So Long, Tony Franklin

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said speculation about dissension on his staff is just "Internet talk" and that the offensive coaches are committed to working with coordinator Tony Franklin to turn the season around...

Tuberville said Sunday that changes to the offensive staff were "not even talked about." He said Franklin works harder and is more disappointed than anyone about the offense's poor performance.

"He takes probably more blame than he should," Tuberville said.

-Evan Woodbury, The Auburn Beat, on October 5

"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," Tuberville said. "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."

-Auburn University press release, via the Opelika-Auburn News on October 8

After just six games, Tony Franklin's second stint in the SEC has been extinguished. Not only did it come on the heels of an epic piece by Smart Football on how Auburn was not running the Tony Franklin System, it came just three days after the dreaded vote of confidence from the head coach.

There is much rejoicing in some sectors of the Auburn fandom, and some Gator fans, ever quick with the sarcastic wit, suggest the Tigers should take Dan Mullen. Please! [For the record, I am not in league with those folks. -Ed.]

An SEC Power Poll Voter from Auburnland, the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, suspects that Franklin's exit was inevitable. After all, J.C.C.W. explains, Franklin made sure everyone knew he had autonomy over the offense in the offseason, and Tuberville took that away after four games. I am reminded of the quote Jeremy Foley said the day he fired Ron Zook, "What should be done eventually must be done immediately."

A story from AuburnSports.com appears to validate the fine auto cleansing establishment's notion, as it quotes Franklin as saying, "I have no reason to stick around," as he took all of his books to his car.

So maybe it is the case as Doc Saturday says that his legacy on the Plains will be the 3-2 game against Mississippi State. In the end, I have a feeling that he was doomed from the beginning by a lack of talent at quarterback and a lack of full faith and support from everyone on the staff.

If anything, the spotlight on the Auburn offense has just gotten a lot brighter. I assume we will see a lot more power running and a lot more Kodi Burns. The catch is that everybody who's paying attention, opposing defensive coordinators included, will be assuming that too. Since both of those involve a whole lot more running plays, I have a feeling the Tigers will see a lot of loaded boxes from defenses who will dare Burns to beat them with his arm.

Where things go from here is anyone's guess. Auburn had been recruiting a lot of guys with spread offense backgrounds, but you figure that will change immediately. They also are now in the market for another offensive coordinator and finding a good one is not always easy, as they have figured out. Phil Fulmer's got their back on that one too.

Franklin probably is done for good in the SEC, but that's not to say he can't get another shot some place else among the BCS conferences like the spread lovin' Big 12. He'll have to put in some more time at the mid-major level for a few years of course, but his career is far from over.

Unless he decides his Auburn experience is book-worthy like his Kentucky tenure was. Then, all bets are off. Stay tuned.

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