Well, they made the announcement yesterday, and our new offensive coordinator is Jim McElwain from Fresno State. He's a helluva quarterbacks coach, from what I've read, and the proof is in the pudding. I'll be interested to see exactly how he works with John Parker Wilson and Star Jackson this season. You can read some background information, along with the story from the press conference, here.
There's a very telling line from the Press-Register's article about the hiring. "The Crimson Tide's new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach will hit the recruiting trail today. There are no two-week notices in collegiate coaching, especially with National Signing Day a week away." Ain't that the truth. Screw packing your bags and all that. Just go buy some clothes with your new pay raise and get in the car. You've got a trip to Foley lined up my friend.
Of course, you've definitely gotta like Pat Hill's comment about all of it. Simply put, "there aren't too many Alabamas."
Ian chimes in on what I've thought all along - it's still going to be offense by committee. Saban knows what wins in the SEC, so he'll stick with that, while letting McElwain focus on improving John Parker Wilson as a quarterback. He's a senior now, so there may not be much that can be done...but we shall see.
After finding out that we landed McElwain as OC, we also found out that we got a commitment from Glenn Harbin, a 6'6" 250lb DE from McGill-Toolen. Helluva pick up. That's one more 4-star to add to the list. Read his bio on Rivals here.
Alonzo Lawrence is also set to announce tomorrow, and EVERYBODY, including coaches and family, expect him to commit to Alabama. This is another helluva pickup because he's a damn good shut-down corner. We need another one of those, on the opposite side of Kareem, next year.
¶ 10:00 AM1 commentslinks to this post
Well, the Tide played decent last night, but just couldn't pull it out. Again, giving up 12 threes was a killer. Also, missing 11 of 27 foul shots was a killer. At one point, with under 3 minutes left, we were down two, and had missed 9 foul shots. Always gotta look at the "what ifs." Regardless, Tennessee was clutch, and we were not. We had a billion turnovers, shot poorly from three, gave up way too many threes, only hit 59% from the free throw line, and were still in the game. Again - "what if."
Seriously though. Tennessee hit 9 of 12 from 3 point range in the 2nd half. Who does that? I don't think kids can do that even in warm ups with nobody on them. Read Ian's blog here.
Got an e-mail this morning telling me that WNSP in Mobile is reporting that the South Alabama head coaching job is down to Kevin Steele and Dan McCarney. Here's hoping it's McCarney. Steele's a helluva recruiter, so I would hate to see him go. Of course, if he's gone, I'm sure Kirby Smart would move up to DC and we'd just bring in another position coach.
KMPH in Fresno, CA is reporting that McElwain to Bama is a done deal, unless he has a last minute change of heart. It is also being reported at BamaOnline.com, which is generally pretty reliable. They're havng a press conference in Fresno this morning to make some announcements regarding the situation, so we'll have to wait until it's official. Press conference is at 11am CST.
If you've been wondering where Rush Propst went, he's coaching at Colquitt County in Georgia now, which is in one of the toughest high school football divisions in the country. Read the article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution here.
¶ 9:28 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Still nothing out of Tuscaloosa regarding the hiring of a new offensive coordinator, but at the same time, as I said yesterday, it doesn't really matter. Whoever comes in will be a quarterbacks coach with experience calling plays, but he won't be bringing his own offense. Coach Saban knows what he wants to run, and it is what it is.
Let me get this straight. Auburn is ranked #8 in the first pre-season SI top 25? They lose their starting quarterback, a key member of their secondary, and 2 starting defensive linemen and they're expected to be a top 10 team? Gimme a break, or at least a toke off of whatever pipe Stewart Mandell's been smokin.
One of Ole Miss's recruits, Jared Foster from Gulf Coast Community College (yes, same as Terrance Cody), has had his scholarship offer pulled after he was arrested in Oxford for selling steroids. Read more here.
McNulty, the OC from Rutgers, is expected to stay at the school, according to this report.
According to the bamaonline.com message boards, Terrance Cody's visit to Miami has been cancelled, due to Miami not having anymore scholarships to offer for defensive linemen. We really need this kid. Having him and Murphy fronting what looks to be a hellacious defensive line will be key for next season. Even though they're young, they'll still be DAMN talented.
McElwain is the front runner for the offensive coordinator position, currently. Read this article from the Fresno Bee. I like his resume, so we shall see what happens. Message boards are spreading rumors that we could hear an announcement this afternoon. Of course, there was also a flight to New Orleans last night to pick up Gary Crowton from LSU. I think this story's a long way from being over.
Last, but certainly not least, Alabama hosts #8 Tennessee tonight at Coleman Coliseum. The game will be on ESPN at 8pm CST, so make sure you've got your DVR set. For some reason, Gottfried's teams have lined up well against Bruce Pearl's Tennessee teams the last two seasons. 2 years ago, they came into town, ranked #8, and got beat 93-79. Last year we went into Thompson-Boling Arena and took them to overtime before falling 66-63. I would almost guarantee that Hollinger will start at the point tonight, and we'll substitute freely all evening. If the guys play with the same defensive intensity that they did on Saturday, we've got a shot to win this game because, athletically, we match up well. Here's hoping our shots are falling and theirs aren't. If we can sneak this one out, we've got a good chance to beat LSU at Coleman on Saturday, which would make us 3-4 in the SEC. Not too shabby for a team that we thought for a while wouldn't win a single game.
¶ 9:02 AM0 commentslinks to this post
In all seriousness, yes, I do hate Mondays. But at least the weekend was good and packed. I almost need a weekend from my weekend.
Went to see the Foo Fighters on Friday night. This picture should sum it up.
