So much for the biggest gamble of Tommy Tuberville’s career.
That’s what bringing Tony Franklin to Auburn was for Tuberville. He was taking a formula that had made him one of the most successful coaches in the country over the past five years and treating it like it had become a bad habit.
When you thought of Auburn football, you thought of great defense, NFL-caliber tailbacks, smash-mouth offensive lines, ball-control offense and winning with field position and the kicking game.
And suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Tuberville decided to bring in a guy from the Hal Mumme, Mike Leach, “load up on small wide receivers and throw the ball first, second and third” philosophy of offensive football.
It never had a chance. Tuberville kept talking about wanting to have balance by running the ball, but that’s not how you get balance in a spread offense. Even the master of the spread-option, Rich Rodriguez, will tell you defenses have to believe you are willing to throw the ball on every down if they don’t back off, because the only way you can run the ball in the spread is when defenses are so concerned about the pass they give you the run. Eventually, it balances out.