Tuberville seeks help from incoming freshmen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2002

BNI Newswire

BIRMINGHAM – New coaches and new players are expected to make a major difference for the Auburn Tigers in 2002. Head coach Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday the coaching staff changes were not something he wanted to do, but were required in order to continue to push the football program forward.

"The guys that were there were family," Tuberville said. "We had been together so long…we laughed together, cried together. We celebrated winning games that we could not believe we won."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Both offensive and defensive coordinators changed for the Tigers, meaning new ideas and new ways of doing things. That, according to the head coach, was what the program needed most.

"In seven years together, I think people knew what we were going to do," Tuberville said. "They knew what we were going to do in certain situations. We needed to add an element of surprise and I believe that’s what these changes bring."

Auburn’s new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik comes to the Plains from the University Central Florida where he served as defensive coordinator. Bobby Petrino is offensive coordinator. He came to AU from the NFL, where he served as offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2001.

"We made two good choices," Tuberville added. "I hated the change, but we had to do it because we’d been the same so long. You take a chance when you change like this, but our working relationships will be the same. The new guys have adapted well."

Ben Obomanu, a native of Selma, will likely get a chance to break into the starting line-up at wide out because of his level of play during the summer.

"Our quarterbacks are amazed at how well he catches the football," Tuberville said. "He has to learn how to get off the line of scrimmage and he has some technique to learn but he will get a chance to start because of his hands and his speed."

As a senior at Selma high, Obomanu caught 31 passes for 460 yards and nine touchdowns.

He also rushed 20 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns.

"We signed five guys who could play next year," Tuberville said. "I don’t know if they all will play, but the potential is there. These guys can run and catch."

Brandon Cox, a highly touted prospect from Hewitt Trussville High School, has continued to impress coaches and teammates this summer and could challenge for playing time.