Friday, April 20, 2007  
Coach Saban laid out his plans for the A-Day game. He mentioned that certain media members will be coaches on the sidelines...I'm still waiting for my phone call.

Other than that, Coach went on a rant about how we need to forget about winning championships and focus on what we need to do to get to that point where we can talk about it. We're apparently not there yet - so to everyone that thinks we'll be competing for a national title this year...let this be your warning. Shula did more damage to this program than any of us will know, and it's going to take a little while to fix it.

Lionel Mitchell will be lining up with the first string on Saturday, but his starting job is far from secure. He'll have to prove himself in the fall against Eric Gray, who is sidelined right now with an injury.

I didn't realize this, but apparently Coach Saban still hasn't signed his new contract. The first year is only worth $3.5 million, but the total contract is worth $32 million over 8 years. My guess is that they're still working on the buyout clause. Just a guess though.

Coach went on a rant about expectations around here.

  • Asked about reaching his declared objectives of spring practice following the penultimate workout, Saban found his opening.

    "It's a work in progress," he started. "We've made a lot of progress. I don't think we are where we want to be."

    Then Saban got started, eventually raising his voice to make his point.

    "What the amazing thing to me is," Saban said, "how we can have so many people that think about what the result can be, the result they would like for it to be and the expectations of that result and talk about winning championships and all that kind of stuff when the thing we need to be doing is figuring out what we need to do to do it.

    "We have too many people who think that way and not enough people who think what do I need to do every day to be as good as I can be so we have the best chance to do that. We don't quite get that."

    As the vent continued, Saban didn't call out any players by name but they likely know who they are. He also alluded to past success at Alabama meaning nothing about any future success.

    "There's too many people," Saban said, "who are comfortable and satisfied and not hungry enough to do what they've got to do to do it because they hear too much stuff about all this stuff all the time around here. That's got to change and we've got to change it and we're changing it."

    How many articles can you have about Simeon Castille being a standout this spring? Apparently not enough.

    Tony Barnhart's latest article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution gives us an idea of what Coach Saban and Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie must do to be successful at their new jobs. Here's the Saban list...

  • 1. Make sure the Alabama program speaks with only one voice — his. Saban has limited access to media and fans since he took over, which has ruffled some feathers.

    But that kind of control and discipline might be exactly what Alabama needs.

    "Alabama football is at its best when there is one, clear voice and everybody knows that person is in charge," former 'Bama coach Mike DuBose said.

    Since Bear Bryant retired in 1982, people with money and power felt they should get unlimited access to the Crimson Tide coach. That's about to change.

    2. Recruit like he did in Baton Rouge. Few stockpiled talent better than Saban in his final three years at LSU. He must do the same at Alabama the next three years to bring the Crimson Tide's roster to the level of the LSUs and Floridas of the SEC.

    So far, so good for Saban, who in February signed the AJC's 19th-ranked class, despite getting a late start.

    His pitch? "He's not going to make you feel all good about yourself," Marist linebacker and Tide signee Jennings Hester said. "He lets you know that you have to earn everything, no matter who you are."

    3. Beat Auburn. Tommy Tuberville's Tigers have beaten Alabama five straight times. Even tougher for Tide fans to take: Auburn's 22-15 win in November was its fourth in a row at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

    It didn't take Saban long to figure out how much the Iron Bowl rivalry meant.

    "You know, we have an opponent in this state that we work every day, 365 days a year, to dominate," Saban said at his introductory news conference. "That's our goal."

    I may not post again until Monday, but we'll see what happens. Depends on if my laptop can start working in Tuscaloosa. We'll have plenty of pictures, etc from this weekend in Tuscaloosa, so be looking forward to that on Monday. ROLL TIDE!

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