Sunday, October 5, 2008

Interesting day

As you might imagine, today was a big day for the Auburn beat writers -- less than 24 hours after Auburn's humbling 14-13 loss to Vanderbilt.

Lots and lots of interesting comments. We'll start with Tuberville.
Here are the highlights:

Re Tony Franklin: "He’s the offensive coordinator. And I think Tony’s done a good job of adjusting. I don’t know whether we’ve done a good job of adjusting to what we’ve gone to. But, he’s our offensive coordinator. He’s worked harder than anybody here, and he’s as disappointed as anybody here. And he takes as much of the blame. He probably takes more blame than he should.

"We’ve got to find some answers. He knows he’s the guy who needs to find the answers and he’s looking hard, along with the other coaches. As long as we get the effort, and he continues to get the effort from these players like he is, we’re going to get better and we’re going to win more games.

"There’s no panic. We just got to look ourself in the eye – all of us, not just Tony – and find ways to score more points and win games."

Re Kodi Burns: "I think you'll probably see a lot more of Kodi as we go through the second half. The first half we're kind of finding out what he can do, what Chris Todd can do. The upside on Kodi is huge. He hasn't thrown the ball as well as we've liked but neither has Chris Todd. The quarterback usually they get scrutinized more than others and I scrutinize them more on the ability to run the offense as far as how they execute.
"Both Chris and Kodi have to play better for us down the stretch. We've got to improve at the quarterback position for us to have a chance to win games going through the rest of the year."

Re coaching roles: "Everybody's in the same roles. Nothing's changed and I haven't even talked about it. That's not our problem right now. Our problem right now is figuring out what we can do and what's best for the team. It's not anything in terms of relationships or guys not working together. All that stuff gets started when you lose a game or two but there's none of that.
"These guys are professionals and we're all in it together. Not one guy is running this offense, five of them are. They've all got the same responsibilities and they've all got the same input. Most of that stuff is Internet talk. I'm anxious to see what we can do the next six weeks. We've got to have some positive things happen to us."

Re abandoning Ace formation: "We did go back to it some. We went back to it a few plays. We wanted to come back with a few different things in the second half because they had adjusted and we didn't have a lot out of that formation. When you don't have a lot out of a formation, they pretty much know what you're going to run. That'll steadily get better. That's always been a good formation for us."

Re QBs: "There are some things that I don't think either quarterback has taken advantage of. They haven't improved. There's no doubt about that. They're missing some reads. ... That's what these guys are having to learn as it goes – when to get rid of it. The spread offense is snap, throw. You don't see us snap, throw very often. You see us hold the ball. That's because they're both still a little bit unsure."

Re starting QB: "Both of them are getting pretty much the same amount of reps. ... I don't think there's any doubt, if you look at last night, I don't think you can grade either one of them high for what they did. They didn't throw very well. We made mistakes.
"I can't give you an answer how much either one of them's going to play. I don't think you can say there's a true guy that's going to be the starter. Chris has been that guy and we'll start as we go this week with him being the starter, but by the end of the week it might change, depending on what our gameplan's going to be."

Re injuries: Probable - DT Sen'Derrick Marks (ankle), RB Brad Lester (knee), LB Craig Stevens (turf-toe), LB Tray Blackmon (wrist), OT Jason Bosley (various), DE Antonio Coleman (leg muscle), DE Michael Goggans (ankle), RB Ben Tate (hamstring).
Questionable - CB Jerraud Powers (hamstring), WR Robert Dunn (ankle).

Franklin and DC Paul Rhoads were both off-limits. It sounds questionable whether Tuberville will allow them to speak with the media any time soon.

RB Ben Tate and C Ryan Pugh were today's media all-stars with an honorable mention reference to WR Rod Smith and his comedy act.
Here's the notables, starting with Tate:

Re why Auburn went away from run: "Your guess is as good as mine. I don't know. I guess that's what the coaches felt like was the best thing to do."

Re returning to smash-mouth football: "It felt really good. The offensive line was loving it. We were loving it. I'm pretty sure the fans loving it. We were marching right down the field. It was good overall."

Why not continue to run? "I don't know. I really don't. I don't know. I don't know. I couldn't have an answer for that."

Re offensive identity: "We're definitely trying to find our identity. As an offense, to be truthful, we're just awful. There's no other way to put it. Your numbers don't lie. When you look at yourself on film, that doesn't lie either. Other teams are probably just licking their chops. We're just not good on offense right now. We just have to find a way to get better."

Here's Pugh:

"We came out in the first quarter and rushed for about 100 yards and looked like the Auburn of old. We got our confidence going and then all of a sudden we completely go away from it. As a player, it's frustrating. As someone watching the game, I'm sure it's frustrating. To come out like that and then come out and lay an egg in the second quarter and the second half is really embarrassing on offense."

"I just want to do whatever works. No one likes to go out there and lose. Whatever gives us the best chance to win as a player. It doesn't really matter if we throw it every down or run it every down. We just want to go out and win, whether it's 3-2 or 50-2."

Most players aren't really admitting this, but it's growing rather obvious that the frustration level is reaching very high levels. With that said, Auburn should be favored in each of its next four games. It is already a 19-point favorite against Arkansas.

If Auburn can find some offense, the Tigers could play a major spoiler role when the Amen Corner rolls around.

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