The show was AWESOME. It was, honestly, the best arena show I have ever seen. I've seen a lot of bands. Aerosmith. KISS. Sammy Hagar. Brooks and Dunn. Nickelback. It was just awesome. He made you feel like you were in a 500 person club watching a REAL rock n roll band. Long hair, facial hair, black t-shirt, jeans, guitar solos, screaming into the mic, beer. It was a GREAT show. Seriously, if you get a chance to check it out, do. I may be flying to Philadelphia to check it out again with my buddy from Penn State.
Aside from that, I watched the Bama basketball team drop the woodshed on Auburn on Saturday, then drove to Jackson, TN to play a headlining gig at a club called Main Street Live. Best venue I've ever played. Not the biggest, but it was perfect size. Holds about 250 people, but has a nice PA system, good lighting rig, and a big ass stage. It was great. Only about 90 people paid, but that was plenty for me. I enjoyed myself. Again, if you haven't heard the band, head on over to prosevere.com to check it out.
Alabama moved to the front of DE Glenn Harbin's list over the weekend, and speculation is that he may be finished taking visits. Alabama offers what he's looking for academically, and he fits a need that we have on the football team. He would be a BIG pickup for us.
The message boards at BamaOnline.com are saying that McElwain, from Fresno State, is now in Tuscaloosa meeting with Coach Saban. McElwain would be the perfect fit. Saban doesn't want an "offensive coordinator." He wants a QBs coach that has experience calling plays. Regardless of who they bring in, they're going to run Saban's offense. He knows you have to run the football, but you have to be explosive as well. Basically, he needs somebody that will be a part of the "team." The offense-by-committee thing isn't going away anytime soon, so I wouldn't look for us to run a lot of stuff that Fresno ran. I would look for more balance and probably better playcalling.
The basketball team played with a lot more fire on Saturday, but they still didn't overly dominate. They won big because they hit the 3 ball. You can't live and die by the 3, because this team doesn't have good enough shooters to do that. You'll get lucky and have a game like that every now and then (where we hit 12 of 25), but not a lot of the time. Regardless, here's hoping the hot streak will continue through tomorrow night when Tennessee comes to town for a Tuesday night matchup at Coleman. Hopefully the fan base will be rejuvenated for it.
¶ 9:21 AM2 commentslinks to this post
I'm goin to see the Foo Fighters tonight, so my day is already going great. It's been a helluva 24 hours, but I'm ready for tonight.
Went over to Ben's Place in Southaven, MS last night to eat. Good food. GREAT baked potato, along with some hush puppies and a good old fashioned cheeseburger. Wonderful restaurant. Got to watch my boys Zach and Chris playing some cover songs again.
I know you're all planning on watching the senior bowl tomorrow, but don't forget to watch the basketball team attempt to get their first SEC win over the shorthanded Auburn Tigers who have already beaten #15 Ole Miss. If you thought other teams had thrown up a lot of 3s against us, you ain't seen nothin yet. These guys live and die by the three ball. Read more about the matchup here.
Everybody that's worried about Terrance Cody going to "tha U" shouldn't be. "Coach Nick Saban is the reason I chose Alabama," Cody said. "I like the school and the players." Read more about the Gulf Coast's top DT here.
Florida somehow managed to get a 5-star from California...because they gave the kid's girlfriend a scholarship as well - she's a gymnast on scholarship at UCLA. Does this seem dirty to you? Immediately after winning the Heisman, before Tebow talked to ANYBODY ELSE, coach Urban Meyer dialed up Carl Moore on his cell phone and gave the phone to Tebow. "Carl! I just won the Heisman! Come on down here and let's win a National Championship!" Wow. Just wow.
Ok, so here's the triangle. Petrino stole Ellis Johnson from Mississippi State. Spurrier stole Brian VanGorder, former Georgia defensive coordinator, from the Atlanta Falcons, where he was linebackers coach. Now, VanGorder is going back to the Falcons, after less than a month, to be the defensive coordinator there, so Spurrier stole Ellis Johnson from Petrino, which leaves Arkansas without a defensive coordinator, currently. Interesting triangle, ehh?
¶ 9:34 AM0 commentslinks to this post
I've got a lot of work to do, so I won't talk long, but I'll spill a lil bit of news first.
I got hooked up fat by one of my buddies - I've got tickets about as close to the stage as you can get for the Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, and Against Me tomorrow night. Hellllllll yeah. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I'm pretty sure that everybody has read that Julio was recruiting for Oklahoma on his trip to Gainesville last week, so the coaches asked him to leave early. Well, turns out that source was incorrect. According the writer of the story "I was wrong." Read more thanks to Ian over here.
Ed Orgeron, former Ole Miss head coach, has been hired as defensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints. Good pickup for the Saints.
Saban's proposed salary for a new OC would be $350,000/year, which would be the highest on the staff. Another name that popped up is the offensive coordinator for TCU. Not sure if I like that idea, but we shall see.
¶ 11:05 AM1 commentslinks to this post
Man, are you serious? I've had enough work already to make up a full day...not just to get me to 11am.
I just heard about Dana Jacobson while watching ESPN's first take in my office. Now THAT is funny. She was plastered and had to be drug off the stage after exclaiming "F--- Notre Dame, F--- Touchdown Jesus, and F--- Jesus." Read more about it here.
the face of career suicide...
FootballScoop.com says that Coach Saban is targeting Rutgers OC John McNulty. I don't know the validity of it, but he would definitely be a good pickup. His run first attack, with an explosive passing game, was very effective at Rutgers. I would love to have this guy. Read his bio and stats here.
Florida has jumped up to the top of the Rivals recruiting rankings, dropping us back to #3. It won't happen next year because they've only got something like 14 seniors graduating. We shall see exactly what happens with the rankings, since we still have several big names still on the list, including Alonzo Lawrence, Julio, and Mark Ingram. Check out the list here.
Mark Ingram has set his announcement time for 9am CST on National Signing Day. Should be a fun day. Read more here.
