Tony Franklin's Summer of Discontent

Stacey MicklesCorrespondent IIJune 8, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  The special teams unit of the Auburn Tigers prepare for a kick-off after the offense scored against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU defeated Auburn 26-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Who said summer is boring? Summer in the state of Alabama is never boring. There is always some activity going on. Last year it was the buzz surrounding Tony Franklin’s new offense at Auburn. This season the buzz is still about Tony Franklin although he hasn’t coached in almost a year.

This past weekend Franklin made some very unflattering comments about his experience at Auburn. That’s not really surprising knowing that he was fired in the middle of the season and how many Auburn fans blame him for their team’s failures last year.

What was surprising was that it seems Franklin’s main complaint about his time at Auburn was the coaching staff seemed to be more focused on talking about religion then football. Now, this article is not about to turn into whether or not speaking about your religious beliefs is right or wrong because everyone has their own beliefs, but that is one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard.

Franklin’s beliefs didn’t seem to match the rest of the Auburn coaching staff which made him an “outsider” possibly explaining why some of the other coaches didn’t accept him. Ask Alabama a few years ago how a lack of chemistry affected that football team back in 2000. The 2000 Alabama Crimson Tide was suppose to bring the program back to glory.

But rumors were swirling that there was chaos with the 2000 Alabama coaching staff and that's why that team wasn't successful. Coaches didn’t seem to get along with each other, at times no one knew what plays were being called and Mike Dubose’s  leadership abilities at the top was clearly not there.

Sounds like what took place down in Auburn last year; lots of expectations with no results.

But it was more then religious beliefs that cased the collapse of the 2008 Auburn football team; it was bad coaching and lack of good players that finally caught up to Tommy Tubberville.

Tubberville began to see the writing on the wall with how well Nick Saban was doing at Alabama in recruiting and he panicked. Rather then stick with the same offensive  philosophy that has been successful over the years, Tubs went out and brought in Tony Franklin and his spread offense to attract more recruits to campus. What it did actually was expose Tuberville as an average recruiter.

Tubs and the Auburn coaching staff used the term “coached up” when media and fans wondered why there weren’t a lot of four and five-star recruits gracing their campus. We don’t bring in stars they said, we make them.

Truth was, Tubs wasn’t a great recruiter. How do you run the spread when you don’t have the players to do it?

His lack of recruiting pretty much went unchecked and unnoticed until last season. Oh, but Franklin shouldn’t be left off the hook either. He was a terrible offensive coordinator. It was quite obvious that he had no idea what to do. Rather than change the offense to suit another quarterback or to suit his starting quarterback’s talent, he stuck with what he knew which cost him his job.

There were other factors involved also such as injuries and other off the field issues which cause the collapse of the Auburn Tigers, but Franklin can’t seem to let accept his part in that collapse.