Spurrier told his kids "you're stuck with me." Says he is not leaving.
Still suspicious though.
Rodriguez next? Watch and see if West Virginia plays poorly this weekend. Bama could end up screwing themselves by getting RR interested in the Bama job, then Rutgers beats his team this weekend, and Louisville could possibly be picked over LSU for the BCS at large selection.
Ehh...I think Pat White's gonna run all over Rutgers.
Right now is the most critical time period. If you'll notice, the guys that I know that really know what's going on have all gotten silent. Even on the message boards it's happening that way.
Right now is the waiting period. Does he say yes or no? He has already agreed...in principle. They agreed back in Gainesville on Sept. 30th. The issue now is will he actually sign the contract?
If Spurrier gets cold feet, then Rodriguez will be announced on either Sunday or Monday, from what I'm being told. Rodriguez wouldn't get anything NEAR the same kinda money that Spurrier would...but that doesn't matter. He wants to win, and he can do that here. I'm just curious if he can win consistently.
¶ 10:21 AM30 commentslinks to this post
Nothing new this morning. Just a bunch of crap about a players meeting in T-town last night and a players meeting at SC tonight. Not buying any of it because Spurrier's supposedly out recruiting. Sue Oliver apparently is telling everyone she knows about Spurrier and Brother coming to Bama.
Lots of places seem to believe that Rodriguez is coming to Alabama. I guess because his denial was the absolute weakest out of ALL the coaches that have issued statements (which is a whole lot, by the way...you didn't have this many when Miami announced their firing...haha).
Dear Members of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees:
I know you're reading this right now. I know that you're in the middle of some troubling times, and I understand that my opinion really should mean absolutely nothing to you at all, but please hear me out.
This coaching hire could make or break the University of Alabama. I understand how well the basketball, baseball, golf, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, etc programs are doing, but they are not the cash cow for the University. This is a football school, and we are judged based on wins and losses on the field.
All I am requesting is that you do not allow past grudges against a former employee make your decision for you. Please do not let something incredibly promising be thrown away because of an unwillingness to move past something that was done years ago.
Remember how much he loves this University and how much time he has spent helping build this program.
If what I'm hearing is correct and it comes down to one employee, please don't let that stand in the way of everything that this University could achieve over the next few years.
Shula's statement through the University was incredibly classy. I'm not exactly thrilled that they didn't let him talk to his players, but I supposed it was probably for the best, depending on how he acted when Moore told him he was being let go. One can never tell in these instances. Click here to view the statement in its entirity.
Again, Kines' talk at the press conference was incredible. He's a hell of a football coach. Don't be surprised to see him in a VERY good job next year. I doubt it will be with Alabama.
There are all sorts of names being thrown around (Spurrier, Petrino, Johnson, Grobe, etc). Rumors going around that Bama asked to talk to Bobby Johnson at Vandy yesterday. Don't believe that for a second.
Spurrier was supposedly spotted at the North River Yacht Club golf course yesterday. Again, no credible sources, but the guys on the Southern Sports Report here in Memphis reported it. I seriously doubt he'd be in Tuscaloosa yesterday.
Brother Oliver's interview on Finebaum was great yesterday. Check out the audio at finebaum.com.
My dad gave me a great analogy for Oliver's interview. Oliver's like a 10 year old. He's trying to figure out if there's a santa clause or not. He's asked for this really awesome super duper 10 speed bike for christmas. He finds the exact bike he wants in the trunk of his dad's car, but he knows that he can't ask his dad about it, he can't talk to his brothers about it, but he's extemely excited because he knows what he's getting. Listen to the interview and tell me if that's not it exactly. Won't deny anything, just says that it's a great game and he still has that fire to coach.
The plane is on the way to Austin, TX to pick up Gene Stallings so he can be available at the press conference. I see no reason to believe Stallings will be the next coach. I believe he just wanted to be here for the press conference.
Which, of course, leads me to believe that they will be announcing SOMEBODY today.
Mal made a statement earlier that Joe Kines is the interim coach at the moment, incase we don't have a coach by the bowl game.
I seriously doubt these guys are going to let it get this far out of control. I think they've got their man and they're going to announce it soon. I would probably expect the announcement of Shula's firing today and the announcement of the new hire later in the week. Maybe Wednesday or Thursday.
¶ 10:25 AM20 commentslinks to this post
"On November 27, 2006, Steve Spurrier is expected to be announced as the new Head Football Coach at the University of Alabama by Bama Athletics Director Mal Moore. The Bama deal is reported to be 10 Years/$30 Million."
It was confirmed this evening around midnight, when ABC 33 broke in with a special news bulletin. Shula was let go by the University after the team meeting concluded around 9:15pm. No announcement will be made until tomorrow morning at some point.
Well, now that we are exactly one week away from the BCS selection show and the rest of the bowls figuring out what teams will be available, it's time for me to make my projections as to where each team will be spending the holidays.
National Championship Game (BCS #1 vs BCS #2) Ohio St vs. USC
Sugar Bowl (SEC Champ vs BCS at large) Arkansas vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl (ACC Champ vs BCS at large) Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Rose Bowl (Big 10 vs BCS at large) Michigan vs LSU
Fiesta Bowl (Big XII vs BCS at large) Oklahoma vs Boise St
GMAC Bowl (C-USA #2 vs MAC) Houston vs Ohio
International Bowl (MAC vs Big East #4 or #5) Western Michigan vs Pittsburgh
Capital One Bowl (Big 10 #2 vs SEC #2) Wisconsin vs Florida
Toyota Gator Bowl (ACC #3 vs Big East or Big XII) Virginia Tech vs West Virginia
Outback Bowl (Big 10 #3 vs SEC) Penn St vs Auburn
Cotton Bowl (Big XII #2 vs SEC) Nebraska vs Georgia
MPC Computers Bowl (WAC vs ACC) San Jose St vs Miami (FL)
Chick-Fil-A Bowl (ACC #2 vs SEC) Georgia Tech vs Tennessee
Alamo Bowl (Big 10 #4 or #5 vs Big XII #4) Iowa vs Texas A&M
Meineke Car Care Bowl (Big East or Navy vs ACC) Navy vs Maryland
Champs Sports Bowl (ACC #4 vs Big 10 #4 or #5) Clemson vs Purdue
Insight.com Bowl (Big 10 #6 vs Big XII #6) Minnesota vs Texas Tech
Liberty Bowl (C-USA #1 vs SEC) Southern Miss vs Kentucky
Sun Bowl (Pac 10 #3 vs Big East or Big XII) Oregon St vs Rutgers
Music City Bowl (ACC #5 vs SEC) Boston College vs South Carolina
Texas Bowl (Big East vs Big XII) South Florida vs Missouri
Holiday Bowl (Pac 10 #2 vs Big XII #3) Cal vs Texas
Independence Bowl (SEC #8 vs Big XII #7) Alabama vs Kansas St
Emerald Bowl (Pac 10 #5 vs ACC #7) Arizona vs Florida St
Motor City Bowl (Big 10 #7 vs MAC) Oklahoma St vs Central Michigan
Hawaii Bowl (WAC vs Pac 10) Hawaii vs Arizona St
Armed Forces Bowl (Mountain West vs C-USA) TCU vs Rice
New Mexico Bowl (WAC vs Mountain West) Nevada vs New Mexico
Papa Johns Bowl (C-USA vs Big East) Tulsa vs Cincinnati
New Orleans Bowl (Sun Belt vs C-USA) Troy vs East Carolina
Las Vegas Bowl (Pac 10 #4 vs Mountain West) Oregon vs BYU
Brother Oliver is supposedly calling and putting together his defensive coaching staff already.