Coach Saban finally made a statement regarding the offensive coordinator position. If you want to know anything about the search, "ask Ian." Now THAT's funny. Hahaha. Read Ian's blog here.
¶ 10:52 AM0 commentslinks to this post
...that Georgetown / Syracuse game last night. You wanna talk about a good basketball game? That Sapp kid can really make plays in the clutch. I wish we had somebody like that. Doesn't do anything the entire game and then, in the closing minutes, when it matters the most, comes up with a big 3 pointer, some big free throws, a key defensive stop, etc. He's just a helluva ballplayer. Good game to watch.
Tonight we get to check out Tennessee again. I have a bad feeling about them coming into town next Tuesday. Could get ugly. Anyway, Tennessee's at Kentucky tonight.
Well, according to Kirk McNair from BamaMag.com, Coach Saban has officially offered the offensive coordinator position to Georgia Southern Head Coach Chris Hatcher. Thanks to RollBamaRoll.com for the info.
Paul Finebaum focuses his article this week on how Gottfried's "same tune" is getting old to Alabama fans. He points out that, in the last 23 SEC games, Gottfried has only won 7. Not good. He looks at the idea of whether or not Alabama would make a change at the head coaching position or not, having just thrown the bank at Nick Saban. Read more here.
¶ 9:22 AM0 commentslinks to this post
There's not a whole lot going on today. Went to see a band called Four Year Strong last night. Really poppy. My little bro's band played with them. They're called A Study in Scarlet. Check em out if you get a chance.
Anyway, the latest I'm hearing is that we might be looking at Gary Crowton, the OC from LSU. After Jeff Brohm told Saban that he's not interested, I think we all should know by now exactly what Coach is looking for.
Coach Saban is looking for an offensive coordinator with experience calling plays, but who won't be upset by the whole "offense by committee" idea. Saban still wants to have his hand in the offense, but he doesn't want to have to worry about calling plays. Same thing that Houston Nutt did at Arkansas and at Ole Miss. We shall see who else will be a player. I'm willing to bet it'll be somebody we haven't thought about.
¶ 9:24 AM0 commentslinks to this post
By now you should know me. I normally don't post on the weekends unless something just needs dire attention.
The basketball team has now lost 5 out of 6, including their last four straight to make them 0-4 in conference play.
So what happened? Well, I'll do my best to give you a short answer and then try and prove it.
We have a bad collection of clutch players. That's all there is to it. I'll try and prove my point by showing you the last few minutes of the last two ballgames. Maybe you'll begin to understand it.
Wed, Jan 16th @ Georgia 1:42 - Riley hits two free throws to cut the lead to 4, making it 55-51.
the team attempts a press, but there's a breakdown and they leave one guy completely open, ruining the defense.
They run back and setup their man-to-man defense
Georgia obviously does not have a play called for this situation. They attempt to drive and dump a couple of times, but it doesn't work. They make several passes on the perimeter. 1:06 With 5 seconds left on the shot clock, Humphrey drains a 3 to extend the lead to 7. He was Riley's man. Riley was picked by Hendrix's man. Hendrix, standing right in front of him, doesn't even lift an arm to put a hand in his face. 0:54.3 - Torrance brings it back down the floor, and, while making a moronic attempt to drive and dump between 3 defenders, dribbles it off a Bulldog player's foot. It goes out of bounds, giving us the ball back. 0:44.7 - Torrance, again dribbling out of control, throws an awful pass inside, between 3 defenders. Ball magically goes out on a UGA defender.
on the ensuing inbounds, Hollinger is all alone in the opposite corner, but they never find him. Instread, they throw it inbounds into traffic. Another bad, out of control, decision. 0:38.5 - they made 3 ill advised passes, then Riley, trying to be a hero, drives between 3 defenders towards the basket and loses the ball out of bounds to Georgia.
Sat, Jan 19th at home vs Mississippi State 3:59 - Hillman hits a freethrow to complete a 3-point play to cut the lead to 4, 59-55. 3:32 - Gordon, State's captain, makes a bad pass and Riley picks it off, giving us a chance to cut it to a one possession game. 3:11 - After running a decent offensive set moving the ball around, Pickett is in the corner and makes an AWFUL pass to Hendrix in the wing, which is picked off by Gordon, who runs the fast break and gets an easy slam. 61-55 Bulldogs.
Now, down by 6, they begin to get spastic with the ball again. 2:46 - They run a decent offensive set, but Hendrix gets the pass and shoots too quickly. He misses the shot and State gets the rebound because nobody attacked the basket. 3 guys were already back ready to play defense. 2:14 - After a decent defensive stand, Bama forces Stewart into a bad shot, but Alonzo Gee doesn't box out Vernardo, who gets the offensive rebound and tips the shot back in. 63-55 Bulldogs. 2:01 - Gee, who, I guess, was trying to make up for giving up an easy basket on the other end, tries to go one-on-one. He tries to do too much, loses control, and dribbles the ball out of bounds. 1:23 - Hansborough misses a 3-pointer, but, again, we fail to box out. We allow two straight offensive rebounds. Rhodes takes the ball back up and Hendrix fouls hard, obviously out of frustration. Rhodes hits one of two free throws. 64-55. 0:59.2 - Riley, rather than passing, dribbles at the top of the key for about 5 seconds, trying to find a lane to drive through, but loses control of the ball and has it stolen by Gordon, who run the fast break and throws and alley-oop to Stewart, who lays it in. 66-55 Bulldogs.
Yes, there is definitely a coaching problem. But there is also an experience problem. We are led to believe that all freshmen coming in now are awesome, and that's just not the case. Torrance, a sophomore, is not good under pressure, and neither is Pickett. But, for some reason, they won't give Hollinger the ball. Hollinger did just fine, in my opinion, last season. The offense always works better when he's running it.
