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Al Borges Will Always Be An Auburn Tiger

Former coordinator Al Borges (left) during happier times.

By Jay Coulter

Since Auburn’s final regular season game against Alabama things have hardly slowed down on the Plains. In the span of two months, Auburn has gone through two coordinator changes and depending on how you look at it, the near loss of its head coach.

Lost in all this madness is the plight of former offensive coordinator Al Borges.  Fans tend to believe that because coaches make such high salaries, the loss of a job is not a huge deal.

Granted, making $400,000 a year as an assistant softens the blow of a job loss. Whereas most of us would need a job tomorrow if we were fired, coaches have a little cushion to fall back on.

But make no mistake; it’s still tough on the person and his family. Such is the case for Borges. Huntsville Times editor John Pruett caught up with Borges yesterday and had an interesting conversation with the once beloved Tiger.

As most know, Borges came within an eyelash of landing the offensive coordinator job at his former school – UCLA. He was trumped by star power in the form of Norm Chow.

This week he’s in Mobile at the Senior Bowl looking for work.  

While Borges continues to look, his wife Nikki remains in Auburn serving as Associate Athletic Director of Marketing. She’s a star in her own right. Nikki is credited with arranging the deal with Under Armour that has brought not only money to the university, but publicity as well.

I’m surprised by some Auburn fans who feel like it’s now cool to criticize Borges.  Just three years ago, he was considered a genius in most Auburn circles.

So is the life of a career assistant.  

Few will argue that a change was needed at Auburn. The numbers bear out the truth.  But that doesn’t mean Borges is still not one of the great minds in college football.

It doesn’t take long in the SEC for defenses to figure you out. The best defensive minds in the country work in the Deep South. I would argue that there are better coaches in the SEC than there are in the NFC.

Coaches caught on to Borges. He didn’t adapt fast enough. He also worked in a meat grinder of a conference. Change can be good for guys in these positions.

I will always think fondly of Borges. He has a special place in Auburn history because of the 2004 Perfect Season.  Let’s all hope that Borges lands on his feet.  After all, he’ll always be an Auburn Tiger.

Have a great weekend and I'll talk to you on Monday!