Jerri Spurrier has already purchased North River property in Tuscaloosa.
Blah blah blah.
Same old stories, no credible sources. Still hearing the 10 years / $30 Million contract rumors. Spurrier supposedly to tell his kids in a team meeting either this evening or tomorrow morning. Shula will be let go by the University tomorrow. Spurrier will be announced on Tuesday.
Spurrier rode the team bus back to Columbia, SC and spoke to the fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Watching Wake Forest at the moment. If Spurrier declines, is Jim Grobe the next choice? Very interesting. Also starting to feed into this whole Paul Johnson idea...
Also, as far as bowl games go, I recently posted over at TideSports.com about our bowl chances hanging on whether or not the SEC gets two teams into the BCS. Here's my post:
"LSU will be in the top 7 or 8 of the BCS. Either they or the loser of the SEC Championship game will be the 2nd SEC team in, thanks to West Virginia's loss today. Had WV won, a win over Rutgers next week, or a Rutgers win over them would have been much bigger. Louisville gets in based on being Big East Champs.
The only teams that get guarantees into the BCS are the champs of the Big 10, Big XII, Big East, Pac 10, SEC, and ACC and any non BCS team that finishes the season in the top 12. A conference can only have 2 teams in the BCS (bye bye Wisconsin)
Here are the options, according to the BCS top 25:
Big 10: Ohio St, Michigan, Wisconsin Big XII: Oklahoma, Nebraska (no at large) Big East: Rutgers, Louisville Pac 10: USC (no at large) SEC: Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn ACC: Ga Tech, Wake, Maryland (no at large) At Large: Boise St, Notre Dame
and that's about it. so here's the probable matchups (and remember, Notre Dame is guaranteed a bid if they finish with 2 losses or less and are ranked in the BCS top 8):
NC Game - Ohio State (Big 10 Champs) vs. Michigan/Florida (SEC Champs)/USC (Pac 10 Champs)
Rose Bowl - Michigan/USC (Pac 10 Champs) vs Rutgers/Louisville/Notre Dame (would they allow a ND/Mich or ND/USC rematch?)
Fiesta - Oklahoma/Nebraska vs Boise St
Sugar - Ark/FL (SEC Champs) vs Louisville/Rutgers (Big East Champs)
Orange - Ark/FL/LSU vs Wake/Maryland/Ga Tech (ACC Champ)
I guess the only way that the SEC wouldn't get a 2nd bid is if Rutgers destroyed West Virginia and Notre Dame finished in the top 8. They'd have to pick Rutgers or Louisville over an SEC school.
Seems a little odd that a 6 seater charter plane that originated from Tuscaloosa, AL on Sunday, Nov. 19th (the day after the Iron Bowl), made a stop in Monroe, NC (77 miles from Columbia, SC by way of I-77), went back to Tuscaloosa that day, then left for Clemson, SC and has been sitting there for the past 3 days.
It's expensive as hell to just leave a 6 seat Cessna sitting on a runway for 3 days. These are rented. Who would fly a Cessna from Tuscaloosa, AL to Clemson, SC and leave it sitting there for 3 days with no activity whatsoever? Hmmmm....
Again, we're not saying anything is certain, and anyone that wants to trash talk can...but it's fun to at least entertain all of the "coincidences" that are going on around this.
...is reporting that the University is in fact searching for a new coach, but will retain Shula if a new coach is not found in adequate time.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I would love to know who they talked to on Thanksgiving to get that scoop considering everybody in Tuscaloosa is with family for the holiday.
Anyway, Spurrier's call in show the other night was pretty interesting. They asked him about Miami and Alabama and the possibility of him coaching at either of those schools. He said that reports were out about Miami contacting him and that just wasn't true. He said "those schools" have been to the top and they just weren't for him, etc etc.
I didn't get a chance to wish everyone a happy turkey day yesterday. I was out of town with family, but I did want to get on here and wish it upon you guys now. Better late than never, I suppose. :-)
Possibly going to watch Olive Branch and South Panola play for the Mississippi North Division title tonight. Good football teams, from what I hear. They've sold over 10,000 tickets to the game already. Kinda crazy how well a high school team can draw when they're playing good football. Imagine what Bama could do if they played good football. Hahahah.
If anybody wants to take a good long look at this and tell me if they read the same thing, please do.
The buyout only includes the base salary, if I'm not mistaken. Base salary for Mike Shula is $200,000 per year, which would make his buyout $1.2M if I'm not mistaken. Where is everyone getting this $4 figure?
"UPDATE: UA releases statement on coaching situation
This is the full text of the statement released from the UA Athletics Department:
TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore is releasing the following statement regarding the Crimson Tide football program:
“As is customary at the end of the regular season, we are evaluating our football program. We are evaluating every aspect of our program and this is not a process that I wish to discuss at length in a public forum. We are bowl-eligible and we hope to remain positioned to play in a bowl game. We remain firm in our commitment to our student-athletes. I am proud of their efforts throughout this season and we are more determined than ever to return Alabama football to its rightful place among college football’s elite.”
Neither Mr. Moore nor Coach Shula will be available to the media until after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We thank you for your patience and consideration."
Seems just a little odd that Jimmy Sexton (or somebody close to him) would give out information regarding Alabama inquiring about Nick Saban, but the other morning on Lapides's show, Sexton wouldn't even discuss the posibility of Spurrier coming to T-town.
Remember, Sexton is both Saban's and Spurrier's agent. So let's just say that one coach (Spurrier) has the last game of the regular season this week. Let's say that coach is interested in the job but doesn't want the distractions during rivalry week, so his agent finds a way to switch the rumors in the media.
Saban has absolutely no desire to come back to college football right now. Maybe 3 or 4 games ago, before they started winning again, but not right now when they still mathematically have a shot at the playoffs.
Spurrier, however, is supposedly a done deal. Part of an agent's job is to keep his mouth closed until the deal's done.
So you tell me. Why would they leak information on Saban right now? :-)
"No public search means that Jesse Jackson and/or Al Sharpton will be visiting Witt, Miles Brandt at the NCAA office and all the TV networks to get an answer why a qualified minority candidate was not even considered at a public institution. It better be Spurrier to weather that storm. And now for the first time, I actually believe it will be.
I was attending a high school basketball game tonight and I ended up sitting next to an acqaintance who is the grandfather of one of the players. I knew he had played for the Gators' and I figured he knew Spurrier. SO I asked him what he thought. He said he had actually played with Spurrier and that they usually played golf once or twice a year. He said that he hadn't talked to him recently (usually doesn't much during the season since he left Gainesville) but Spurrier had brought up an interesting scenario when they golfed this summer.
Steve was intrigued by the trend of successors being named before these coaches were leaving and was particularily intrigued by the Bob Knight/Pat Knight deal that had been made at Texas Tech. Spurrier thinks that Steve Jr. will get the next shot at Duke (Jr.'s alma mater), but Sr. didn't think he could achieve the same success there with Fla. St. & Miami in the conference as well as the improvement of a couple other schools.
Spurrier feels he could get Jr. set up at a major program if he were to take the head job for 3 - 5 years and bring Jr. as Asst. Head Coach with a future signed 5 year deal to succeed as the head coach. That will allow Sr. to back off recruitng, play more golf, and leave Jr. set up with a good coaching staff and good talent.
