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SEC West is best� in story lines..


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SEC West is best in story lines

By Tony Barnhart | Thursday, December 13, 2007, 09:33 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Some updated thoughts on the coaching carousel:

1. SEC West now best at least when it comes to story lines: Since the SEC split into divisions in 1992 the Eastern Division with Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee has always been the glamour division. Now the SEC West, with Bobby Petrino going to Arkansas and Houston Nutt going to Ole Miss, has a wonderful new set of rivalries. You already know about LSU-Alabama and next season Nick Saban has to go to Baton Rouge. Now we have Nutt against Arkansas and Petrino against the guy (Tommy Tuberville of Auburn) whose job he tried to take four years ago. This is assuming, of course, that Les Miles remains at LSU which brings us to& ..

2. Will Les Miles have a Merry Christmas? I think we ll know about Dec. 21. That s a week from Friday and the day that everybody is basically going to start shutting down to celebrate Christmas. If Michigan does not have a new coach in place by then, Miles may to have to live with the rumors of his departure until January and preparations for the BCS championship game. It won t matter how many times he says I m not going to be the head coach at Michigan. Nick Saban rendered that statement meaningless. Until Michigan hires a coach, this story will not go away and nobody is going to buy Miles protests.

3. Good move at Auburn: Tommy Tuberville is an old defensive coordinator. He knows what drives defensive coaches crazy. And today, it is some form of the spread offense with a mobile quarterback. He saw that his current offense just wasn t getting it done with a drop back quarterback. He saw that Troy had rolled up yards on Georgia and Florida State, just to name a few. So he hired Tony Franklin, the OC at Troy, who knows this offense as well as any one. Now Kodi Burns has to learn the offense. Coaches tell me that you don t have to commit completely to this offense but that in the future they ll have to have some of it in their package.

4. Timing is everything: In today s coaching search, which has to take place in a hyper-active media environment, it is not enough to have a good job and a good financial package if you want to land a sitting head coach. The timing must be absolutely perfect so that the sitting coach does not spend a lot of time twisting in the 24-hour news cycle. Arkansas found that out in its discussions with Tommy Bowden and Jim Grobe. When the school found out that Bobby Petrino was going to resign on Tuesday, AD Jeff Long did not wait for the official announcement. He flew to Atlanta immediately with a university attorney and a deal. As soon as Petrino resigned, he was on a plane headed back to Arkansas for the press conference.

5. Glad Bobby Johnson didn t go to Duke: Vanderbilt s Johnson is a very good football coach who has the Commodores competing at a very high level. I know he s frustrated because his teams still lose too many close games in the fourth quarter. That is usually a function of depth, which will always be a problem at Vanderbilt. But he would have been equally frustrated at Duke, where they are talking a good game about being competitive in football, but really haven t stepped up to plate to really give somebody a chance to win.

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