Short of losing your starting quarterback to a broken leg in practice, there is probably nothing worse in college football than losing a coach prior to a Bowl game. Can a Bowl bound team overcome such a blow? We are about to find out this season now that Al Borges’ has parted ways with the University of Auburn prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Auburn, who will be facing Clemson this New Year’s Eve, will be without Borges its offensive coordinator for the past four years.
While this may be seen as a devastating and distracting blow to some, there are Auburn fans that are applauding the move. Some fans are even expressing their disgust with the job that Borges did at Auburn in the form of anti-Borges posts in hyperspace. One such fan expressed his displeasure in Borges succinctly on an Alabama webblog by posting, “Passing first and running second is exactly why we couldn’t move the football this year.” Another pointed to the fact that the only time Borges was good was when he had an all-star backfield that included NFL first round picks Ronnie Brown and Caddie Williams.
Still, one would expect to find these types of “rally behind the flag” comments from the most ardent of fans. Fans aside, the way that Auburn has progressively slipped lower and lower on offense over the last three years, also speaks volumes for the fact that Borges, a man who made a name for himself coaching in the PAC-10, was probably ill suited coaching in the SEC. This year Auburn bottomed out completely, ranking only 101st in the nation in total offense with an anemic 328 yards per game of total offense. A stat that can be strongly attributed to the way Borges ran the offense.
Yet, when it comes to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the point of who will be the offensive coordinator on the Auburn sidelines might be a moot one. The game will mostly likely be decided by what happens when the high powered Clemson offense, led by quarterback Cullen Harper, meets the highest ranked defense in the SEC. Harper who has helped Clemson gain over 400 yards a game, will have his hands full with a defense that yielded only 16 points a game this year.
Of course, if Auburn were to lose, it will be nice to pin the loss on Borges. After all, having an available scapegoat can also be part of the game.
Goldberg, Charles, “Al Borges is out as Auburn’s offensive coordinator; he won’t coach in the Chick-fil-A Bowl,” Birmingham News (http://blog.al.com/goldmine)
“Borges out as offensive coordinator at Auburn,” (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/news)