God girl grill gridiron

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just when things can't get crazier

As you undoubtedly have heard, Tony Franklin got the boot.

Personally, I don't have much to add as to why - this has been more effectively detailed elsewhere in the blAUgosphere. Suffice to say that on the spectrum that ranges from CTF = DEATH to CTF = Bobby Fischer I'm somewhere in the middle.

So your guess is as good as mine, although I'm inclined to agree with my dad when he says there must be something more going on than mere offensive stagnation. I mean really now - it's beyond unreasonable to hire a system guy, nerf his system, and then penalize him for the failure of a crippled strategy. It's like challenging Gary Kasparov to a game of chess, but insisting that by "chess" you meant Dance Dance Revolution.

But for whatever hidden, stupid, or stupid and hidden reason, life imitates the message boards and Tony Franklin is teh f1r3d. The only sure thing is that we'll never know what the Spread Eagle was truly capable of.

Tony Franklin... hmm... oh yeah, isn't he some author?

I really sympathize with the guy who took a gigantic hit to be truthful about systemic corruption, clawed his way out of unemployment with innovative offensive concepts and a nose for marketing, earned a great job at a mid-major and succeeded mightily at an amazing offensive turnaround from the preceding season, and then landed an OC job at a major SEC power... at the single institution* least likely to implement any of the offense on which he built and staked his entire career. I'm inclined to say that if he dishes to Finebaum about whatever drove him out of the Loveliest Village, it serves us right. Franklin, it seems, was ready to stand tall against the blitz and sell out to make the throw but, like a certain quarterback who need not be named, found himself on the receiving end of poor administrative decisions that limited the expression of the talent for which he was recruited.

When are we going to be Auburn again?

But the issue for Auburn is ultimately bigger than Tony Franklin. Auburn fans and bloggers, I implore you. I'm begging you to please, someone, anyone explain how the following scenario makes any kind of sense, whatsoever:
  1. We fire our offensive coordinator late in the season and hire a new offensive who teaches a totally unfamiliar spread system.
  2. We adjust recruiting strategies to fill needs for the spread, but we do not allow our new OC to run that system as it needs to be run.
  3. Then we fire him - second mid-season OC firing in less than a year, mind you - for not running the offense all that good.
  4. Having fired the only man who knows how to run the spread, right down to the basic receiver routes, we claim that we already understand the spread and insist that we will keep running it.
To me, this seems like an absurdly rash decision. How are we going to keep running the spread if there is not a single man on the Plains - from the players to the coaches to the guy making lemonade at Toomer's corner - who can teach even the most basic spread-offense concepts? Why are we firing a brand-new OC for not doing the very thing we wouldn't let him do? If Tubby's really thought this decision through, then he must know something extremely, nay, life-alteringly important that is completely inapparent to yours truly.

I can't help but look at this - let's be honest - panicked decision and think back to Burns' redshirt lying in ashes for zero gain, two years and counting. Kodi cum Brandon of 2007, meet Franklin cum Nallsminger 2.0 of 2008.

Whatever happened to "War Eagle, fearless and true"?

Update: yes, Mr. Sensible, CLEARLY:


*...outside of Wisconsin


Anonymous said...

Well said. I, too, can't understand why Tubs would hire an offensive coordinator and then not let him fully implement his system. Firing the guy mid-season seems like another layer of stupid, but maybe I'm missing something. If AU can turn it around, Tubs will be hailed as "making the tough decision." I think, however, he'll be blamed for running off the one guy who knew how to run the new offense.

More.Sawdust said...

I think it was a bit more single-minded than all of that... perhaps along these lines:

CTT: "3-2 sucks. You scored all the points in the game and we damn near lost."

CTF: "I need more time. I don't have the players."

CTT: "Tony, we're here to win. Figure out something. Disguise it, hide it, throw in some things the offense is already good at. This isn't an academic classroom. The transition to the spread might have to take a little longer than we'd like. So take a step back, and get some more points on the board. Get it done, Tony."

[after the Vandy game]

CTT: "What the hell was that?!"

CTF: "I need more time. I don't have the players."

CTT: "We're here to win, and to win every game. When things aren't working, style points are optional. We talked about that before you ever came on board."

CTF: "I need more time. I don't have the players."

CTT: "I don't think so."

Grotus' Acorn said...


I hope to God we are all missing something here. Because if not, this decision reflects very poorly on our Auburn Tigers.


Tubby may have been rather single-minded, but look at what actually happened. We brought in a "system" guy, didn't let him run his system, and then fired him for not running his system.

It's clear that he has the players and that he's entirely willing to use them. We ran 90 plays for 423 yards in the Clemson game. And better people than I have pointed out that Auburn stopped using the Tony Franklin system after that game - go read the blog Smart Football's entry on that.

IMHO, CTF probably said "Let me run MY system now, or we'll have to wait until we have the players to run YOUR system."