Bottom line. Riley, Hendrix, Gee, Jemison, Picket, and Torrance, are ALL awful under pressure. I mean just pathetic. Until Gottfried figures out how to get them to calm down, we won't win a single ballgame, because every game in the SEC will be close. With us 0-4 already, with 6 road games left, and home games against Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Arkansas left, we look like we may only win 3 ballgames this season. If that. We shall see.
¶ 11:23 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Yeah, Friday. That wonderful, magical day that you don't have to worry about coming in the next day. That's what I'm talkin about. It's been a loooong long week.
The latest word is that former Michigan quarterbacks coach, Scott Loeffler, is in town interviewing for the QBs coaching position. That almost makes me wonder whether if we're going to have Pendry as the OC. You can only have 9 on-field coaches. I'll have to do a count in a little while.
The latest rumors are that Chris Hatcher, regardless of what he told the Georgia media, IS interested in the position. Jeff Brohm, who turned down Saban last season, looks to be the best bet of anybody. I'm curious if it's actually his offense though. I think Saban could really convince him to be a part of this team, now that his brother has graduated from Louisville.
Tomorrow, not only is there snow in the forecast for Tuscaloosa, but Mississippi State is coming to town with a 3-0 conference record. I have a feeling it could get ugly. Is it possible we could start out 0-4 in converence play? Yikes.
¶ 9:08 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Just kidding. Any plane tracking will only lead you to potential recruits right now.
If you've never seen Will Hoge, then you REALLY need to. This guy IS ROCK n ROLL. Period. He's a great songwriter and an amazing singer. Go check him out at myspace.com/willhoge. Seriously. Go. Now.
The Bama basketball team absolutely sucks. I don't know how else to put it. The team dropped their game at Georgia - an undermanned Georgia - last night, 61-54. And it wasn't even really that close. UGA led by double digits for almost the entire game. Our point guard play is atrocious. If you go back and watch the last two minutes, Torrance is an freaking idiot with the basketball. We have turnovers in the absolute most critical possessions. We don't block out on rebounds. We can't play rebounds. We just wait for something good to happen, rather than doing what we're supposed to, which is to MAKE something good happen. Pickett is just not a point guard. If they'll just leave it up to Hollinger, I think some good things will happen. Torrance is too sporadic.
If you wanna read about the Tide's 3rd loss in a row, and their 4th in 5 games, then read here and here. It's depressing to see. Once again, we relied on the 3 point shot, hitting only 3 of 20, and, even worse than that, we were, again, 7 of 14, or 50%, from the free throw line. Alabama is usually at the top of the SEC in shooting free throws. What the hell is happening?!?!
It's official - Major Applewhite has gone back to Texas. Still doesn't make sense to me, but, as I said before, I would assume that Davis is getting close to retirement. Hence why they're paying $250,000 to a running backs coach. But, alas, congrats to him and his family. Now it's time for us to start looking.
So, the list that's out right now features the following names:
Jeff Brohm (OC at Louisville) Norm Chow (fired OC at Tennessee Titans) Tom Clements (QB coach at Green Bay) Gary Crowton (OC at LSU) Adam Case (QB coach at Detroit Lions) Bryan Harsin (OC at Boise State) Chris Hatcher (HC at Georgia Southern) Chip Kelly (OC at Oregon) Freddie Kitchens (TE coach at Arizona Cardinals) Gus Malzahn (QB/OC at Tulsa) Joe Pendry (currently on staff) Jeff Rutledge (QB coach at Arizona Cards) Steve Sarkisian (QB coach at USC) Dabo Swinney (WR coach at Clemson)
Personally, I think I like the idea of Dabo Swinney. They don't run "the spread" at Clemson, but they do pass the ball well, and they run consistently. Not to mention the fact that he's an Alabama guy. Not sure if Saban wants to go that route.
Went bowling again last night. Not so good this go round. My little brother did bowl a 196 though, so that was cool.
I went out and bought the Egypt Central cd yesterday. Same cd that's been out for 3 years...but it's still cool to see a national release from those guys. I'm happy for them, so go out and support your local rock bands. Haha.
Ok, so it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Major Applewhite will be taking the position on Texas' coaching staff. From everyone that I talked to last night, the word is that Saban may have told him that it wouldn't be a bad idea to go check it out. He may have been forced out after signing day anyway, and at least this way he could say he left on his own terms.
So where do we go from here? Well, the message boards are focused on 3 key names that I've seen.
NORM CHOW - former Tennessee Titans and USC OC
Chow was at BYU from 1973-1999 as the offensive coordinator. Pete Carroll hired him away from NC State after just one year in 2001, and he immediately transformed the USC offensive to the most threatening in the country. In his 2nd season he had the Heisman Trophy winning QB (Carson Palmer) and again in his 4th season (Matt Leinart). In '05 he left to take over the OC position for the Tennessee Titans. He was released yesterday from that position. His wife still lives in California, so I could see where he would take the UCLA position since he's getting closer to retirement. He is 61 years old.
JEFF BROHM - former Louisville OC
Jeff Brohm got the Louisville OC position because of...well...his brother being a stud recruit, for all I can tell. Regardless of that, I was impressed with the offense he ran at Louisville, even though a good portion of it was actually Bobby Petrino's. Brohm offense was not bad this year, but the defense was awful. They weren't as high scoring as expected, but injuries and bad defensive play really hurt that team. I don't think Brohm is the "home-run" hire that we would be looking for, but it's definitely a possibility. He is only 36, and he knows how to manage a game. He has only coached at Louisville though, as QBs coach then as OC.
