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