So I do think Spurrier will be announced as long as Steve Jr. is announced as the next HC right beside him. Perhaps Bama has been spending some time researching Jr."
¶ 11:34 PM3 commentslinks to this post
This was just reported on the Tuscaloosa News website by Cecil Hurt. It was also read over the air by Paul Finebaum.
"BREAKING NEWS: Shula still in limbo, no decision coming this week
TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa News has learned that the review of all aspects of the Crimson Tide football program is “ongoing,” and that no decisions — including any decision concerning the future of head coach Mike Shula or members of his staff — are expected this week, sources close to the University of Alabama athletic department said Tuesday night.Shula did meet with athletics director Mal Moore on Tuesday afternoon, but one source said Tuesday that evaluation was “still ongoing.”
Neither Moore nor Shula were available for comment on Tuesday night."
Complete contradiction of Paul Gattis's story for the Huntsville Times.
Paul Gattis, Alabama beat writer for the Huntsville Times has reported the following:
"Mike Shula will return as Alabama’s football coach in 2007, but there will be changes within the football program, possibly including Shula’s staff, a knowledgeable source said Tuesday.
High ranking university officials have no intention of making a change with the head coach, according to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The school has not made a formal statement regarding Shula’s employment since Saturday’s 22-15 loss to Auburn.
Shula is 26-23 in four seasons at Alabama."
Keep in mind that WJOX and the Birmingham News' Ray Melick announced yesterday that some members of the Board of Trustees and Mal Moore had all decided that it was time to fire Mike Shula. Also, there were reports that Robert Witt was leaving for Thanksgiving vacation with his family and a decision would not be made until next week.
Doug Walker, Associate Sports Information Director at Alabama, said nothing has changed and that Mike Shula is the head coach right now.
Spurrier did NOT tell Oliver, when he went to SC, that it was his last hoorah. He just told him that they don't have the best players or the best facilities or much money or anything, but that Spurrier was gonna go down there and have some fun. Oliver said he could just up and leave, but that he couldn't answer that for Steve.
Finebaum asked him if Spurrier was hired would he accept the job at Alabama, Oliver said "We'll just have to cross that bridge, that's a tough question."
Can't get anything more than message board chatter on this one from TideFans.com...
"Mike Coster and Harold Diggs with Coach Spurrier from Columbia S.C. In a nutshell. Coach Spurrier just told Mike and Harold he has no interest in the Hurricanes whatsoever. When ask if he would consider a school like Alabama Coach Spurrier said "As far as I know Coach Shula is still coaching there". Again Mike Coster ask Coach Spurrier if the job were open would you take it? Coach Spurrier said "I am currently getting my team ready for Clemson and need to focus on the Bowl game." He did not say no, did he?"
Augusta does not have a Gulfstream service facility. The nearest one is located in Savannah. So the Crimson Tide Foundation jet and Paul Bryant Jr's jet were in Augusta, GA for something other than maintenance last week.
¶ 11:32 AM4 commentslinks to this post
Spurrier was interviewed by WYFF in Greenville, SC about the Clemson / SC game. Here's what "Bob4166" had to say about it over at RollBamaRoll.com.
"Steve Spurrier was just on WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville, S C with an interview on Clemson-S C game on Saturday. He was asked about the Alabama coaching job-he first became very fidegty-then he said: It is flattering to have the "old ball coach name out there" but I am trying to win an SEC championship here." Obviously not a very strong denial. He was very emphatic on the Miami job not being what he wanted. Not so tonight. As Drudge would say.....developing."
This morning's briefing from FireShulaNow states the following:
"Here's what we know...(or at least think we know)
1. Dr. Robert Witt has agreed with the "football experts" to fire Mike Shula. The basis of the decision included poor performance (nothing worse than losing games in an expanded stadium), discipline problems on the team, and overall appearance that Shula has lost control of the football team. The president is believed to be concerned about the negative perceptions created by bottling-throwing incidents and other outgrowths of the currrent malaise around the football program.
2. Dr. Witt asked for a list of names. These names would be used to evaluate and plan a "contingency" for leadership change in the football program. The names were to be gathered by unofficial contact. If no "reasonable" replacement were found then Dr. Witt would stick with Shula. However, the longer the situation goes on, the more likely the "football experts" have found a viable candidate.
3. Mal Moore is telling everyone on every side of this situation what they want to hear. Is that a shock? That's alawys been Mal Moore's behavior. He is a politician and that's why he is good at raising money.
4. As posted several times, contrary to most reports, there has been a timetable to move through this as fast as possible for the benefit of Shula, his coaches and their families. Oh, and not to mention recruiting, something the "football experts" at the University feel is very important. Also, everyone involved wants to calm the fan base as soon as possible. We've thought Monday was the most likely time for something to happen, but whatever could unfold prior to that, especially if it looks like a suitable replacement for Shula can't be found.
5. If Shula is not fired this year, then he will have another chance to save his job next season; however, University officials have all but written-off next season if they are forced to retain Shula.
So, it all comes down to finding the replacement. Nothing's changed since yesterday. What has created so much confusion about the situation is Mal Moore. He tells everybody exactly what they want to hear. Thus, people report something and then get nervous when Mal appears to have changed his mind. What Mal Moore tells the president is most important and from all indications he has told the president a change is warranted."
¶ 9:57 AM3 commentslinks to this post
On being rumored as the next head coach at Alabama: "Miami yesterday, Alabama today. Well thank you. I appreciate it. It's always flattering that someone would throw the South Carolina coach's name out there. Obviously, I'm very, very happy here. We're going to try to win us an SEC. That's the goal. That's my mission."
Sound like "coach speak" to anybody else? It's not a denial. He has said that he's NOT interested in Miami. Hasn't said that about the Bama gig.
¶ 9:50 AM1 commentslinks to this post
George Lapides and Geoff Calkins had Jimmy Sexton on this morning. They started out by asking about the Spurrier to Miami rumors and the Spurrier / Saban rumors to Alabama. Sexton stated that he thinks that Spurrier will be at South Carolina next year. He feels like Spurrier has a commitment to be at SC, and that he feels like Saban is committed to turning Miami around.
When asked if he thought that Spurrier would be at Alabama next year, he said "no."
He seemed pretty adament that there is a gentleman's clause between SEC schools that they will not be taking each other's coaches after the Tuberville / Ole Miss / Auburn fiasco several years ago, but he said that eventually it WILL happen again.
I may just be reading between the lines here, but something sounded fishy and uncertain about that interview coming from Sexton. Kudos to Geoff and George for coming out and asking the questions that I wanted to hear answers to. I didn't expect Jimmy to come out with anything other than what he did because it's his job not to, but something still felt different about it this time.
¶ 9:22 AM1 commentslinks to this post
"WJOX is reporting that five trustees have recommended that Shula be fired and Mal Moore is in agreement. President Witt has the final say, and he has said he will take a few days to consider it. Let the insane gossip and rumor mongering begin."
¶ 6:37 PM2 commentslinks to this post
Finebaum's right about one of the members of the Board of Trustees being in the Virgin Islands with the basketball team. No announcement will be made until he gets back. Probably on Wednesday. Even then, I wouldn't be surprised for this to hold over until next week, after the regular season finale for most of the coaches we would look at (mostly Spurrier).
If everyone remembers, Butch Davis gave us signs SEVERAL weeks ago that feelers were out regarding a coaching search. If Butch Davis went on and signed with UNC, there had to have already been somebody lined up.
