Sunday, November 25, 2007

Looking back and looking forward

There is basis for hope for the future of Alabama football.

Alabama is ranked 3rd so far in recruiting. That is a good sign. The Tide has not been able to say anything close to that for years. While it is true that Alabama finished 6-6, how many times does a team lose 6 games and none of them were by more than 7 points? I expected something around 8-4.

But Coach Saban didn't lose the team. There were certainly some players that did not have the character necessary to win. There were definitely not enough leaders and good followers. Those people will be replaced by recruits who come to Alabama to play for Coach Saban, knowing up front what his expectations are. That will make a huge difference.

We knew before the season started that it would take a few years before Alabama could compete seriously and consistently for championships. I still say that can and likely will be the case. I realize we live in an instant gratification society, but these things take time.

Alabama didn't shipwreck overnight. It was a 10 year process of damaging a winning tradition. It might take at least a few more years to restore it. Don't give up hope Tide fans. There is reason for it.

CECIL HURT: Saban must first fix history to make it Tuscaloosa News
"There was no single moment that a person could pinpoint as the difference. It was not just the inability of a wide receiver to catch a ball that hit his hands late in the first half, turning what looked like a go-ahead touchdown into a drive-killing interception. It was not just the inability to avoid crucial second-half penalties: a drive-wrecking holding call, a critical penalty for running into the punter that deprived the Crimson Tide of what would have been excellent field position, yet another flag for roughing the passer, a close but devastating call that prolonged Auburn’s last touchdown drive.It was the accumulation of those things, slow drop by slow drop, that added up to a sixth straight loss. Auburn made some mistakes, too, and Alabama capitalized on a few of them — but not nearly enough.“When you are in a close game like this,” Saban said, “all those little things are critical.”

IRON BOWL NOTEBOOK: Bowl scenarios slim for Alabama Tuscaloosa News
“I thought [McClain] did a great job and made a great interception,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “At the end of the game I know he had a lot of tackles. I know that he’s probably contributed as much as anyone relative to responsibility.“Being a freshman, starting early in the season and Prince Hall coming back and starting, Rolando did a good job of getting out there and starting today. I am pleased with the progress he has made this year.”

Tigers' streak grows to six Tuscaloosa News
"The last time Alabama beat Auburn, the Tide’s current freshmen were in seventh grade.“It’s hard, man,” senior receiver DJ Hall said. “That’s something you’ve got to live with the rest of your life.”Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry, another senior, believes many of Alabama’s wounds sustained against Auburn in his four years have been self-inflicted, both on and off the field. He isn’t willing to concede that the Tigers have been the better team each year.“I would lie if I said that, but I will say they’ve been the more disciplined team four years in a row,” he said.“I know one thing: Next year I can bet all 11 guys on the field will be on the same page. I’m just sad I won’t be here for it. I’m not saying we were and I’m not saying we we’re not [on the same page], but you can look at the results on the field.” Alabama head coach Nick Saban got his first taste of Alabama’s rivalry against Auburn, and was impressed.“This is a great rivalry, a great football game, and I have never been involved in a football game with as much excitement and enthusiasm as this game,” he said."

This year's crazy ride Cecil Hurt Tuscaloosa News
"Saban was asked on Wednesday night if Alabama was “where he expected” after his first year on the job.“That’s not really the point,” Saban said. “What I expected or didn’t expect isn’t the point. What matters is the choices we make every day. I preach it all the time. I’m responsible for it. I’m the head coach. I’m responsible for what happens. I’m responsible for everything, even if it happened before I got here.“But it is all about making the right choices. Our players have to do that. We have players missing class. They aren’t supposed to miss class. Sometimes, they come in late. Sometimes, we have to make guys stand up in meetings so they don’t fall asleep.“We also have some guys who do it the right way. We have guys who will do anything to win. You are always going to have eight or 10 guys like that on a team, guys who are always going to do it right, and you are always going to have about the same number who do it wrong. So the question is, how do you reach the ones in the middle? That’s what we are trying to do now.“We’re going to get it fixed.” 2008 Football Recruiting Rankings

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