It isn’t Shula’s fault!

It isn’t (totally) Mike Shula’s fault. It would be easy to blame him, and yes, the miasma that surrounds the current players are the product of his incompetence—but the problems go back much further.

These players quit, won’t fill assignments and won’t accept responsibility for their actions. The players know it—they are listless, without leadership and without pride. They don’t know how to be champions, and what may be the most astounding thing I’ve ever seen, they don’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 animated—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 won’t finish. It is easy to grasp the truths there: They won’t finish plays. They won’t finish practice. They won’t finish workouts. They won’t do what it takes to be a champion.

Fans wonder why certain players aren’t on the field, and other players are. There’s the answer. The players who give a damn are playing. The ones who don’t, are warming the bench.

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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, I’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 isn’t totally the coaching staff’s fault.) The people around Wilson are failing him more than he is failing his team. When the line can’t run block and when the line can’t pass block, how can anyone expect the quarterback to be effective?

Yes, Wilson has his flaws—but his sophomore season wasn’t bad at all. The problem with Shula’s team last season wasn’t offensive production. We saw lots of production moving up and down the field. Shula’s problem was the team couldn’t do what it took to score points.

Why couldn’t they? The coaches wouldn’t get the players to work hard. The players weren’t in condition, and they weren’t working hard in practice. How could they expect them to score points in a game?

This year the coaches can’t get the player to work hard. I can assure you it isn’t that Nick Saban and the coaches don’t know what they are doing.

It is simply the players don’t give a damn. They are happy with mediocrity.

Saban made a serious mistake starting the season. He should’ve cut players with these bad attitudes. Yes, it would’ve meant an even worse season than this; however, it wouldn’t have gotten the irrational expectations rising in the fan base.

But I said before this isn’t Shula’s fault. But it sounds like I’m blaming Shula. He has his share of culpability for recruiting these miscreants. But Shula never would’ve been here if it weren’t for the real people who have ruined Alabama football.

Take a good look in the mirror. It is probably you.

Alabama’s troubles today began when Mike Dubose was elected Alabama’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 wouldn’t have happened. Without Dubose, the nightmare of the last decade wouldn’t have happened. Without the nightmare, there wouldn’t have been a Mike Shula.

Now the fans who are hurting from the recent loss, and are looking for someone to blame, here’s my advice: Shut up. It is your fault.

Not Saban’s.

Not Shula’s.

Not anyone but you.

13 Comments

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  1. 1
    Brian

    Your right capstone, so right. I have had a hard time jumping on the JPW haters bandwagon with both feet because I have paid attention to the collapse of our line on EVERY play. I have seen players give up on their blocks and routes all season long. Plus, we know we have screwed up with all of these Coaches looking for another “Bama man” to fill that houndstooth hat. Hindsight is always 20/20. The big question is how can Saban fix this? He isn’t starting over with a new team next year. Some of these quitters will be back. Can a football coach teach kids life lessons that they need to finish football games? Is there any hope?

  2. 2
    capstonereport

    There is always hope. 🙂

    And like I read somewhere, when it is darkest night is when you can finally see the stars.

    I think the collapse this week either forces the juniors to step up and become leaders or perhaps we’ll see the freshmen and sophomores do it.

    I’ve really never seen anything exactly like this. Even Bill Curry’s players were not this…..lazy? Is that the right word for it?

    Saban preaches doing the right thing, but so far those pleas are falling on deaf ears…..given time he will fix it. Let’s hope fans just shut up and give him and the players who are working hard the time.

  3. 3
    Hudson Harris

    After watching Dubose serve as the defensive coordinator during Stallings’ last season, I can honestly say that I felt it was a mistake hiring him as head coach. His defensive players always seemed to quit when the going got tough.

    However, I am not sure if you can blame the fans for what happened Saturday against ULM. From watching this team throughout the season, they played hard and with a purpose through the LSU game. Since the LSU loss, the attitude of the players has changed and they are playing as if they do not have anything to play for.

    I agree with you, the players have forgotten about the thing we call pride, and that is one thing Shula can be blamed for. Shula basically took the pride from the majority of these players and it takes time to find that pride after you have lost it. Hopefully, the catastrophic loss to ULM is just what the doctor ordered and the players will rediscover that “Pain is Temporary and Pride is Forever”!

  4. 4
    Dave

    Well your almost right. The real problem started with probation. And your right in that it came about from the fan base. I hope the fan base has learned their lesson. This however compounded the problem in that Shula was picked to become the HC. None of us thought for a minute that he would be a bust but he was was and it was he and his staff who are directly responsible for the current roster of players. With probation he couldn’t recruit top notch players so this is what we’re left with. I don’t expect any improvement until 2010.

  5. 5
    Brown

    Sorry, but that just doesn’t account for it. I mean, I’m in my early 20’s, and had no stake in bringing about Dubose: and yet its my fault that Bama has bottomed-out? And the fans who called for Dubose, had so little to do with it; it was and always will be the proclivities of the men behind the curtain, the Bryant, Jr.s and Mal Moores of the world.

