By Jay Coulter
Listening to talk radio on Monday, it appears public opinion is beginning to turn against Tommy Tuberville. While it seems the majority of Auburn fans still support the coach, many feel like his actions are starting to hurt the program.
It’s hard to argue that point. While most college coaches are out on the recruiting trail, Tuberville has spent the last week negotiating a new contract and hunting in the woods of Arkansas.
Saturday morning he left for New York to get in a little Christmas shopping before this week’s National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Meeting.
This is not sitting well with a lot of Auburn fans.
Coaches are in the middle of a heavy recruiting period where they are allowed to make in-home visits with high school players. It’s apparent that Tuberville doesn’t see the need.
Maybe he knows something the rest of us don’t. Regardless, he’s left a lot of people scratching their heads.
Word is beginning to leak out of Fayetteville that Arkansas has turned its attention to Clemson’s Tommy Bowden. We all know not to trust a rumor coming from Arkansas, but all indications are that they’ve turned away from Tuberville.
To say things haven’t gone well for Tubs since last Thursday is an understatement. Auburn people are beginning to question whether he was ever really a strong candidate for the Texas A&M or Arkansas jobs.
Some are suggesting that this whole ordeal was a charade created by Tuberville’s agent, Jimmy Sexton.
Whether this is true or not really doesn’t matter. Today, Tuberville is sitting at the table with few bargaining chips. All of the sudden there is no option B for him.
Auburn officials need to act with care.
Tuberville is still one of the best coaches in college football. He may not get a call this season, but he most certainly will in the future. As I’ve said before, Auburn must do the right thing and give in to some of Tuberville’s demands.
On the flip side, Tuberville must remember that his contract has not expired. He didn’t win the SEC or the SEC West this season. There were some high points this year, but it was far from perfect. See South Florida and Mississippi State.
With that said, things must get resolved fast. Coaches around the South are already using this against Auburn in recruiting. They are telling recruits that Tuberville is looking to leave, saying that he wants his buyout eliminated so he can find another job.
This may or may not be true. But the fact is, it’s starting to hurt the recruiting process and make Auburn look silly.
It’s time for Tuberville to stop dodging reporters and making vague statements. He needs to come out and say he wants to remain at Auburn or he needs to go elsewhere.
We love you coach, but it’s time to fish or cut bait.