AU begins quest to defend lofty preseason ranking

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A team with a new starting quarterback (who exactly that will be is yet to be determined) and two new coordinators might not be typical choice for a preseason top 10 ranking.

But that’s where Auburn finds itself heading into a Week 1 contest with Louisiana-Monroe.

“We’re picked pretty high,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville conceded at Wednesday’s teleconference for SEC coaches. “It’s going to be interesting with two new coordinators.”

But the reason for optimism are obvious.

A team that has become synonymous with winning with defense and special teams, the Tigers offense has been the story all summer because of new playcaller Tony Franklin. Franklin brings with him a spread offense that saw great success at Troy.

Franklin will tutor quarterbacks Kodi Burns and Chris Todd. The starter won’t be named before game time.

Then there’s Paul Rhoads, the new defensive coordinator. Auburn finished sixth in the nation in total defense in 2007 – Rhoads’ Pittsburgh defense finished fifth.

Players have raved about both new coaches during the summer and fall. All that’s left is to put their schemes to the test.

“We need to play a game,” Tuberville said. “We’ve practiced enough.”