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Trojan2003
12-12-2007, 11:19 AM
The Press-Register

Franklin in line to take Borges' spot
Auburn offensive coordinator resigns, opening position for Troy's fast-break guru

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
By EVAN WOODBERY
Sports Reporter

-> http://www.al.com/sports/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/sports/119747430661170.xml&coll=3

AUBURN -- Tony Franklin's fast-paced spread offense appears to be on its way to the Plains.

Franklin, a nationally recognized offensive guru who built a thriving business as a football consultant, interviewed with Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville this weekend and could be named the Tigers' new offensive coordinator as early as today.

Auburn confirmed the departure of offensive coordinator Al Borges Tuesday, only three days before the Tigers begin on-campus practice for the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson.

Franklin's offense -- usually run without a huddle -- uses short, quick passes and four- or five-receiver sets. USA Today called it "football's version of a fast break."

In two seasons at Troy, Franklin developed a potent offense that helped lead the Trojans to a 12-2 Sun Belt record. Troy coach Larry Blakeney, a former Auburn offensive coach who confirmed Frankin's interview with Tuberville, said his coordinator has been an asset at Troy.

"I would hate to lose him, that's for sure, but he has to do what he feels is best for him and for his family," Blakeney said.

Franklin's only other college stop was at Kentucky, where he worked from 1997 to 2000 under Hal Mumme. Franklin's tenure ended acrimoniously, and Mumme later departed amid allegations of NCAA violations.

Franklin, 50, was never accused of wrongdoing. He later wrote a book that described the culture of Kentucky football under Mumme in unflattering terms.

Not willing to go back to high school, where he had coached for 17 years before joining the Kentucky staff, Franklin set up shop as a football consultant.

Dozens of schools -- including Hoover High and Tuscaloosa County High -- signed up to learn Franklin's system, billed on his Web site as an "amazing, comprehensive offensive system that attracts players, scores points, draws fans and, most importantly, wins games and championships!"

According to a 2005 USA Today story, Franklin was raking in $170,000 annually from consulting.

When Blakeney decided to run the spread offense after the 2005 season, he immediately targeted Franklin.

"It's great to see how he approaches practice every day," Blakeney said. "Everybody on the offensive staff is involved and all the players are involved.

"He has a great, systematic approach. It's interesting and fun to watch. Tony's always thinking outside the box, and he's enhanced my outside-the-box thinking."

Now, Tuberville appears to have given him a chance to return to the SEC.

Auburn was 41-9 during Borges' time at Auburn, but the Tigers' production tapered off after amassing big numbers in 2004 and 2005.

Borges is credited with helping quarterback Jason Campbell turn around his career during the undefeated 2004 season, but the offense never recaptured that year's magic.

While Borges' departure was expected, the timing was surprising. Tuberville had said that he planned no changes on his coaching staff "unless some of them leave and go somewhere else." But instead of waiting until Borges found a job elsewhere, Tuberville made a pre-bowl switch.

"Al and I discussed this during the last week and after a decision was made, I began looking for a new offensive coordinator," Tuberville said in a statement released by the school. "We hope to have someone on board in the near future."

Borges' only comment was a short statement describing his meeting with Tuberville.

"After speaking with coach Tuberville for the better part of 20 minutes, it became increasingly clear that Auburn needed a new offensive coordinator," Borges said.

Borges-coached teams led the league in scoring offense in 2004 and 2005, but Auburn was near the bottom of the SEC this season.

His wife Nikki is an associate athletic director in charge of marketing at Auburn.

(Sports reporter Tommy Hicks contributed to this report.)