By Jay Coulter
With rumors running rampant from Texas to Alabama about the possibility of Tommy Tuberville becoming the next coach at Texas A&M, the man at the center of the storm addressed the issue with the media on Tuesday.
As he’s done in recent days, Tuberville down played all the talk.
"Every year, for some reason, my name gets thrown in for a lot of them," said Tuberville. "That's just part of it. After we started off 1-2, I thought I was going to have to be taking a job at the end of the year one way or the other.
"As I told our players, that's the least of our worries or anybody's worries. They work very hard – the players, the coaches and the fans look forward to these two games – and we're not going to ruin it by discussing any of that stuff because anything I say will be looked at, turned around and flipped around. It doesn't make any difference."
There’s been criticism of the comments made by Athletic Director Jay Jacobs who said the Auburn administration will wait until the end of the year to address the contract issue. On Tuesday, Tuberville said it was best to wait until after the Alabama game.
"It's better to wait," said Tuberville. "We've talked. It's better to wait. We do it every year. That's how it is done. There's no reason to change that. There's no urgency about anything.
"I told them this is what our players work for, to play these two games. We don't want to break stride from that at all. We want it to be for the players and the fans, and everything else will take care of itself."
Most people close to the situation believe Tuberville will listen to Texas A&M, but will ultimately stay at Auburn. In addition to more money, Tuberville is interested in getting all of his assistants’ two year contracts, something they currently don’t have now.
He’s also said to want more control over the program, including money to retain defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who will undoubtedly be courted by other teams in the off-season.
Another issue is the lack of an adequate indoor practice facility. Tuberville has asked for it in the past and it has been passed over for other athletic department facilities.
What may ultimately keep Tuberville at Auburn are his assistant coaches. He has five assistants on staff that followed him from Ole Miss in 1999. In two years they become vested in the Alabama State Retirement System. It’s a significant perk and something that Tuberville badly wants for his guys.
I may be wrong, but after calling around today and talking to numerous people, I feel pretty good about Tuberville remaining at Auburn.