``As I told our players, that's the least of our worries or anybody's worries,'' Tuberville said. ``The players, the coaches and the fans look forward to these two games, and we're not going to ruin it by discussing any of that stuff because anything I say will be looked at, turned around and flipped around. It doesn't make any difference.''
able for comment.
M job in the past couple of weeks, including in reports Monday the university planned to fire Franchione at season's end. On Tuesday, Franchione denied reports he was negotiating a contract buyout.
M said in a statement Monday that athletic director Bill Byrne planned to wait until the season ended before evaluating Franchione.
The Tigers (7-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) have an open date next week, but Tuberville said he didn't plan to use the time for contract talks.
``We've talked. It's better to wait,'' he said. ``We do it every year. That's how it is done. There's no reason to change that. There's no urgency about anything. I told them this is what our players work for, to play these two games. We don't want to break stride from that at all. We want it to be for the players and the fans, and everything else will take care of itself.''
Hiring Tuberville would be expensive. It would cost $6 million to buy him out of the seven-year, $18 million deal he signed after the Tigers went 13-0 in 2004. Tuberville is making $2.6 million this season.
M, though.
``We're not going to let it be a distraction,'' defensive end Quentin Groves said. ``We're just going to go out and play football. Right now, he's Auburn's head coach and he's our head coach.
``If it happens, it happens. We've got Georgia. We can't focus on, 'Is he leaving or is he going?'''
Groves and several other players said Tuberville hasn't addressed the rumors with the team.
``The rumor's going around, but he hasn't told us anything about it,'' defensive tackle Josh Thompson said. ``The coaches haven't mentioned anything about it, and I just found out about it probably two days ago. It doesn't really affect us or distract us.''
Tuberville has led the Tigers to a 40-8 record over the last four seasons, fifth-best among major college teams. He is 78-32 in nine years at Auburn.
M's defense in 1994, when the team went 10-0-1. Tuberville left to become head coach at Mississippi.
Asked why his name has surfaced so prominently with the Aggies, he said: ``I've got friends out there, obviously.''
``They've probably got 15 other people on the list,'' he added. ``That's the way it is. It's good talk, that's all it is.''

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