ROLL TIDE to the basketball team tonight. Xavier is ranked number 6 in the RPI right now, so this is really going to help our rating.
It is believed that Dr. Robert Witt has decided to remove Mike Shula from the head coaching position at the University. The decision is contingent upon finding a replacement. The president is said to respect and hold Shula in high regard, but strong lobbying efforts from the "football experts" may have convinced Dr. Witt to make a change despite hopes that Shula could salvage the season, the team and University prestige. Discipline issues on the team along with academic and other performance indicators are thought to have played a part in the rumored decision. The off-the-field arrests combined with the bottle-throwing fan incident may have played a part in the decision."
¶ 5:57 PM6 commentslinks to this post
basically said nothing other than that he knows that Spurrier's talk about being committed to South Carolina may not be as true as he wants people to believe.
He also said he thinks Spurrier's doing a great job, and that he thinks Spurrier could be in the SEC Championship game NEXT YEAR at Alabama, and that he would love to see Coach Spurrier in Tuscaloosa.
He's saying he'll cross that bridge whenever he gets there, but that he's not going to call Spurrier personally to worry him with it right now before the Clemson.
¶ 3:57 PM14 commentslinks to this post
"For what it is worth, here is an excerpt from the Mark Schlabach chat on espn.com earlier today.
Gary (Birmingham, Al): Any word on Shula at Bama? Does he get another year? Will Bama get swallowed in the sea of parity that is the SEC and never return to prominence? I personally think that is what is going to happen - the days of the Bear and unlimited scholarships are gone and I don't think Bama has the leadership as a program to return to being a perennial NC contender.
Dialed in to listen to Finebaum and Brother Oliver for a bit and just caught the tail end of Brother talking about "Spurrier being one of the best" of something. Anybody catch what he was talking about? Seems odd that Spurrier is the only coach he happened to bring up in that sequence.
¶ 3:26 PM1 commentslinks to this post
The rumor I've heard from T-town this morning is that Shula, Moore, Witt, a few influential members of the BOT, and the University's lawyers are in a meeting this morning. No news on a press conference or anything else.
I have also heard that when Shula is let go, he will possibly be retained as a UA employee. Has anybody happened to have seen Shula's contract? I would like to see how it is worded. If he is only "an employee of the University of Alabama," and is retained in a different position other than HC, then the contract would be voided if he agreed to take a coaching job somewhere else, thus eliminating the buyout clause.
I'm telling you, the people in charge in Tuscaloosa are smarter than we're giving them credit for.
Lapides only stated that the three names being thrown around are Saban, Rodriguez, and Spurrier. There was no "reporting" any facts.
"When the time comes, if it does, and the job is open and a replacement is not ready to step in rightaway, other names will surface, too." - George Lapides to me this afternoon.
¶ 9:11 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Ok, here's what all I've been hearing regarding Spurrier possibly coming to Alabama. Some of these could just be rumors, and some of these could actually be truths. I'm just putting everything I've heard down.
The University's (N1UA) and Paul Bryant Jr's (N323P) private jets were both in Augusta, GA on Monday after LSU's win over Bama. Please see N1UA's flight pattern and N323P's flight pattern to see this. I have been told it was for routine maintenance, but I've also been told it was not. Very odd that this just so happens to be where Spurrier enjoys playing golf, and it's only 60 miles outside of Columbia, SC.
""I grew up an rooting for Bama. Heck, how can you not love Coach Bryant? But, my opinion of Bama changed when I was not offered a scholarship to play there." - Steve Spurrier in Sports Illustrated back in 2001.
Supposedly, Spurrier's wife, Jerri, was in Tuscaloosa this weekend for two reasons: 1) To visit her goddaughter, and 2) To look at some real estate here in town.
Alumni friends of my parents and grandparents, who also happen to be close with AD Mal Moore, explained to us yesterday that this has been a done deal since the Bama / Florida game this year.
To throw a little credibility to that, Steve and Jerri Spurrier sat with the Crimson White crew on press row at the Florida game and apparently had a nice long dinner with a few members of the Board of Trustees after the game.
Rumors have been circling about Spurrier being ready to get out of South Carolina already because of the inability to recruit and win there. He apparently wants another national championship and knows that it is extremely possible at Alabama. He was always a fan of Bear Bryant, and the chance to coach at Alabama might be too good an offer.
Also, he is supposedly intrigued at getting to play against Florida State again next year.
Rumor has it that his defensive coordinator would be 'Brother' Bill Oliver, who I would gladly welcome back to Tuscaloosa. He and Spurrier have been reportedly been having meetings for the last couple of months, and everyone thought it was regarding Brother going to South Carolina. Brother would probably not leave the state of Alabama to take another job, so this would work perfectly for him. Brother and Mal coached together under Bear Bryant from '71-'79 and again under Gene Stallings back in '90-'93. Brother stayed around until '95. He and Mal Moore also played together under Bear Bryant on the 1961 National Championship team. Almost seems too perfect.
If I hear more, I'll be sure and post it. Apparently everything will be kept quiet until after South Carolina plays Clemson this Saturday. It's been a done deal for quite some time, according to most. It could explain why the gameplan has not changed for the entire 2nd half of the year. Coaching staff should be almost completely intact,
Anyway, if you've got the game DVR'd or recorded, go back and watch the play before the 2nd fumble and watch how badly Capps gets beat. That play was supposed to be a reverse, and would've worked beautifully because DJ Hall had the other side of the field to himself, but Capps got pushed out of the way and Darby was hit before he could even hand it off to DJ. Then you can watch Capps get beat again on the next play.
Ohh, and if you see what South Carolina has done with Blake Mitchell / Syvell Newton / Sidney Rice, just imagine what Spurrier could do with JP Wilson / DJ Hall / Keith Brown / Nakita Stover / Jimmy Johns / and maybe Prothro (?) next year. The schedule eases up tremendously. Could we be looking at a NC next year? Hehe.
¶ 5:13 PM11 commentslinks to this post
Instead of fear the thumb, we should have EXPECTED the thumb. Chris Capps effectively lost the football game for us. Shula's job is in jeopardy, of course, and I hear there's supposed to be a big press conference after the football game. Not sure what it could be, but the members of the board of trustees left their skyboxes with about 4 minutes left in the football game. They NEVER leave before the game's over. EVER. Must be pretty big.
My sources tell me that Steve Spurrier is going to be the Alabama head coach next year. And these are some pretty damn reliable sources. Supposedly "Brother" Oliver will be his defensive coordinator.
I'll believe it when I see it, but it would be a nice change from the "deer in headlights" that we've had forever. So many things went wrong in this game that a coach in his fourth year should not allow to go wrong.
1) You CANNOT put Chris Capps in the football game against Groves. You just can't. They had to have seen how well the offensive line played when he was out last week against LSU. LSU has a MUCH better defensive line than Auburn. To allow things to go back to how they were against Mississippi State is just REMARKABLY dumb.
2) To waste time outs and mismanage certain situations the way he did was just pathetic. Go for two points TWICE in the game, but not call a single good play when the ball is on the goalline on the first drive of the game shows a lack of confidence not only in your team but in yourself.
Simply put, the past few games have shown us that Mike Shula's indecisiveness and losing mentality is rubbing off on the players. That is NEVER a good sign. You go in with a winning attitude and you can create winners. JPW doesn't stand a chance with this guy around. God help us.
