Auburn Football Loses Defensive Giant, Gains Offensive Titan

Leon WynnAnalyst IMay 13, 2008

Tommy Tuberville has been through a massive coordinator upheaval. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was stolen away by Texas, and offensive coordinator Al Borges resigned.

Borges was replaced by Troy's Tony Franklin. Muschamp was replaced by Pittsburgh's Paul Rhoads.

Tubby is well-known for grooming fine coordinators. He's so successful that they get their own agents and accept offers for a higher salary somewhere else.

Auburn's coach is one of the best-compensated, winningest, and most consistent coaches in the SEC. Just ask any Alabama fan; even those stubborn bastards can’t say the current streak is pure luck. He is a magnet for young talent, both players and coaches.

To get Will Muschamp from Auburn, Texas had to negotiate with Bob Lamonte, who represents seven NFL head coaches and handful of college coaches, including Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis. This year, Texas will pay Muschamp $425,000 to fill the role of recently demoted Duane Akina.

Akina was demoted to secondary coach after a less than stellar performance from last year’s Texas defense. As long as he improves a defense that was the seventh-worst in Texas history, there will be little for Muschamp to worry about.

Muschamp is relatively young and has a bright future ahead of him. He commands a hard-hitting defensive spread developed at LSU. As an Auburn fan, I will mourn the loss of a great defensive coordinator, not only for his brilliance in coaching, but also for his energetic antics on the sideline.

Muschamp’s vigorous sideline displays were frequently broadcast on television and generated a lot of media attention.

"ESPN has a lot to do with that," Tuberville said. "The exposure is really going to help you.”

Some writers have claimed that Tuberville has been “cutting his own throat” by actively promoting his coordinators. Tubby certainly doesn’t care. He is a classy guy who gives credit where credit is due. The degree of freedom he gives his staff allows them to further develop their talent.

"I let my guys talk to media after practice every day," Tuberville said. "A lot of coaches don't do that. They tie their hands because they don't want them out in front. Sooner or later, you've got to let them speak for themselves."

His replacement, Paul Rhoads, has big shoes to fill and I hope he will. I don’t know much about him, except that a lot of Pittsburgh people are glad to see him go. Expect at least a year for him to completely make the transition.

There is no debate here, Auburn lost a major asset on defense and will take awhile to recover. In the meantime, Auburn will look to its offense to set the pace after acquiring a genius on the offensive side of the ball in Tony Franklin.

Auburn's new offensive coordinator, Franklin, developed his own consulting business after being blacklisted in 2001.

While at Kentucky, he coached two future NFL quarterbacks (Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen). However, he wrote a book that disclosed some private information about the Kentucky staff during the Hal Mumme era.

Franklin did not work as an offensive coordinator until 2006, when Troy coach Larry Blakeney hired him. Franklin then raised the Trojans' offense to No. 16 in total offense in 2007.

Franklin created "The Tony Franklin System Seminar," a copyrighted offensive system implemented by over 300 high schools nationwide. Given only nine days to install his offense at Auburn before the bowl game, Franklin's "system" was able to produce 423 yards in a 23-20 victory over Clemson.

Not long after the bowl victory, high school coaches began descending upon the Tigers' offices looking for film, advice, and Franklin. The “Franklin System” is a work of art and is sure to help the Tigers make it to the SEC championship game this year.

"He's kind of a cult..." Tuberville said of the overhaul of his offense, adding, "It's kind of a cult."