New Orleans, La.–-Despite his denial of interest in the LSU job, Coach Tommy Tuberville was the center of the questions as the Auburn Tigers reported on Tuesday evening for the Nokia Sugar Bowl.
As he has repeatedly said this season, and as late as last week before having to say it again on Monday that he’s not interested in going anywhere else to coach, Tuberville reiterated those remarks as the Tigers got settled in for the Jan. 3 game at the SuperDome.
“I don't know how all that got started,” Tuberville says of the latest round of rumors. “It's good people recognize you have done a good job, but I'm excited about being at Auburn. We've got something special. We can win championships. We've proven that. We can win a lot of
“I'm looking forward to being back next year,” he adds. “We just now have our program the way we want it. I'm looking forward to next year, but right now I'm looking forward to this week. These players and coaches earned a week here in New Orleans. Everybody says this isn't the
championship game. We played the championship game a few weeks ago in Atlanta. When you win the SEC, that means you've done something. I'm proud of our team and coaches and looking forward to this game and many more at Auburn.”
One reason for the rumors is the fact that Tuberville hasn’t signed a contract extension yet despite the offer being on the table for a seven-year contract worth approximately $15 million. Tuberville says that he’s ready to get all the contract talk done with, but it’s something that takes time.
“I don't know how long it's going to take to get it signed,” he says. “We've agreed on the principal things. It's just the wording you go through, but there won't be any problems with that. Hopefully, we'll get it signed pretty soon. Right now I'm having a little work schedule problem of coaching a bowl game and recruiting. Hopefully, we can get it done soon.”
The Auburn football team, including junior linebacker Travis Williams (far right), is greeted by bowl officials on Tuesday night.
Tuberville and the Tigers now turn their attention to a strong Virginia Tech team that won the ACC Championship in its first year in the league. Winners of eight straight games, the Hokies present a challenge to the Tigers in a week when the players will face a media onslaught every day leading up to the game. Tuberville says that’s not anything new for this team and he expects them to handle it the way they’ve done each and every time the last 12 months.
“This time last year we had a lot of media, but it was for different reasons,” he says. “We are glad for these players and the Auburn family, what this past year has meant. This is a historic year. We can continue that if we keep playing well and go through next week. We have a tough game with Virginia Tech, but I can tell the focus on our guys' faces. They are here to have a good time, but
they also understand the difference of having a good time and also getting ready to play a football game.”
The Tigers will begin practicing for the game with a workout inside the Louisiana Superdome at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. While in town the players will have plenty of free time to see the sights and have some fun in one of the most major tourist destinations in the United States. Tuberville says that’s what a bowl game is all about and he’s sure his players will make the most of this opportunity while staying focused on playing the game.
“To be 18-19-20 years old, have a little money in your pocket and spend six or seven days three blocks from Bourbon Street, that's probably a dream come true for a lot of these guys,” Tuberville says. “It's going to be a great time. They know the difference between right and wrong. They know they are here to represent themselves and Auburn. They also know they have a lot of work to do before they play the game. This is a fun bowl game. I've been to all of them and they don't
get any better than this.”
Tiger Ticket Extra: All of Auburn’s players were present and accounted for on Tuesday night, which is always the first order of business for the coaching staff. The team is expected to have the first of three scrimmages on Wednesday with the young players getting the bulk of the action.