WHY THE FUCK IS THIS JACKASS IN THE FOOTBALL GAME? DIDN'T ANY OF THE COACHES NOTICE HOW MUCH BETTER THE OFFENSIVE LINE WAS LAST WEEK AGAINST LSU WHEN HE DIDN'T PLAY? HE JUST COST US SEVEN FUCKING POINTS. FUCK YOU, MIKE.
The two biggest jackasses in Alabama right now.
I apologize for the language, but Capps being in the game has killed any faith I may have had in this coaching staff. I quit. Sorry guys.
¶ 3:29 PM2 commentslinks to this post
Want some extra spending money for Christmas? Then it's time for THE PICKS!!!!
These will all be 1 star this week:
Eastern Michigan (+12) at Kent St --- ALWAYS bet against the public. It's worked for us quite a lot this year, and I expect it to continue. If a line jumps at least 3 points, go against it. Eastern Michigan sucks, but they've been playing better as of late. The line opened at Kent State -7.5 and is now at -12.5. Take the road dogs. FINAL RESULT: Kent St 14 E Mich 6 (Gary wins)
Central Michigan at Northern Illinois (+4) --- Please see above. It opened at +1 and is now at +4. Go with the home team on this one. FINAL RESULT: Northern Illinois 31 Central Michigan 10 (Gary wins)
Tennessee at Vanderbilt (+8) --- Vandy has been taking care of business, keeping games EXTREMELY close at home (lost by 2 to Arkansas, by 6 to Florida, etc). Tennessee will start Eric Ainge, but he's still hurting. The Vols have not played well as of late, and there's nothing these Vandy players would like more than starting a winning streak over Tennessee. I think this ends up being a VERY close game.
La Monroe at Kentucky (-20) --- Kentucky throws the football around a lot and scores oodles of points on bad teams. I think they'll win this by three touchdowns at least, and maybe more.
Oklahoma St at Texas Tech (-6) --- If Oklahoma St had ANY defense at all, I might swing the other way on this, but I think Texas Tech will own the Cowboys today. They both have huge offenses, but Tech's defense is a bit better, especially at home.
Utah St (+37.5) at Boise St --- 37.5 is a lot of points for Boise, especially possibly playing without starting running back Ian Johnson. Utah State is awful, but I don't think Boise will run up the score here at all. Maybe a 35-3 ballgame, or 38-10.
Miami (FL) (-3) at Virginia --- Miami sucks, but not as bad as Virginia. Miami quarterback Kirby Freeman should run and pass all over this defense. Virginia is simply undermanned. Miami should win by at least 7.
New Mexico at BYU (-27) --- BYU has covered EVERY GAME this year. I said I was going to keep going with them until they lose. New Mexico is not very good, and BYU is on a roll. BYU by about 4 or 5 touchdowns.
Cal (+5.5) at USC --- Cal was looking ahead to this game last week when they lost to Arizona. This game will still decide the Pac 10 Championship, so it means a WHOLE LOT to Jeff Tedford and the Bears. Lynch and Longshore will be rolling in this game. USC's defense is not all that great, and they'll be exposed BIG TIME in this game. Look out for an upset in this game.
Michigan (+7) at Ohio St --- Too many people are going with Ohio St in this game. All that flash that Ohio St has on offense won't matter because it will be shut down by this ferocious Michigan defense. The Wolverines have a stronger running game and a more balanced passing attack. The big plays that Ohio St usually wins with won't work in this game, and Troy Smith will get frustrated, which could lead to a couple of turnovers. I think Michigan pulls this one out in a close one.
Auburn at Alabama (+3) --- I generally take Alabama as an underdog. They generally cover and play better in the underdog role. This game basically is for Mike Shula's job. Auburn's offense is confused, and their defense is injured and weak. The only question is whether or not Alabama can take advantage of Auburn's shortcomings. I think they will.
¶ 9:29 AM1 commentslinks to this post
Until you live in the state of Alabama, even for a year, you don't understand the Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl rivalry. It transcends gender, race, families and economic demographics. Because there isn't a major pro sports franchise in the state, Alabama vs. Auburn (or Auburn vs. Alabama, depending where you sit) is lived 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
It's a Southern-fried version of Yankees vs. Red Sox.
And because of that, if one team has a stretch of seasons where it is winning division or conference championships, battling for the national title and beating their hated rival every year, there's usually a head coaching job on the line.
For fourth-year Alabama coach Mike Shula, the fact that it may be time to beat Auburn or be fired has been a subject of great debate throughout the state.
There's no doubt that Shula, a former Alabama quarterback from the 1980s, took over a terrible situation. The school fired new coach Mike Price several weeks after spring practice in 2003, following Price's alleged indiscretions at a benefit golf outing in Florida.
Shula also stepped into a program still reeling from NCAA probation caused by the Albert Means recruiting mess incurred under Mike DuBose.
With no head coaching experience, Shula had Alabama in a bowl by his second season (6-6 in 2004), and last year's team went 10-2, including 6-2 in the West, with a Cotton Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, across the state, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had teams that won or tied for the Western Division title twice, including a 2004 unbeaten league champ at 12-0 that was left out of the BCS national championship game.
And there have been Tuberville's three wins over Shula -- 28-23 in 2003, 21-13 in 2004 and 28-18 last season. No Alabama coach in history has ever lost to Auburn four straight years and kept his job.
This year, Auburn is 9-2 overall, 5-2 in the West, still hanging in at No. 14 in the BCS. The Tigers have balanced crushing league losses to Arkansas and Auburn with quality wins over LSU and Florida.
Alabama is 6-5, 2-5 in the West. It hasn't beaten a team with a winning record this season. It has one of the lowest scoring offenses in the SEC and has scored more than 20 points just twice in league play, with both of those efforts coming in overtime games at Arkansas and against Ole Miss.
If you look inside Shula's 26-22 overall record to date at Alabama (13-18 in the SEC), you'll some eyebrow-raising numbers.
He's a combined 2-16 against Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee, and 3-16 against SEC teams with winning records. He's 8-20 against all teams with winning records and 18-2 against all teams with losing records.
Just last summer, Shula received a one-year contract extension through 2009, but didn't receive a raise to his $900,000 annual salary.
A Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll conducted last week surveyed 400 adult Alabama residents (almost half of whom said they were Alabama fans) and found Shula with a job approval rating of 42 percent, More than half of those surveyed rated his job performance as "only fair" or "poor," though a majority said the school should keep Shula as coach for now.
The same poll had 84 percent of the people surveyed rating Tuberville's performance either excellent or good. That was before Auburn was upset by Georgia last Saturday.
Shula said he accepts the pressure of being the coach at a one of college football's historically successful programs. He also knows he would help himself beating by Auburn on Saturday.
"It's important for our whole university, and I'm part of this university," Shula said on Wednesday. "It's important we play and coach our best. We've come close on the road this year. We haven't done what it takes to finish games. That's what we've got to do on Saturday."
A few days before Nov. 4, when Alabama was upset at home by Mississippi State -- a victory that broke a 23-game SEC road losing streak for the Bulldogs -- Alabama athletic director Mal Moore gave Shula a public vote of confidence.
As far as having enough money to buy out the last three years of Shula's contract, that's never a sticking point at a school with a mega-budget and alumni with deep pockets.
It's all a matter of whether Moore wants to pull the trigger or not, whether he thinks yet another coaching change will create more instability and put Alabama's program further behind.