CHRIS HATCHER - head coach at Georgia Southern
Hatcher has been a head coach since 2000. He was at Valdosta State from 2000-2006, and he took over Georgia Southern this past season, leading them to a 7-4 record this season. He had a 76-12 record at Valdosta State, with a National Championship in 2004. Just to give you an idea of what he does, in '06 (his last year at Valdosta), his team was 6th in the country in passing yards (283ypg), 12th in scoring offense (34.9ppg), and 19th in total offense (389.9ypg). And that was a bad year. Another plus is that he has coaching experience in the SEC, coaching at Kentucky from 1997-1999.
It won't be known until tomorrow whether or not Major Applewhite has officially taken the job at Texas, but the Houston Chronicle's sources say that he is expected to accept the position. We won't know until Thursday due to job posting rules.
Scarbinsky feels that Saban really needs to get it right the 2nd time, since Auburn has redefined their offense. I, personally, don't think that Auburn has everything fixed yet. Dude's been on the job for a month. Nothing's been proven yet, other than the fact that they scored 23 points, in an overtime game, against Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
I went bowling with my friend Huey and his fiance last night. I bowled a 51 on the first game, then a 122, then a 155. If I had bowled more, maybe I would have gotten that 200 I've been looking for forever. Haha.
Seriously, it had been at least 2 years, maybe 3, since I've been bowling. I actually really enjoy it for some reason. Just seems relaxing or something.
I guess we'll go ahead and attack the biggest news of the day.
As everybody has heard, Major Applewhite is expected to interview with the Texas Longhorns today. The rumor is that he would take over coaching the running backs and would be given the title of Associate Head Coach. Whoopity Do.
I personally feel that this interview has more to do with the power struggle between himself and Joe Pendry than it does his desire to return back to where he played college ball. The bottom line is that he's making $250,000 at Alabama, has 2 more years left on his contract, and also has a buyout clause of $50,000 if he were to be hired somewhere else. Now, I know Texas has some stupid money, but would they really be willing to pay $300,000 for Applewhite to be a running backs coach? I seriously doubt it.
However, if there is a chance that Greg Davis, Applewhite's mentor through his playing days and beyond, may soon retire (which I doubt), then I can understand where this is coming from. Other than that, he must really hate having to work with Joe Pendry. I suppose that part of me could understand that, but I think that Coach Saban has Applewhite's best interest in mind. Older experience mixed with some fresh ideas and new blood. In theory, it should work. Obviously, this season, the offense didn't look as explosive as one would expect, but I think that had more to do with a makeshift offensive line, a new coaching staff, the lack of a power running game, and a not-so-talented quarterback.
The American-Statesman is quoting an unnamed source as saying that Applewhite to Texas "is a done deal." Now, what I'm not exactly sure about is the statement following that one. "They wouldn't have contacted him if they weren't close to hiring him." Does that make any sense at all? Yeah, I didn't think so either. How could they be close to hiring him if they haven't even contacted him? An agent can only do so much, and I don't think an agent would be behind him wanting to go back to his alma mater.
Alas, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Ian Rapoport is reporting that Applewhite is flying to Texas today to meet with school officials about the position, but that's about all we know.
I like how Damion Square, a Tide commit from Houston, put it. "I would've loved to have Applewhite. If he wants to win championships, and I know Applewhite does, then he'll stay. You don't win no championships at UT, man. You win championships at UA. But he's got to do what he's got to do."
Aside from all that mess, we've got a bit of good news. Antoine Caldwell is returning for his senior season. That's a breath of fresh air because he looks to be a key cog in the offensive line next year.
You wanna talk about making my day...how about both Peyton Manning AND the Cowboys getting beat in the same day. Both at home. Both in the playoffs. Now THAT is what I'm talking about.
Really, though, I hate Peyton Manning. I hate his commercials. I hated his Saturday Night Live skits. I hate his love for Tennessee. I hate his cockiness, and I hate his humongous forehead. His head is HUGE.
I also hate the Cowboys. Don't really have a reason, other than the fact that I'm a Steelers fan. That's about it. :-) Watching TO cry after the game was priceless.
Alonzo Lawrence looks like he's ours after this weekend's visit to the Capstone. "I would say Alabama is my No.1 school. Ole Miss is up there, but I don’t know coach [Houston] Nutt like I know coach Saban. Alabama didn’t try to pressure me to commit. They were straight. Alabama has the best of everything. They have the best locker room, weight room and practice fields. Everything they have is way better than any other school I have seen." Cha-ching.
This is what happens when you wait to commit to a school - you get rejected because other people wanted to be there before you. That's all there is to it. Gotta feel sorry for him a little bit, but it is what it is.
Well, they all thought that Felix Jones would be coming back for his senior season at Arkansas, but he's being projected as a 2nd rounder, and a possible late first rounder, so he's decided to declare for the NFL Draft. Should be good for us, because that leaves Arkansas with NO experienced playmakers. Read more here.
I don't watch a whole lot of NBA basketball, but I did happen to watch the 4th quarter of the Grizzles and Lakers last night. I have never in my life seen a more one-sided officiated game. Ever. With 9.2 seconds left in a 99-99 game, they called a completely bullshit foul on Rudy Gay of the Grizzlies, who wasn't even in a position to be able to foul Kwame Brown on the missed layup attempt. Brown hit the first of two free throws and the Grizzlies got the rebound and promptly called timeout with 7.2 seconds left. They inbounded from half-court, getting the ball to Kyle Lowery, who drove into the lane and was hacked from the back while driving, and then was hit to the ground on the shot attempt. Warrick got the rebound, but his last second three point was long and the Grizzlies lost. No foul called on Lowery's attempt. It was un-freakin-believable. I wanted to scream.
