crazy.

  8. zotus zotus says:

    … and, speaking of “Wastin’ Away Again in Tommy Tuberville” — here’s a view from the other side of the pine-box:

    click here:

  9. auburnelvis says:

    Let's be honest. Gus and his agent "Catfished" Auburn. The problems are MUCH more than a bad offensive line…. Offensive coordinator carousel with who's calling the plays sound familiar, typical Malzahn off season stench.

    Looking on the open market for yet another QB! Bowl games…omg bowl games….. what a dismal record. Half time adjustments….what half time adjustments?

    It will be the same song and dance next year with something else as the escape goat. Offensive consistency is needed. Even when Auburn was losing after scoring fifty there was excitement/cheering, much easier to take than the one or two score games that seems the norm.

  10. AUinRoswell says:

    Coach Tubberville is right in the fact that the O-line has not lived up to standards.
    All the 3 and outs we have had this year. The inability to really run a NASCAR offense.

    Now the O-Lines problems could be lack of depth or could be the coaching. I feel the entire offensive coaching this year has been lackluster. The offense has not been able to adjust to the changing defenses. This is why we have little offense in the 2nd half of most games.

    I personally think the blame lies at the feet of the Officeve Coordinator. I don’t think he is that good. And cetainly is not good at adjustments.

    Chip Lindsey and his staff either make adjustments that go right into the teeth of the other teams defense or they are not making adjustments at all. The half time adjustments have not been there this year. Not sure why but it appears the offensive staff has hit a ceiling in its ability.

    The lack of offense has led to breakdowns in our defense. The defense at times seems out of sorts. I attribute this to being left on the field with all the 3 and outs the offense has produced

    Something has got to change in the entire offensive lockerroom. More experience in the O line is always helpful, but is only one of the problems that must be solved.

    Go find an SEC expereinced Offensive Coordinator. Not the guy we have whose background is ACC and PAC12.


  11. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Way to go AubTigerman. My father was Machinist Mate ; 1st class at Pearl and Aluetion Islands Alaska. Japs bombed one of the islands, Atuk, maybe. Pissed dad off.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      That's great Ed that your Dad was part of the Greatest Generation and was at Pearl Harbor. I have a friend who's father was there during the attack. My Dad retired from the Army with 21 years service.

      He fought in the South Pacific during World War II and then earned a bar for service in the European theater. Daddy never talked about the war but I vividly remember him having bad dreams, where he would talk in his sleep, sometimes raising his voice, and often waking up in a cold sweat. We owe so much to that generation and most folks today do not realize the sacrifice they made.

  12. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    Ummmm… was the O-Line not getting dominated every day in practice vs. our Defense leading up to the season??? Gus didn’t seem to think so with what was clearly a puffed chest and high expectations. Gus has failed us all.

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