Wow, what an interesting Wednesday with Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville firing his new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin after the Tigers’ offense has been very woeful in 2008. Tuberville really had no choice but to make this move to fire Tony Franklin, because the Auburn offense has been so bad in ’08, but mainly because Auburn has a good enough defense to compete and beat every team on their schedule and if Auburn had gotten any performance from their offense in ’08 they would be 6-0 right now. With that being said, Tony Franklin is still a very good football coach, and we here at Coaches Hot Seat got to see Tony’s spread offense at Troy in person a couple of times and it was a mighty impressive offense indeed. The problem for Franklin is that the type of spread offense that he has taught for years to hundreds if not thousands of high school coaches and that he ran at Troy, really does not fit into the general offensive philosophy of Auburn or Tommy Tuberville, and that is why this turned into a damn mess on the Plains. We do believe that a hybrid of Franklin’s offense could have worked at Auburn and if one thing had not happened in the offseason, namely QB Chris Todd coming to Auburn, we think that Franklin would still probably be employed at Auburn. If Todd had not come to Auburn (recruited by Tony Franklin by the way), Kodi Burns would have been the clear No.1 QB entering the ’08 season and Franklin would have spent all of his time both preparing Burns and fitting Franklin’s spread offense to what Burns does best. With both Todd and Burns in the mix for the starting QB the old adage that “when you have two starting quarterbacks, you really have no starting QB” came to be a reality, and the performance of the Auburn offense in ’08 certainly proved that adage correct. Franklin never really was able to put his offense in at Auburn, they could never really settle on a QB, and all that uncertainty probably created a lot of dissension within the Tigers football team and those type of things get people fired from their jobs.
In our opinion, Tommy Tuberville made the right call in making the move to fire Tony Franklin, because Tuberville could not allow the uncertainty to continue or it was going to tear apart and destroy his football team. Tony Franklin is a good football coach and once he gets a chance to sit back and reflect on the last year he will find that he learned some great lessons that he can apply towards the next chapter of his life. America at its core is about being knocked down and getting back up, and we are sure that Tony Franklin will get back up, just like he did the last time he was knocked down. Good Luck to you Tony Franklin.
Now let’s get to the Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat Coach of the Week, “Goat” Coach of the Week, and yes we again awarded the “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week!
Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat Coach of the Week
Coach: Bobby Johnson
To fully understand what Bobby Johnson has done at Vanderbilt in recent years by making his team competitive in the SEC and by starting out the 2008 season at 5-0 just take a look at the below average ACT test scores:
SEC conference schools average ACT test score: 22 – 27
Vanderbilt average ACT test score: 29 – 34
Harvard average ACT test score: 31 – 35
Take a hard look at those average ACT test scores and notice how close that Vanderbilt is to Harvard, even closer than they are to the other schools in the SEC. Yes, we have watched in wonder how Bobby Johnson has turned Vanderbilt into a serious contender in the SEC in recent years, but we have been more amazed at how he has done that without Vanderbilt making any serious deviations from their general student body admission policies. The second thing that we have always been impressed with Bobby Johnson’s football teams, and this goes back to his days as the head coach at Furman, is how hard his teams play and how we have never seen a Johnson coached team give up no matter how many points they were behind. In the disposable society that we live in, that is not an easy thing to do to keep your team playing hard, especially when you are coaching a team that has averaged over 8 losses a season as Johnson’s teams at Vanderbilt have during his tenure. Now with Johnson and Vanderbilt at 5-0, we look ahead to their remaining schedule…
10/11 at Mississippi State
10/18 at Georgia
11/15 at Kentucky
11/29 at Wake Forest
….and we believe that Vanderbilt should be competitive in all of their remaining games and that if they play “their” game they could very well end up with 9 or 10 wins in 2008. With that being said, we are confident that Bobby Johnson has his team focused directly on their next opponent: Mississippi State, because a loss in this spot would kill all the great momentum that Vandy has built up in 2008. Great job by Bobby Johnson and his Vanderbilt Commodores and congratulations to Coach Johnson for winning the Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat Coach of the Week.
Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat “Goat” Coach of the Week
Coach: Ralph Friedgen
Ralph, Ralph, Ralph, what in the hell is going on with your Maryland football team? You barely beat I-AA Delaware, you lose to Sun Belt team Middle Tennessee State, you whip California, you whip Eastern Michigan, you beat Clemson on the road, and then you lose 31-0 to a 1-3 Virginia team. What, or rather: What in the hell is going on here? In the last week Friedgen has said that he is not “reaching” his team anymore and although we would agree with that sentiment, we believe that whenever a football team or a business and its employees in the real world do not have consistent and constant effort it is usually because there are no leaders on the football team or in the business. If Ralph Friedgen and his staff want to get this Maryland football team on track they are going to have to keep working very hard but they also must find some leaders within their football team that can keep the team together when times get tough. Great football teams are either led by a strong group of seniors that know how to win or they are led by a group of team members from many different class levels that step up to take a leadership role on the team. Ralph Friedgen has plenty of talent on this football team to win a lot of games in the ACC, but they cannot keep playing with such inconsistency, and when the coaching staff is qualified and competent (as they are at Maryland) the problems are all mental when a team is struggling and the mental side of the game can be helped a lot by finding some leaders that are willing and ready to step up and lead this football team forward. It is Ralph Friedgen’s job and responsibility to both find those leaders on his football team and make sure they are doing their job by leading their teammates. Ralph Friedgen is the Week 6 “Goat” Coach of the Week.
Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week
Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy… Yes, it was a bad call by Pac-10 officials on what looked to us like a fumble on a punt and what have should have been a touchdown for Stanford in a very critical part of the game against Notre Dame, but it doesn’t do any damn good to keep whining about the call once it has been determined that the call is going to stand, because the game, and life go forward. One of the biggest mistakes that head football coaches make is when in critical moments in football games they let a particular situation overwhelm their focus on what their football team is supposed to be doing on the field. Yes, a head football coach must aggressively challenge officials when he believes his team has gotten a bad call, but when a coach takes that challenge too far and loses focus of what is going on the field, that is when that coach’s team is most vulnerable. Right after the bad call against Stanford, 3 plays later in fact, Notre Dame put the ball in the endzone and kudos should go to Charlie Weis and the Irish for aggressively attacking down the field in that precarious and unfocused moment for the Stanford football team. Jimmy Harbaugh, you are doing a great job with the Stanford football program, but this week you have earned the Week 6 Coaches Hot Seat “Cry Baby” Coach of the Week! Congratulations to you Jimmy!
There you have the Coaches Hot Seat Coaches Awards for Week 6.
With the stock market down again, “Cheers to everyone” and hoping for a great Week 7.