If Moore got to the point where he was looking for a new coach, there wouldn't be a shortage of candidates. But know this: If beating Auburn is a criteria, if Alabama wants to get back its physical, slap-you-in-the-mouth-offensive style that once made it dominant, Moore doesn't have to look far.
There's one coach with a 5-4 record (with an average victory margin of 24.2 points) against Tuberville, including 4-4 with Tubbs at Auburn. There's one coach whose team, at the end of this season, will have led the SEC in rushing four of the last five years, something no league school has done since Alabama's Wishbone attack topped SEC rushing for four straight years from 1971-74.
That coach took an unranked team into No. 3 Auburn this season and won, 27-10.
That coach is Houston Nutt of Arkansas, whose 9-1 team, the only unbeaten squad left in SEC play at 6-0, is ranked No. 5 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the BCS.
By the same token, Nutt, after six straight bowl appearances, then back-to-back losing seasons before this year, is a prime example of what can happen if a school stays patient. He's gone from the outhouse to the penthouse in one season.
CURRENT BCS RANKINGS 1 Ohio State 2 Michigan 3 Southern California 4 Florida 5 Notre Dame 6 Rutgers 7 Arkansas 8 West Virginia
So here we go. Here's how (enter team name here) will make it to the National Championship game.
1. Ohio State - beat Michigan - lose to Michigan by the slimest of margins
2. Michigan - beat Ohio State - lose to Ohio State by the slimest of margins
3. USC - win out - Michigan or Ohio St gets spanked
4. Florida - beat the dog crap out of Florida State and Arkansas - OR... Notre Dame beats USC and Michigan or Ohio St dominates the other one
5. Notre Dame - beat the snot out of everyone left (including USC) - AND Ohio State or Michigan dominates the other, and Florida gets beat
6. Rutgers - beat the crap out of everyone left (especially against West Virginia) - AND Ohio State or Michigan dominates the other - AND Cal beats USC - AND USC beat Notre Dame - AND LSU beats Arkansas and Arkansas beats Florida
7. Arkansas - beat the crap out of everyone left (especially LSU and Florida) - AND Ohio State or Michigan dominates the other - AND Cal beats USC - AND USC beat Notre Dame - AND West Virginia beats Rutgers
there you have it. That's your checklist of what has to happen for each of those teams to make it to the BCS title game. Arkansas and Rutgers have slim shots, but looking at the matchups that are left, I think it's EXTREMELY possible.
Of course, looking at the point totals, it's EXTREMELY possible that we'll have an Ohio State vs. Michigan national title game. 10 Year anniversary of Florida vs. Florida State rematch in the Sugar Bowl.
I'm sure Bobby Bowden's still pissed off. :-)
And for those looking for some kind of commentary on Alabama's basketball team...let's wait and see what they do in the Paradise Jam this weekend. Jackson St. should've been an exhibition game.
¶ 12:50 PM1 commentslinks to this post
Seriously, I could not believe how much bigger all of their guys looked as compared to ours. They've got MEN on that football team. It's almost ridiculous how big and strong all of their players are compared to our boys.
Anyway, I just want to come out and say that Alabama had one of its better offensive showings of the year AFTER CAPPS WENT OUT WITH AN INJURY. JP looked calmer because he was getting more protection. Stabler and Capps both did not play this game.
" The offense appeared more wide-open than it had previously, though players pointed to better execution as the reason.
"We had no new protection and no new schemes," Wilson said. "I think the guys blocked a lot better. They came out with fire in their eyes."
Does this seem like a coincidence? Does this mean that BETTER PLAYERS have been RIDING THE BENCH in favor of the two jackasses, BJ Stabler and Chris Capps? Absolutely it does, and I hope that Shula and Rader feel like idiots this morning. And if they couldn't see the difference last night, then I don't even know where to begin except for making a call to the movers and making sure a truck is waiting for Coach whenever he gets home.
It's performances like last night that really get you pissed off. LSU is a DAMN good football team, especially when they're on a roll, and we played well enough to hang with them. A couple of red zone turnovers and a couple of missed field goals spelled our doom, but for the most part we played well enough to win in Baton Rouge against the nation's number 1 ranked defense. So explain what happened in Tuscaloosa last weekend against the nation's number 92 ranked defense.
Oh well, here's hoping Keith Brown is doing ok. That play looked like it could be a break, but I seriously hope not. Probably a high ankle sprain. I'm hoping the coaches just put him right into a hot tub after the game and let the ankle soak overnight, cause we could REALLY use him this week against Auburn.
This does NOT look good.
Alas, they played better, and a lot of that has to do with the offensive line. Different personnel does mean different results. Wasn't it Einstein that said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results?"
Alas, while the rest of the country is watching the Buckeyes and the Wolverines next Saturday, I'll be watching the Iron Bowl. :-) That's right...finally it's IRON BOWL WEEK!
Here ya go. No big plays this weekend. These games are a little bit more difficult to pick. I went 2-2 last night (as far as stars go -- only 1-1 on actual games). So this morning everybody's a Rutgers fan, right? :-)
1 star plays:
TONIGHT! UTEP (+1.5) at UAB --- UAB hasn't impressed me very much, and I'm sure that Mike Price will make it a point to put a beating on UAB in Birmingham, simply because of the fact that there will be ALL SORTS of media coverage from Alabama people, especially with Mike Shula's job status at the moment. Price is one of those guys that just loves to prove people wrong. FINAL RESULT: UTEP 36 UAB 17 (Gary wins 1) 3-2
TOMORROW! Wisconsin (-1.5) at Iowa --- Iowa's fallen off the face of the earth. Their program is in some serious trouble at the moment (see Georgia and Alabama also). After the beating they took by Northwestern last week, I think Wisconsin will handle this game pretty easily. They've just got the better football team. They'll run the football, throw to the tight ends, and keep Iowa's not-so-deadly-anymore offense off the field. What happened to Drew Tate? FINAL RESULT: Wisconsin 24 Iowa 21 (Gary wins 1) 4-2
Wake Forest (+8.5) at Florida State --- Wake's got a lot on the line. Yes, I know Florida State does to, but do you really think they'll be able to handle a DAMN GOOD Wake Forest team, whose offense won't even let Florida State's on the field. Even when they get on the field, what could they do against a very good Demon Deacon defense? The line moved a TON on this game. It opened at Florida State -5 and swelled to -8.5. Always bet against the public on major line moves. It hasn't failed us yet. :-) FINAL RESULT: Wake Forest 30 Florida State 0 (Gary wins 1) 5-2
Vandy at Kentucky (-2) --- Some people may say that Kentucky could be due for a letdown after an emotional victory over Georgia last weekend. I think Kentucky wants this one just as bad as they wanted the Georgia game. This game would make the Wildcats bowl eligible. Plus the fact that Kentucky has the better athletes. Vandy's good, but they won't beat Kentucky on the road. FINAL RESULT: Kentucky 38 Vandy 26 (Gary wins 1) 6-2
Alabama (+18) at LSU --- Alabama hasn't been an 18 point underdog in over 40 years. Probably since the Ears Whitworth days before Bear Bryant. The Tide ALWAYS play to the level of their competition, and this will be no different. Alabama's been a double digit underdog only 10 times in the past 40 years (3 this year), and they've covered 9 of them. I think Alabama rights the ship at least a little bit this week. Defense and special teams will help them out TREMENDOUSLY. Don't be suprised if Alabama pulls a shocker. Remember, this is a revenge game for the Tide, since LSU ruined their perfect season on senior day last year. FINAL RESULT: LSU 28 Alabama 14 (Gary wins 1) 7-2
Louisiana Tech at Hawaii (-38) --- This is a big number, but Hawaii puts up A LOT of points, while not giving up very many. They average 47.3 ppg while only giving up 23. They haven't done me wrong yet this year, so I'm stickin with em. FINAL RESULT: Hawaii 61 La Tech 17 (Gary wins 1) 8-2
So this week, if you don't go by stars, I was 7 and 1. Along with all of last week, not counting stars, I'm 16 - 3 out of my last 19 picks. Not too shabby.
