Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just Plain tight?

AUBURN -- Maybe things aren't tight in Auburn right now. Maybe Auburn's assistant coaches are simply getting a media vacation.
For those used to reading and hearing comments from Auburn's assistant coaches, get ready for deprivation. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has made his assistants off limits to media until after the Alabama game.
This after Auburn lost 45-20 at Georgia on Saturday. The Tigers do not have a game this week before playing rival Alabama on Nov. 24.
One gets the sense there were tense staff meetings after the Georgia game. Tuberville all but called defensive coordinator Will Muschamp out in the postgame news conference, saying Auburn's defenders were "out of position" and "confused." Tuberville wasn't much kinder to the offense, which turned in a season-low 216 yards.
One thing is certain; Tuberville's media blackout on assistants marks the greatest access restriction of his ninth and most restrictive season at Auburn. It started with denial of access to injured players or players under discipline.
Reporters were not allowed to talk to running back Brad Lester until after the Vanderbilt game, his first game off suspension. His imminent return to action was announced the week before the Vandy game.
Wide receiver Terrell Zachery, the Wadley product who is in what Tuberville termed the coach's "doghouse," has also been kept away from media. The Star has made numerous interview requests, all denied.
Sources close to the Zachery situation have said the redshirt freshman is academically ineligible this season because of a shortage of credit hours. They say he is on schedule to rejoin the team in spring.
Restrictions have also tightened around players and coaches in contoversy. Offenisve linemen Chaz Ramsey and Lee Ziemba were off limits the week following the LSU game, in which they were involved in a controversial chop block on LSU's Glenn Dorsey. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall was also unavailable that week.
It's been tough getting answers this season, and it's been weird around here. Media covering Auburn are used to liberal access policies. I've never encountered or heard of another school as coorperative as Auburn had been until this season.
The tightening of things this season makes one wonder what kind of tensions lie behind the scenes.

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