The Auburn basketball season is falling apart. Tony Barbee wants to make sure his team doesn’t fall apart as well.
The Tigers have dropped six games in a row after a 2-0 SEC start to find themselves at the bottom of the league standings alongside Mississippi State. Their next four games are Alabama, a road date at Kentucky, Arkansas, and then Florida. Staring a possible 2-10 SEC mark dead in the face, Barbee opened up on and about his squad yesterday:
“Each team’s got a hold of the rope and right now we’re the team letting go. I’m not going to let us let go…
(Asked about his team’s troubles) It’s a laundry list. How much time you got? It’s a long list. It’s about everything. Our defense, our offense… special teams (he said with a smile)…
When I watch the tape, I told the guys I’m embarrassed to say I coach this team, and the majority of it is on me. My fault. I told them, ‘I’m going to do my job to change it and I need you guys to do your job and change, because it hasn’t been good enough.’”
While willing to accept some of the blame, Barbee also took the time to skewer his seniors:
“I’ve been as disappointed in our leadership since I’ve been here, and I’ve said that we haven’t had any since I’ve been here. The coaches have been the leaders, and when the coaches are the leaders of the team as you’re going through the hard times, your team’s not going to be very good. When the team takes the ownership, then you’ve got a chance.
I was fooled into thinking that this senior group, this veteran group had got it. They hadn’t. They slipped right back into their old habits — losing habits. So I’ve got to change them.”
Aside from words, Barbee also hit his team with a 6am practice session yesterday morning. Whether intense morning work and some harsh words can get Auburn back on the winning path remains to be seen.
In his third season trying to rebuild the Tiger program, Barbee is 34-47, has never had a winning record, and has never won more than five SEC games in a season. Translation: He’s not the only person on the Plains whose patience is wearing thin.