Speaking of wanting to scream, our beloved Tide is now 0-2 in the SEC now after a 71-67 loss in overtime at Arkansas. Once again, Richard Hendrix was a beast. Alonzo Gee scored 15 points, and Riley had 16. Everyone else sucked. Like usual. The worst part is seeing that we were 10/18 from the free throw line. You hit ONE of those, and you win the game. 55.6% free throw shooting? Richard Hendrix is a beast, but he can't shoot for shit. He needs to fix that NOW. Worse than that, the team finds ways to lose. Rather than giving themselves a chance to come down and win the game, after Beverly missed two free throws with less than 30 seconds left, Demetrius Jemison blocked out and had the rebound and lost the ball off of his foot out of bounds. I mean, are you serious? Townes hit two free throws, then we couldn't do anything with the ball on our last possession. The more we lose, the less interested the fanbase is. Recruiting is more enjoyable than watching this team continue to find new ways to lose.
We'll see what they do on Wednesday night at Georgia, then Mississippi State comes to T-Town on Saturday. Could we be looking at an 0-4 start in conference play? Wow.
¶ 9:27 AM0 commentslinks to this post
I'm a whopping 25, or "quarter of a century," years old today. Talk about nothin special. I'm at the office...like usual. I'm working...like usual. I'm going to be here 'til 5...like usual. It's cool, I guess. I haven't really done anything for my birthday since I turned 21. Normally go out, have a few beers or something dumb like that, and then go home with my better half. Tonight, Leslie and I are going to dinner, then maybe to a movie or bowling or something. I feel a little old. Haha.
If you haven't seen "I am Legend" yet, go check it out. We watched it last night and it was amazingly good. Will Smith is a great actor. Even as the Fresh Prince. Haha.
Tennessee has a new offensive coordinator, according to Sports Illustrated. Rather than hiring the guys from Michigan, they decided to go with a more wide-open attack overseen by Coach Dave Clawson, former head coach of the Richmond Spiders. I find this move incredibly odd, because Fulmer likes to have coaches that follow his coaching mentality, which is three yards and a cloud of dust, and then throw it once every now and then. Clawson uses a spread attack, which is a lot of points all the time. Very strange move.
Kevin Steele's meeting with Joe Gottfried, from South Alabama, was mainly in an advisory role. Steele has a lot of friends at South Alabama and Gottfried asked for his help in the search, which basically means that Steele is not a candidate for the USA job.
Rivals.com has a list of who is, or might be, leaving early for the NFL draft. Notice that, out of all of those names, they don't have Antoine Caldwell even mentioned on the page. I think that means he should stay in school. Right?
The schedule next year doesn't look very easy at all. As a matter of fact, here are the games we have against top 25 teams for next season, not in order.
at Georgia (#1 ESPN, #1 AJC)
at LSU (#8 ESPN, #7 AJC)
neutral vs Clemson (#9 ESPN, #10 AJC)
home vs Auburn (#16 ESPN, #12 AJC)
at Tennessee (NR ESPN, #17 AJC)
Five-star commit Burton Scott is taking his visits to Auburn, Florida, and Miami "just for fun." I guess I can understand that, but I don't think the schools are just letting him come in "for fun." Read more here.
The coaching staff is starting to spread the word among recruits that there are only a few more slots available on this year's class. With a big weekend coming up, it's nice to know that they're having to think harder about going ahead and committing. My faves - Julio Jones, Alonzo Lawrence, and TJ Bryant.
Bobby Williams was in Tuscaloosa yesterday interviewing for the vacancy left open by Ron Middleton. Yes, it's the same Bobby Williams that replaced Saban at Michigan State, and the same one that followed him to the Miami Dolphins, etc. He's a good recruiter and a good teacher, so I'd definitely like to have him on the staff.
¶ 8:58 AM3 commentslinks to this post
Holy Moly. It was rainin it's rear end off this morning. Woke up to a Tornado warning and a thunderstorm like freakin nothing I've seen in a long time. And it's January. Ridiculous.
Went to Central BBQ last night. Once again, freakin awesome. Nothin like Dreamland, but it's still pretty good. Speaking of that, I need to get on over to Tuscaloosa sometime soon. I'm missing some Dreamland, big time.
The Clemson / Alabama game next year will be missing one big time star - James "Thunder" Davis, the big running back that had a big bulk of the carries this year for the Tigers, has decided to enter his name into the NFL Draft. For him, it's more about the financial reasons than anything else. He has a one year old daughter. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am that he's gone.
We talked last year about the possibility that Pete Carroll would leave for the NFL because of the risk that USC may go on probation. How else would you explain Carroll's interest to speak with Arthur Blank? The Falcons job is awful. Just wait until that book comes out later this month that will tell all the details about Reggie Bush and his "special treatment."
Corey Smith and Chris Jackson, the two recruits that enrolled early, are looking to play early and contribute to the football team immediately. Jackson could especially step in soon, since we've lost our top three wide receivers. Read more about those two here.
Caldwell has finally gotten his letter back from the Advisory Committee, but he still has not made a decision on whether he will be going pro or not. My guess is that he's staying on for another year. If it was a great grade, then he would have already said he's gone. Read more here.
Tennessee's leading tackler (and the SEC's leading tackler) Jerrod Mayo, is heading to the NFL. Mayo has already achieved his undergrad degree, and he feels like he's already accomplished everything that he can at UT. Apparently he doesn't care about an SEC Title or National Title. Haha.
Kevin Steele is one of a billion candidates that have interviewed for the South Alabama job. He'll be building the program basically from scratch. My guess is that Jeff Bower will get the job. Read more about Steele's interview here.
¶ 9:51 AM0 commentslinks to this post
The talent discrepancy between LSU and Ohio State was stupid. Of course LSU won, 38-24, and it should have been muuuuuuch worse than that, but LSU played dumb as dirt. They played horribly all season, so why stop now, y'know?