¶ 9:42 AM2 commentslinks to this post
We play #12 LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend. We haven't lost two straight in Baton Rouge since 1946 and 48.
LSU is has allowed only 90 points total all year. That leads the SEC. They are also the leading scoring team in the SEC with 315 total points. This does not bode well for an Alabama team that has given up 166 points (#6 in the SEC) and has only scored 238 points (#6 in the SEC again).
At the same time, we have owned LSU in Baton Rouge, and crazy things seem to happen there when Alabama plays. In 2004 there was the no call that completely changed the game. In 2002, there was the ass whipping by alabama. In 2000 there was the 30-28 loss to Saban's squad (first since the Nixon era), the week after DuBose was told would not be returning as coach. Then there was the 98 game where Bama caught two tipped passes in the final 3 minutes that resulted in scores and a 22-16 comeback victory over LSU after being down 16-7 with about 4 minutes left. In 96, we shut them out at home, etc. So there is ALWAYS something crazy happening in Baton Rouge during night games between Alabama and LSU. Alabama is WAY undermanned and is not nearly as good as LSU, but if they win, don't say I didn't tell you.
¶ 4:09 PM1 commentslinks to this post
last week was TREMENDOUS. this week probably won't be, but we'll attempt it anyway.
2 star plays:
Wyoming at BYU (-18) --- BYU has covered EVERY GAME this year. The linesmakers will try and make one almost impossible so that no team will cover every spread. I don't think it's this one. BYU's too good for Wyoming.
Louisville (-6.5) at Rutgers --- I said if this line dropped below 7, I'd make a play on it. Louisville doesn't win games close (don't pay attention to Syracuse or Cinci) against quality opposition. Rutgers is a DAMN good football team, but they just don't have the horses to win this one. Look for something like 24-17 or something along those lines.
¶ 11:56 AM1 commentslinks to this post
Cecil Hurt is the Alabama beat writer for the Tuscaloosa News. He's got about as much insight into this program as anybody.
What are your thoughts on bringing back Neil Callaway to handle the O-Line and Offensive Coordinator duties? My gut tells me he's out at Georgia after this year. If not him, who are some qualified OCs that might come to the Capstone?
I respect Neil Callaway as a coach, but I do not think Mike Shula would have him on a short list of possible assistant coaching hires. I also don't think any veterans of the Mike DuBose staff are likely to be rehired at UA in the foreseeable future.
Is the Alabama job back to being one of the better jobs in the country? If not, why not? If so, why is it?
Alabama is a very good, very demanding job. Obviously it's better than it was in 2003 because there are no NCAA sanctions involved. But there are 20-25 jobs where you have a legitimate chance to win a national championship, and Alabama is one of them.
Can Coach Shula make it through another 7-5 or 8-4 season next year, even with a change at OC?
I really try to avoid "number-based" conjecture. There are good (or at least understandable) 8-4 seasons and bad 8-4 seasons. Progress is an elusive thing to define, but most smart football fans know it when they see it. If progress isn't visible, then, no, 8-4 or 7-5 probably wouldn't be good enough. On the other hand, I don't get a vote. (g)
¶ 11:03 AM0 commentslinks to this post
This is from the Bamamag board. We knew this all along, but this helps prove it.
TEAM STATS AND NOTES vs. MSU
- 67 Total Offensive Plays resulted in 30 Positive Plays and 37 Negative Plays (Positive Play is netting plus four yards or converting First Downs). A staggering 55% of our plays vs. MSU were negative plays (Lessthan 4 yards gained or failure to convert on 3rd down/4th down).
* Note: In the second half, the drives on offense lasted 3 plays, 7 plays, 5 plays, 3 Plays, 4 Plays, and 3 Plays. Alabama had the ball only 22 offensive snaps in the second half spread over 6 separate drives.
II. INDIVIDUAL STATS AND NOTES vs. MSU
- In 67 total offensive plays, Tide players had 57 individual breakdowns in assignment. (All 12 Drives included individual breakdowns that led to negative plays).
- Individual Breakdowns by Player:
Chris Capps = 19 Travis McCall = 7 J.P. Wilson = 6 Justin Britt = 4 Andre Smith = 4 Kyle Tatum = 3 Kenneth Darby = 3 Antoine Caldwell = 3 Marlon Davis = 2 B.J. Stabler = 2 Tim Castille = 1 Jimmy Johns = 1
* Note: Chris Capps had individual breakdowns in 10 of the 12 drives. Of Capps 19 breakdowns, he was beaten outside 12 times, beaten inside 3 times, bullrushed and ran over 3 times, and once simply blocked nobody and allowed two defenders free to the quarterback.
* Note: Britt, McCall, Caldwell, and Stabler all received 1 individual breakdown as a result of offensive penalties in the game.
- Individual Breakdowns by Position:
Left Tackle = 4 Left Guard = 4 Center = 3 Right Guard = 4 Right Tackle = 22
Quarterback = 6 Running Back = 5 Wide Receiver = 2 Tight End = 7
* Note: The Right Tackle position had 7 more individual breakdowns than the other four offensive line positions combined.
* Note: Right Tackle had a breakdown that disrupted the offensive play on almost 33% of the plays from scrimmage.
* Note: The Quarterback breakdowns included 4 poor passes and 2 throws into coverage.
* Note: The Runningback breakdowns included 2 poor blocks on blitz-pickup, 2 missed running lanes, and 1 dropped pass.
*** This analysis shows that the offensive mistakes came from every position, but I am sure that you can surmise that one position in particular is the difference in this team moving the football consistently and failing to produce on offense. You simply cannot win football games in the Southeastern Conference when one position is failing to do their job on over 30% of the plays.
The problems at this position have been apparent since last season --the two individuals who are playing at Right Tackle are not the answer. It should have been recognized by someone at the start of this year(or even the end of last year) that these two players were not the answer. I am dumbfounded at the lack of effort to move somebody else to this position in an attempt to stop the problems that have persisted all year. And if you say that we simply cannot move Stabler outside or that the younger guys would be even worse (hard to imagine), then I am dumbfounded with the coaching staff's failure to recognize this and bring in a Right Tackle from JUCO to fill the gap until the young guys are ready. And I guess I am most disturbed with the fact that these two players in particular at Right Tackle have regressed in the last year, instead of showing any signs of improvement.
In any event, this team is one position away in my opinion from being able to take this offense to a competitive level. Playcalling has certainly been an issue, as has the general offensive strategy, but it is simply impossible to sustain drives when one position is faltering at such a high rate.
If we want to salvage this season, changes have to be made -- either move someone else to Right Tackle and give them a chance OR max protect with a tight end double team every time on the right side, but 10 weeks into the season, it is past time to make some sort of adjustment.
¶ 10:57 AM3 commentslinks to this post
Ray Melick is a sports columnist for the Birmingham News and is also co-hosts "The Big Time" from 3-6pm on WJOX 690am in Birmingham, AL.
