I realize that this isn't going to be good read for many of you, but it's what has dominate my thoughts the last five days (well, this and all the talk about who's zooming who...WOW). This is just me adding my two cents worth to a situation in which my two cents aren't worth two cents.
A couple of things before we get started. I found out recently that more people read this garbage than I thought. Hello to everyone that’s not Kathy, Katie, Leah, Karly, Jarrod, or Lee.
The 1997 Iron Bowl in Auburn, Alabama was one of mine a Leah’s first dates. I actually don’t remember all of our dates, but this had to be one of the first because I didn’t get mad at her when she spilled beer in my car and then used the new shirt that I bought to wear in to the stadium as a towel to clean up the Coors Light. Also on that day, one of the longest running questions in Alabama football history was born. It really started as a joke. My friend Jim, acting as if he was calling in to the Alabama pre-game radio show, was prefacing his question with, “Coach Gold, I love Alabama.” Since then, any question about Alabama football is required to begin with, “Coach, I love Alabama”. This is similar to Auburn fans beginning, ending, or comprising a statement, question, or entire conversation with War Eagle. War Eagle. War eagle? WAR EAGLE! OH, war eagle.
Including the 1997 game and the nine Iron Bowls since, Alabama has managed to win three games against Auburn. Still, “Coach, I love Alabama”.
This has been a rough week for me. Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula remains one of my favorite collegiate players of all time. He was the quarterback at The University of Alabama when I was a sophomore quarterback at The High School of Tarrant. I had pictures and newspaper articles of him on my wall. I liked him as much as any straight teenaged boy should like another man.
Quarterback Shula, while under center, would keep one leg straight, bend the other at the knee, and turn almost his entire body in order to give himself a 360-degree view of the field. (That’s important because you want to make sure that your running backs are where they’re supposed to be.) I liked Mike so much that I started doing that move in practice. Coach Hulsey, the offensive coach at THS, yelled, “Jammy, cut that $hit out”! He must have really not liked it, because he never cursed on the field, or in the locker room for that matter.
Quarterback Mike Shula was knowledgeable and insightful, a quick thinker, a decision maker, and someone that every one else around him could believe in and rally behind. He was ‘The Field General’. As a coach, he is none of these things. I’m not going to detail all of his mishaps as a coach – I’ve broken two keyboards since Iron Bowl week started and the ensuing aftermath and I don’t want to break another – suffice to say, in my unqualified opinion, he is not a good coach.
I don’t think that there is any doubt that Alabama is contemplating a coaching change. Why, other than the administration is incompetent from top to bottom, would they allow such uncertainty during this recruiting period? If Shula was a 100% LOCK for next year, an announcement would have already been made.
I’m not breaking any news when I say that Alabama is looking else where for a coach. Rumors abound that an offer is on the table for Coach Steve Spurrier, who I would have LOVED to have been hired immediately after the Dubose firing and in the face of NCAA probation. Can you imagine his answer to the question, “What about the NCAA investigation?” I can only imagine that it would have been something along the lines of:
“I don’t care about the NCAA or their investigation. I care about Alabama football and making this program a champion again. As long as the NCAA leaves me 11 players, we’re going to work hard, believe in each other, fight, claw, and try to win some football games. We may not win them all, but by golly we’re going to play every game with all the pride and determination that Alabama football deserves. Next question.”
The other rumor making the rounds is that an offer is on the table for former LSU coach and current Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban. Here’s what I know about Saban:
For our Spanish speaking readers, that list goes:
Honestly, I know that Saban won a couple of SEC titles at LSU, and hoisted one National Championship trophy above his head.
What I like about both of these coaches is that they believe in themselves and, therefore, those around them are gravitated to believe in them also. In the office or with your friends, don’t you like the person that can actually make a decision? Do they always make the right decision? Probably not, but at least at that moment, they made a decision and believed in it and executed upon it with conviction and determination. When, in his four years at Alabama, have we been able to say that about Coach Shula?
For you political types, I believe that Mike Shula is the collegiate football equivalent to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. He can't make a decision with out the input of at least a half dozen people.
At the end of the day, I’m not really as concerned with WHO is in control at Alabama as I am with knowing the SOMEBODY is in control at Alabama.
What started as a joke nine years ago remains an unanswered question today.
“Coach Gold, I love Alabama. Why do we suck so bad?”
Happy Turkey Day every body! Thanks for coming by.