It's Do or Die for Tommy Tuberville and Auburn's 'Spread Eagle' Offense

Ben CulpepperContributor ISeptember 13, 2008

Chris Todd is the starter for now, but for how long?.  In Auburn's SEC road opener against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Auburn starting quarterback will have more than Derek Pegues to worry about. 

The Auburn coaching staff has put themselves in a precarious situation, the kind that makes or breaks coaching careers in this "win or die trying" of a league they call the Southeastern Conference. 

Since the beginning of the summer, when new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin brought in his prodigy child, Chris Todd, to run his offense, there has been surprisingly
little controversy.  It seems now that it was only the calm before the storm.  (It is hurricane season, I can get away with cheesy analogies like that, okay?)

Tuberville's and Franklin's (not sure whose job it was to make a decision) decision to not make a decision on the quarterback early in fall camp might come back to bite them in the arse. 

It is one thing to wait to declare a starter the week of your SEC opener against Croom's Bulldogs with the Citadel peeking around the corner, frightened of what they see.  It is quite another to do so with the Hat's (Les Miles) LSU Bengal Tigers looming around the bend waiting to pounce.

Luckily for Todd, he seemed to get in a rhythm against a pesky Southern Miss team last week and in a half-hearted kind of way claimed the reins of the Auburn offense.  This rhythm, however, was thrown for a loop by the newly formed dynamic duo that is Tuberville and Franklin.

The random decision to put Kodi Burns in for Todd in the second half of the Southern Miss game negated any and all of Todd's rhythm, which he so desperately worked to achieve.

Imagine yourself in college spending an entire night listening (pretending to listen) to a smoking hot freshman girl stammering on about her trip to Bed Bath and Beyond with her sorority sisters, assuming there is a reward for your undivided attention.

Yet, when you bring her back to your apartment she throws herself at your roommate who has been sitting on the couch all night, taking bong tokes and watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

here is only three words to describe this and they are:  What the Faq?  That has to be how Todd felt when he was replaced for that one crucial series. 

Tonight, it is absolutely imperative that Auburn gets their offense to click in all areas and the person who will be most responsible for that is Chris Todd.  Tuberville has named Todd the starting quarterback, but Kodi Burns will play a role in the Auburn offense.

The Tigers coaching staff has had the entire fall camp and two weeks of non-conference proverbial practice games to get this 'Spread Eagle' offense going.  With the SEC Western Division Championship game (Bama, get back to me in November before you interject here) one week away, Auburn absolutely cannot afford to still have questions on offense after the Mississippi State game.

All questions about this team need to be answered, not just addressed, tonight.  Another lackluster performance by the offense will generate bigger and harder questions that may prove to be too tough to answer for Tuberville and his staff.

In Tuberville's tenure at Auburn, I don't think he has ever put himself in a more vulnerable position then the one he has put himself in now.  You think Tuberville has any regrets about Franklin right now?

He would be a liar if he said he didn't have one ounce of regret in the hiring of Franklin, not because he doesn't have faith in Tony's coaching ability and system but regrets putting his ass on the line for this guy.  It was a gutsy and controversial move by Tommy, and it is sink or swim with Franklin and this offense.

With Borges and company as offensive coordinators, Tubby never felt the responsibility like he feels now with Franklin at the helm.

It is as if Tubbs is Franklin's daddy and Tony just turned two.  Franklin is opening up every cabinet, drawer, box and bottle he can find in Tuberville's house known as the Auburn Football program. 

It has taken Tubbs a while to baby proof his program so that Franklin doesn't destroy everything that Tommy has worked so hard to build.  One thing is for certain when it comes to Tuberville and taking responsibility for poor performances; he doesn't.

If Franklin doesn't learn the rules of the house quickly, it won't be long before Tuberville puts him up for adoption with a tag around his neck that reads "Bad Baby."

The games only get harder from here on out for Auburn, with LSU and Tennessee making house calls the next two weeks.  So the task at hand tonight is clear for Tuberville and his Tigers; get the offense on track now or never.