Seriously, that is one of the worst coached football teams I've ever seen, and it's not even close. The moron on Fox who kept saying that LSU will be at the top of the SEC for a long time apparently didn't realize that they were losing like 17 starters, and 20+ contributers on the team. Yes, there's talent, but it's unproven. And I seriously doubt the talent that's been coming in is as good as the talent going out. Where are the upcoming linemen? Where are the linebackers?
Les Miles will drive that program into the ground, so I guess it's good for him that he got a national title while he could. This is just about the only season that he would have been able to get one, because, once again, he lost two ballgames against weaker competition, which he should have won. Name any other season where you can lose two regular season games, that should have been won in regulation, and still get to the national championship game. That's right. You can't.
I know I'm working on some pretty harsh criticism here, but I can't help it if it's all fact. There's absolutely no reason why this team should have lost 6 ballgames over the past three seasons. None. Zilch. But, I suppose it is what it is. Winning on pure talent alone won't work in the near future. I can guarantee that. But, it did work last night, and LSU has another trophy, and is the first team to win 2 BCS titles. Pretty incredible, considering the Oklahomas and USCs and Ohio States of the world.
At the end of the game, they gave the tight ends coach and the defensive coordinator the "Gatorade showers." I didn't really see any of the players hugging Les Miles, etc. Is that a sign of anything?
I'm sure others caught it, but the best part of last night was watching JaMarcus Russell and Troy Smith being interviewed during halftime, and seeing Russell's "Bama Boy" necklace. Represent for Coach Saban, my friend. Haha.
Aside from that, Bama basketball really gets kicked off tonight, with an 8pm tip on ESPN against Florida, who is 13-2, but lost the only two games against decent competition - Florida State and Ohio State. Florida has five brand new starters who haven't gotten a lot of experience in the SEC, so that could work in our favor. Read more about it here.
Rumors have been circling about the Ravens possibly going after Sylvester Croom as their next head coach. I'll believe it when I see it, but you never know. Ozzie's an Alabama guy, and he'd want some of that kinda blood in there. Imagine, two of Bear's boys running an NFL franchise. Sucks that I'm a Steelers fan.
If you needed any more proof that Dennis Dodd is an idiot, just check out his latest article, where he claims that Les Miles built the football team that won the title last night. Now, why on earth would anyone think that Miles built that team? How many seniors were starting? How many of those starters were recruited by Miles? Of the big plays that were made last night (interceptions, sacks, fumbles, etc), how many were made by players that Miles recruited? Yeah. That's right.
Joe Gibbs resigned as coach of the Redskins today after one of the most difficult coaching jobs anyone could have ever been put under. He's a class act and I'm going to miss watching him coach in the NFL. Read more here.
¶ 9:27 AM6 commentslinks to this post
Haven't done this in a while. I actually woke up sick and took the day off work. Still feel weird, but at least I can take the time to get over it rather than have to work while I feel like complete crap.
Not much mention of the Tide during the two all-star games on Saturday. Shouldn't matter - we're going to have a very good class coming in, so it doesn't matter if other people take notice right now or not.
The Decatur Daily has a story about who will play for the Tide next season. Pretty good read, but don't put too much stock into it...we've seen how the depth chart can change this season.
Kicker Corey Smith and receiver Chris Jackson both moved in and enrolled for the spring semester. Classes begin on Wednesday. These two will count towards last season's class, so the scholarships will not account for the 2008 class. Booooyah.
We may have lost Tyler Edwards to LSU, but we did pick up a TE transfer: Colin Peek from Georgia Tech. We had actually recruited him out of high school, and now that Chan Gailey is out, he was looking for a new home. Apparently we fit what he was looking for, and we got a good tight end out of the deal. He's enrolling for the spring semester, so he, too, will count against last season's recruiting class, so it won't take away from this season's scholarships. Read more from Ian here.
The schedule is out. Check it out below. Thanks to rollbamaroll.com for the image.
I think I can live with that schedule. I like the idea of having Tulane and Western Kentucky before we travel to Arkansas, and I like the break before the Iron Bowl.
¶ 10:49 AM0 commentslinks to this post
My buddy Moody came over last night to play some more NCAA 08. I've beaten him twice as Alabama against Penn State. We both don't like our starting qbs, so I had Nick Fanuzzi starting, and he had Penn State's backup (can't remember the kid's name). Either way, after taking the first game at Bryant Denny 42-33, then taking the 2nd game in Happy Valley 31-21, this time we played in the Sugar Bowl and I took away a 13-7 victory. Low-scoring, yes. Just how I like it. Fanuzzi is a beast in this game.
Besides watching the game last night between Va Tech and Kansas (when did John Parker start playing for Va Tech?), we watched a good bit of the Iowa Caucus last night. Not sure why, but it surprised me quite a bit that Huckabee won for the Republicans and Obama won for the Democrats. Seemed like an odd mix. I guess we'll see what happens in New Hampshire in a few days. This could be a verrrry interesting race this year.
Tide players do just as much for recruiting as the coaches. The biggest thing about it will always be relationships, and whether a person feels comfortable whenever they come to that campus and talk to people. Coach Saban encourages recruits to take as many unofficial visits to campus as they would like, to get to know the current football players, and learn more about each other. Read more here.
A press conference has been called for this afternoon (not sure what time) regarding the Alabama / Clemson game on Saturday, August 30th, 2008 at the Georgia Dome. It is speculated that they have finally agreed on a deal, and that everything will happen as planned. It will be Clemson's third straight game against an SEC opponent. Hopefully we'll be able to keep up with them. Getting Terrence Cody into school will, of course, be a priority, to help stop their running back tandem.
Larry MacDuff, Texas's defensive coordinator, resigned Wednesday due to "philosophical differences" with Coach Mack Brown. And who did Texas call immediately? Will Muschamp. Muschamp was in Austin last night interviewing for the job. The Birmingham News reported on it initially, but as of today, according to WSFA in Montgomery, and a ton of other sites, Muschamp has signed with the Longhorns.
