Tommy Tuberville to Texas Tech? Keep a Closer Eye on Him

Robert BrooksCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Tommy Tuberville of the Auburn Tigers directs his team take on 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)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

As the Red Raiders search for a replacement for the always entertaining Mike Leach, few names are surfacing to take his place.

While it may be interim coach Ruffin McNeil's job to lose, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has entered the picture. 

Tuberville gave Auburn eight winning seasons, with five of those resulting in bowl wins. He produced an undefeated season, five SEC West titles, and numerous players who are thriving at the NFL level.

He put Auburn football back on the map. People loved him, it seemed his players loved him, and he had a tight-knit group of assistants that got the best out of recruiting classes that didn't blow people away.

Then you wonder, what led to his dismissal at Auburn? How did things go sour so quickly?

Before Texas Tech makes a major commitment, they'll want to clear a few things up.

What really went wrong? They don't want to hear him place blame on anyone else in a job interview, and the deterring factor in the Tony Franklin offense was solely Tuberville's idea.

The recruiting classes that never brought in what the team needed depthwise, that's mostly his fault as well.

What Texas Tech needs to see and believe in though is that Tuberville knows how to win.

He made that evident at Auburn. He's the only SEC coach that Urban Meyer never beat. He owned the University of Alabama. He believed in Auburn, and we believed in him.

No doubt Auburn posted some quality victories, but never enough to get back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game after 2004.

In their closest attempt, 2006, they were throttled by Arkansas and Georgia, despite being heavily favored in both games to finish second in the SEC West.

2006 was when the problems began to surface. In my opinion, this was Tuberville's best recruiting class in his time on the Plains.

Take a stab at how many of those players are left on the roster. That would be 16 of the 29 players that Tuberville recruited.

It only gets worse from there. 2007 led to 14 of the 30 still playing. His 2008 class had a grand total of 12 out of 29.

Twelve players are left from his last recruiting class at Auburn. Granted, not all of his recruits qualified, and some went to junior colleges, but those numbers are pathetic.

After Nick Saban's first year at Alabama, he made it clear that he planned to change the way things had been going for the Crimson Tide.

In 2008, Alabama dominated the state in recruiting. Any big recruit that considered Alabama and Auburn, it seemed Tuberville laid down and virtually handed them to Saban.

His prized pieces of the 2007 class? Kodi Burns and Enrique Davis.

Burns still hasn't panned out quite like we thought he would. That happens, and there's still time for Burns to leave his legacy as a receiver. Enrique Davis? You may have noticed him taking handoffs this season for Tuberville's former team, the Ole Miss Rebels.

One of his biggest pickups in 2008 was a four-star quarterback out of Georgia, DeRon Furr. Seeing Kodi Burns as the quarterback of the future, and seeing Furr's athleticism, Tuberville moved Furr to the defensive side of the ball.

One fall practice later, Furr found himself headed out of town after a fight that spiraled out of control.

How do you let one of your top recruits just walk out the door? Let some upperclassmen get into a fight with him on the field, and let the situation transpire into something bad enough that the kid wants to transfer.

Furr is now a safety at Memphis.

No one wants to blast Tuberville, especially me. He's one person that I had the utmost amount of respect for during the last decade.

Looking at the facts, though, his final years on the Plains were a train wreck.

Given the job at Texas Tech, he may succeed beyond their wildest dreams. But there will be a few things he must do differently. Tuberville was always known as a run-first guy. I don't see that pass happy attack changing at Tech.

They don't want to rebuild; they want to keep going.

He'll need assistants that are willing to accept change, and willing to welcome newcomers into their circle unlike what his staff did at Auburn.

Most likely it would be an entirely new staff, and the original core would be gone, so that should not present a problem.

I feel like I speak for almost all of Auburn fans in saying I wish Tuberville the best, just keep a closer eye on what may be going on.

It sure can come back to bite you in a hurry.


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