Tony Franklin Out, Questions Still to be Answered

Jon LuncefordCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2008

Tony Franklin, the mastermind behind the spread offense, was fired Wednesday at 3 p.m. CST from Auburn University as the offensive coordinator.

Where the team goes from here, still remains to be seen.  The questions people were asking, are still present as Franklin packed his bags Wednesday before practice.

"After evaluating where we are at this point of the season offensively, I felt it was in the best interest of the Auburn football program to make this change. I'm not satisfied with where we are and I am personally going to take a larger role with the offense the remainder of the season. We are going to work harder than ever to make sure we consistently improve as we move forward," Head Coach Tommy Tuberville told

Franklin didn't waste anytime leaving, cleaning out his office and turning in his keys to the athletic complex just hours after the announcement.

"I have no reason to stick around," Franklin said as he walked out the door with his arms loaded with boxes.

While Franklin was cleaning out his office on the top floor, Tuberville and his staff were holding a meeting with the team to announce the dismissal of Franklin.

Many players openly questioned the offense after the 14-13 loss to Vanderbilt this past Saturday.  Auburn has only scored five offensive touchdowns in their four SEC games, and ranks near the bottom in almost every offensive category in the conference, ranking 9th in scoring offense (13.8 ppg), 11th in total offense (309.2 ypg), and last in third down conversions with a 29.7 percent average.

Franklin was hired by Auburn after the firing of Al Borges at the end of the 2007 season.  Borges led the offense to an undefeated season in 2004, and was let go after last season. His departure created the opportunity for Franklin's more spread out offense -- something uncommon in the SEC.  After an impressive showing in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against Clemson last season, the offense has gone down hill and hasn't been able to recover.

For now, Auburn will have to get past possibly the worst team in the SEC in Arkansas, before heading to a date with West Virginia on a Thursday night.  Luckily, they don't have to face off against one of the better teams in the conference after this crazy week.  However, this Auburn defense is now in the spotlight as they will have to be the players who keep Auburn winning as the team sorts this whole mess out.

Whether the defense will be able to carry the team over opponents like Georgia and Alabama remains to be seen.  With Franklin finally gone, fans will wonder how the QB situation will be handled, and whether or not this offense will go back to it's hard-nosed running game of years past.  Regardless, the tangled web that is Auburn Football has not become any clearer with this firing, yet it at least opens the doors for change.

Auburn fans hope it's a change for the better.