Wow. 48-28. You're telling me that West Virginia could put up 48 points on a neutral field against Oklahoma in a BCS Bowl game, but in a game at home against lowly Pittsburgh, they could only muster up 7 points, even with the help of the refs?
Regardless, the win was so incredible that the school is going to hire the interim coach, Bill Stewart, as its head coach for next season. I think the BCS game was an anomaly. Stewart's only head coaching job was at VMI, where he went 8-25 before being relieved of his duties. I expect more of the same. Try Louisville from last season to this season.
I guess all that talk of Nick Saban leaving can hush now.
Alabama assistant coach Ron Middleton, tight ends and special teams coach, is leaving to join David Cutcliffe's staff at Duke. He coached for Cutt at Ole Miss from '99-'03, so this was expected. It doesn't bother me that much because Middleton played at Auburn.
Wallace Gilberry, DJ Hall, and Simeon Castille have all been invited to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile. This is a big deal, and I'm proud of these guys, as we all should be. Read more here.
The SEC is currently 6-2, with the only losses being to Missouri (over Arkansas) and Michigan (over Florida). I think it's pretty obvious that Arkansas just didn't care, and Florida has no defense. Other than that, the SEC has had a tremendous showing in the bowl games. LSU looks to continue that streak next Monday night. Georgia put a beatdown of epic proportions on Hawaii last night. It was 38-3 midway through the 3rd quarter, and it could've been a lot worse than the 41-10 final score.
Bama basketball looked worse than I've EVER seen them. At least against Georgetown and Texas A&M we put up a fight on a visitor's floor, and a neutral floor, but playing Clemson at home in Coleman Coliseum, we still couldn't muster up anything. The team just looked bad. We're gonna have some trouble playing Ole Miss and Tennessee this season, because we can't handle the press.
Wallace Gilberry has some words of wisdom for the Tide players next season: "If these guys buy into what coach (Nick) Saban has been telling us all season," Gilberry said, "they'll be sitting pretty good next year." Seriously, this team could have been tremendous if everyone had bought in from the get-go. It's going to a fun future in Tuscaloosa.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution goes into detail about Georgia's whipping of Hawaii in last night's Sugar Bowl, and goes on to discuss how great the Bulldogs will be next season. I can't wait until we get to play them in Athens next September. It's gonna be great. Read more here.
Yessir, now that's what I'm talkin about. SEC is 4-0 in bowl games, so let's go ahead and let all these other conferences try and stake a claim on that one. Sadly, Auburn won last night...but I guess it's ok as long as the SEC can continue their undefeated streak through the bowls.
The Independence Bowl was an interesting game to sit and watch. Alabama obviously had the better football players. There was no question about that. Amazingly, the one thing that helped save Colorado was how bad their quarterback really is. They used his underthrows as an advantage. Throws were consistently behind the receivers, and the Alabama defenders were in perfect positions to make plays, if the QB had made the throws the way they should have been made. For example, at the end of the 2nd quarter, when Kareem Jackson got burned for a touchdown with :04 left, it was because the pass was WAAAAY behind the receiver, who stopped, turned around, and made a play on the ball. That happened again several times in the 3rd quarter. The Tide tried to combat it by playing zone, but Hawkins was able to hit some kids in stride across the middle, negating that idea. Regardless, bad qbs are difficult to defend sometimes.
Cecil points out that the game encapsulates the entire up and down season. Came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, then had to hold on for dear life, but luckily it was a happy ending. Read more here.
Ian Rapoport goes through everything that happened in the game and points out both the positives and the negatives. I don't like the fact that when JP threw the interception, all of our momentum changed. That shows me that there's still a bad mindset down there that won't be gone until we flush everything out from the previous regime. Anyway, read more from Ian's report on the game here.
One of the biggest questions going into the next season will be whether or not Alabama goes in a different direction at the qb position. John Parker Wilson may have gotten the MVP award from the Independence Bowl, but he also made some boneheaded decisions that could have cost us the game. He is supposed to be the leader, and he, again, didn't do a great job of it. There will be three other viable options next season, and they could all give JPW some competition - of course, Star Jackson won't be here until August. I think Nick Fanuzzi will really give him a run for his money. Read more from Cecil here.
Antoine Caldwell is still waiting on his papers from the NFL. He hasn't made up his mind yet on whether or not he'll be coming back to the Capstone next season. I, for one, believe he needs to stay down there and get another year under Saban's offseason program. I can only help him, because he's not going to be a top pick this year. One more year and he could be a first-rounder.
The Charleston Daily Mail is reporting that West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin is interested in Nick Saban becoming West Virginia's new coach. They want a "big name" coach to take over for Rich Rodriguez. For some reason, I still don't see this happening. :-)
The Alabama / Clemson game, slated for 8pm on August 30th from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, to be broadcast live on ABC, is still in the works, according to Tony Barnhart. Both schools still have some kinks to work out, but it appears like it is bound to happen. School officials will meet at the end of the week to try and finish out the details.
Coach Saban's coaching staff is already looking towards the 2008 season. They'll have a 3-day review of this previous season, and make a list of what needs to be worked on, then go from there. Read more from Rapoport.
Aside from football, Alabama basketball is playing Clemson today over at Coleman Coliseum. We're riding a 6-game winning streak right now, and we're playing our best basketball so far this season. Rico Pickett and Mikhail Torrence have played solidly at the point guard position, which was the biggest question for the Tide. They are ranked #5 in the SEC in assists per game, and #2 in assists-to-turnover ratio. If they can beat Clemson today, that will spell very good things for SEC play, because Clemson is just as good, if not better, than a lot of SEC teams this season.
¶ 9:52 AM0 commentslinks to this post