What are your thoughts on bringing back Neil Callaway to handle the O-Line and Offensive Coordinator duties? My gut tells me he's out at Georgia after this year.
I'm a big fan of Neil Callaway, as an offensive line coach. As a coordinator, he's mostly the guy who ``coordinates'' what the head coach wants done during the week, but has always worked for head coaches who called the plays. However, he's the best offensive line coach Alabama has had in the last 20 years. I don't know that he will be `out' at Georgia after this year; as I said, he's really the o-line coach who works with Richt during the week.
Is the Alabama job back to being one of the better jobs in the country?
Alabama is still a great job and always has been. Coaches know it's one of those jobs where you can win. No coach has failed to win at least 10 games there since Ears Whitworth - and before him, every coach won 10 games at least once back to the early 1900s. The facilities, the money, the recruiting base, the political support - it's all there.
Can Coach Shula make it through another 7-5 or 8-4 season next year, even with a change at OC?
I don't know if Coach Shula can make it through another 7-5 or 8-4 season next year. He is is own offensive coordinator. It might help if he'd release those responsibilities to someone else, but I don't think he will. On the other hand, Mal Moore has a lot invested in Shula. He doesn't want to have to admit he made a mistake.
Hopefully we'll be keeping in touch with both Ray and Mitch as we go along for the rest of the year, on through the basketball season, and into the preseason.
¶ 11:03 AM1 commentslinks to this post
This is a VERY short interview with Mitch Dobbs from BamaMag.com.
What are your thoughts on bringing back Neil Callaway to handle the O-Line and Offensive Coordinator duties? My gut tells me he's out at Georgia after this year.
My thoughts are that I'd probably have a better chance of winning the Alabama's governor's race as a write-in candidate. Didn't his coaching career reach its apex about 10 years ago? I hate to be critical, but I truly doubt he could coach Chris Capps or Kyle Tatum up any better.
Is the Alabama job back to being one of the better jobs in the country?
It's obvious that it's a better job than when Franchione, Price and Shula were hired. And yes, I think one of the best in the country thanks to all the resources that go into winning here.
Can Coach Shula make it through another 7-5 or 8-4 season next year, even with a change at OC?
Short answer: It depends. There has to be a growing level of confidence (not by me, but by Mal Moore, Robert Witt and the Board of Trustees) that Coach Shula has the program going in the right direction. That can't be measured in wins alone.
Following Mississippi State's 24-16 win over Alabama Saturday, Mitch Dobbs of BamaMag.com questioned Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator David Rader. Here is the transcript of that interview.
Alabama Offensive Coordinator David Rader got into the subject of evaluation of the Crimson Tide offense.
Rader: We go to the drawing board every week. We evaluate what the opponent has done throughout the season. We evaluate what we've done. We see ways that other people have attacked them and been successful with them, and we take some of the things we see and what we do and put it together and say this is the best way to get into the end zone.
I hope we haven't crossed the line where the guys worry about it now and instead of saying "Yeah, let"s score." Instead "Oh, here we are. What are we going to do now?"
We don't score. So I've got to do a better job of preparing our guys to score touchdowns because we're right there. To me it's epitomized by John Parker's play at the end of the half, you know? We have a good play called. There may have been somebody open, there may not have, but for sure it opened up right in front of John Parker and he's a good runner. He slammed his body as hard as he could in there. He's done that on many occasions in our two-minute drills in practice. I truly thought he was going to be in and we come up a millimeter short. It's kind of a microcosm of where we are right there. Good effort. Do good things, just not enough to get in the end zone.
Dobbs: Is there room to ask, and this may be stupid, philosophical questions about what you're doing, if you're going in the right direction or not? If you're ever going to get that next millimeter or not?
Rader: I hope I can answer that question. The evaluation takes place immediately. What could have been done different and how'd they play us, and it will come again as we prepare for the next game. I'm not real sure about what you mean by philosophical.
Dobbs: Is there questioning the big picture, the philosophy, the principles of what you're trying to get done?
Rader: I'm not saying this to be to be sarcastic, but the big picture is, what you're alluding to is to score touchdowns and win football games.
Dobbs: But that's an OUTCOME.
Rader: No, that's what we're attempting to do. We've thrown it. We've run it. We've play-action passed it. We've run "naked" and boots. We've run draws. We've run screens. We've run fades. We've run slants. We've run outs. We've done a variety of things, and not just to say because we were grasping at straws. We did that because our offense allows us to do that and our preparation says this is the best way to attack the team that we're playing. I feel real secure that no one has really sunk their teeth into "they're going to do this play when they get down there" because we haven't done that. I'm just really stuck on the philosophical thing because our offense allows us to do a lot of things and we've tried to do it by air and we've tried to do it by run. Last week I thought we'd turned a corner because. John Parker did a nice job on the first drive to get us down there, especially on the post play to DJ, to get down there. You needed points. Sure it would have lifted our bench, no question about it. And that's one of the reasons that we went for it at the half, because we felt like we could get in and we would have had that boost into halftime.
Dobbs: Do you lose the line of scrimmage more times than acceptable down in the red zone? I hear coaches all the time, "You've got to win at the line of scrimmage." How is your assessment of that?
Rader: I have the notes right here and I haven't gone through them yet. I don't know. Did we go backwards much down there today?
Dobbs: I don't know.
Rader: I'm sure that can be thrown into the hat. I'm not real sure how to define lose the line of scrimmage. Does that mean turning people loose, or not getting push, or not making the right call-
Dobbs: Have success in the terms that you define success on the line?
Rader: The only way to define it is to score touchdowns and win and right now we're not real successful. It cost us today. It cost us dearly because we couldn't get it in. I really want to answer your question and I feel like I'm going in circles. I hope you don't think I'm trying to be evasive or anything, but we truly take what we think is best into that area to score and we didn't get it in, and we have to get it in.
¶ 7:07 PM0 commentslinks to this post
This was, by far, the most disappointing loss in the past three years. After Brodie went down in 2004, we expected to lose to some decent football teams (Arkansas, South Carolina, Minnesota, etc). Last year we lost to two top 10 programs. This year, we had lost to 3 top 13 teams on the road (one in OT).
Yesterday, we got beat at home by a team that's 2-7 (was winless in the conference) and that hadn't won a road game in the SEC since 2000.
The bad thing is, it wasn't even close. They came out and completely dominated us. Fans will say "the defense didn't give up any points in the second half," but I think that had more to do with State than with us. The bottom line is this: with under 3 minutes left and 3 timeouts, we couldn't stop them from running the football right down our throats with a 3rd string running back and a weak offensive line.
It didn't hurt that we got inside State's 15 yard line four times and only got three field goals out of the deal.
Oh well. Here's the deal. If you read this and you're a Tide fan, send our Athletic Director, Mal Moore, an e-mail at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know what you think.
I'm sick of being second tier. I don't care if we beat LSU or Auburn. It's only going to piss me off that we couldn't beat State and Arkansas and Tennessee. There is talent on this football team. The depth isn't all the way there (yes, sanctions do still hinder this team) but we should still beat teams like Mississippi State, especially at home.
To everyone that saw me defend Shula earlier in the year, I apologize. I had no idea it was this bad. Kudos to you for catching it earlier than me. I have learned the error of my ways. I have a strong feeling that Butch Davis hasn't accepted that North Carolina job just yet. Hmm...wonder why.
Here's some pictures to sum up how things went yesterday.