It isnâ€™t (totally) Mike Shulaâ€™s fault. It would be easy to blame him, and yes, the miasma that surrounds the current players are the product of his incompetenceâ€”but the problems go back much further.
These players quit, wonâ€™t fill assignments and wonâ€™t accept responsibility for their actions. The players know itâ€”they are listless, without leadership and without pride. They donâ€™t know how to be champions, and what may be the most astounding thing Iâ€™ve ever seen, they donâ€™t seem to want to learn how to be champions.
Nick Saban gave us a snapshot of what was to come on his fiery radio program Thursday night. I was driving home from the hospital (my sister had a baby) and got the rare chance to listen to the show. To say that Saban was intense would be an understatement. He was animatedâ€”it was the best radio program ever by an Alabama football coach.
It turns out it was revealing far more than most would have thought.
Saban kept saying players wonâ€™t finish. It is easy to grasp the truths there: They wonâ€™t finish plays. They wonâ€™t finish practice. They wonâ€™t finish workouts. They wonâ€™t do what it takes to be a champion.
Fans wonder why certain players arenâ€™t on the field, and other players are. Thereâ€™s the answer. The players who give a damn are playing. The ones who donâ€™t, are warming the bench.
And that is obviously the case with J.P. Wilson. He may stink up the place from time-to-time, but he is all the team has. (Normally, Iâ€™d go into a rant about how I think the offensive coaching staff has taken a decent quarterback and turned him into a horrible one, but it isnâ€™t totally the coaching staffâ€™s fault.) The people around Wilson are failing him more than he is failing his team. When the line canâ€™t run block and when the line canâ€™t pass block, how can anyone expect the quarterback to be effective?
Yes, Wilson has his flawsâ€”but his sophomore season wasnâ€™t bad at all. The problem with Shulaâ€™s team last season wasnâ€™t offensive production. We saw lots of production moving up and down the field. Shulaâ€™s problem was the team couldnâ€™t do what it took to score points.
Why couldnâ€™t they? The coaches wouldnâ€™t get the players to work hard. The players werenâ€™t in condition, and they werenâ€™t working hard in practice. How could they expect them to score points in a game?
This year the coaches canâ€™t get the player to work hard. I can assure you it isnâ€™t that Nick Saban and the coaches donâ€™t know what they are doing.
It is simply the players donâ€™t give a damn. They are happy with mediocrity.
Saban made a serious mistake starting the season. He shouldâ€™ve cut players with these bad attitudes. Yes, it wouldâ€™ve meant an even worse season than this; however, it wouldnâ€™t have gotten the irrational expectations rising in the fan base.
But I said before this isnâ€™t Shulaâ€™s fault. But it sounds like Iâ€™m blaming Shula. He has his share of culpability for recruiting these miscreants. But Shula never wouldâ€™ve been here if it werenâ€™t for the real people who have ruined Alabama football.
Take a good look in the mirror. It is probably you.
Alabamaâ€™s troubles today began when Mike Dubose was elected Alabamaâ€™s head football coach by the fans. The loud tide of fans who demanded Dubose be hired launched Alabama into a decade of misery and mediocrity.
It was the hubris of fans who wrought this disaster. Not the NCAA, not Phil Fulmer, and not Mike Shula.
Without the fans, Dubose wouldnâ€™t have happened. Without Dubose, the nightmare of the last decade wouldnâ€™t have happened. Without the nightmare, there wouldnâ€™t have been a Mike Shula.
Now the fans who are hurting from the recent loss, and are looking for someone to blame, hereâ€™s my advice: Shut up. It is your fault.
Not anyone but you.