    I think its much more accurate to say that a multiplicity of factors have caused Bama to have such a large crop of listless weaklings. Shula is part, Dubose is a large part, but I suggest an even larger role was played by Logan Young. Probation hit us very hard – it scared off decent coaches, and also scared off decent recruits. I find it a bit much to think that the average Bama fan is responsible for Young’s actions.

    But even beyond this, I think you hit the nail on the head by calling out the offensive staff. They’ve shown nothing this year, really; examples being: refusing to drop a pass-first offense when the quarterback can’t read a defense (or even complete a pass v. zone coverage), refusing to run the ball when we’re having more success in that area, flat-out dumb playcalls (like the infamous 3rd-and-goal play action roll-out at MSU), etc. A dirty little secret is that Shula’s offense was pretty decent, as long as it was operating outside the opponent’s 20 yard line; the problem was redzone implosion, and we’ve been doing that this year, too. Of course, the Tenn. game was great, but then again, who isn’t great when the other team forgets to cover DJ Hall?

    The defensive staff, on the other hand, is literally making chicken salad from chicken shit – I mean our linebacker corps includes a wide receiver, a walk-on, and a guy who was playing high-school ball this time last year, and yet their getting it done, by and large, though not nearly on par with the great Bama defenses of the past.

    And yes, “lazy” is the right word for it. They act like they really don’t care. I’ve never seen a Bama team quit, till last week… its disgusting, and a little bit disturbing, honestly. If the team is quitting on Saban now, it bodes really badly for next year; it will be very hard to get some of these guys back on board.

    We should have seen this coming all year – just look at how Simeon and Andre Smith have been mailing it in at times since early in the year year.

  6. 6
    Bryan

    When people look back at ‘Bama football the past couple of decades it is easy to see 1 or 2 decisions that were hopefully only almost fatal. When the decision was made to interview Bowden, we started a tailspin. Without Curry, there is no Dubose, Franchonie, Price, or Shula. Probably no probation and maybe 2 0r 3 NC instead of the one. I’ve never been a huge Bowden fan, but that was the start of todays problems.

  7. 7
    Clint

    You’re 100% right. Good thoughts. It’s obvious that our team thought the season ended with the LSU loss. Until Saban can get players who actually take pride in wearing that jersey, then we will be mired in mediocrity. I also agree with a previous comment regarding the defense. They have shown tremendous improvement throughout the season. Too bad the rest of the team can’t get on board.

  8. 8
    » This Week in Schadenfreude: Four Million Dollars for This?

    […] There is only one team in the state of Louisiana it is acceptable to lose to unless you are a Sun Belt team, and it’s not Louisiana Monroe. Despite this, Nick Saban and his $4 million dollar contract managed to drop a game to a team with a nickname (”Warhawks”) that sounds better suited for the Arena League than college football. The Capstone Report says don’t blame Shula, blame everybody: These players quit, won’t fill assignments and won’t accept responsibility for their actions. The players know it — they are listless, without leadership and without pride. They don’t know how to be champions, and what may be the most astounding thing I’ve ever seen, they don’t seem to want to learn how to be champions. […]

  9. 9
    ProFootball24-7.com » This Week in Schadenfreude: Four Million Dollars for This?

    […] There is only one team in the state of Louisiana it is acceptable to lose to unless you are a Sun Belt team, and it’s not Louisiana Monroe. Despite this, Nick Saban and his $4 million dollar contract managed to drop a game to a team with a nickname (”Warhawks”) that sounds better suited for the Arena League than college football. The Capstone Report says don’t blame Shula, blame everybody: These players quit, won’t fill assignments and won’t accept responsibility for their actions. The players know it — they are listless, without leadership and without pride. They don’t know how to be champions, and what may be the most astounding thing I’ve ever seen, they don’t seem to want to learn how to be champions. […]

  10. 11
    Pistol Pete

    WELL WELL WELL… I really CAN NOT believe what I am reading here. MIKE SHULA’S FAULT?? The Players fault? Nick Sabans Fault? You should ALL be ashamed yourselves.. be very very ashamed. I grew up an obnoxious Alabama fan just like all of YOU. I idolized Coach Bryant. I dearly loved the man. That is until I learned what being a “real man” meant. Better said.. an “authentic man”. Coach Bryant was great for Alabama Football.. but that was ALL! OHHHH how soon you all forget.. “I can take mine and beat yurn…or I can take yurn and beat mine.” And “Tough times don’t last..tough people do.” Excuses Excuses Excuses! It is NOT any one’s fault! Did any one EVER stop to think that this is just a period of time when character is being born. During the period of time that Coach Bryant was cheating… oops I am sorry.. I mean coaching Alabama and harvesting and gathering up ALL the players every where, EVERYONE else suffered. We all know how he really did that. Why is it so important that some one be at fault? Alabama fans are Alabama fans because of their inability to handle failure. NOT the other way around. EVERY SINGLE person involed with Alabama Football falls into that catagory. You can fill in the blank. Alabama simply has a superiority complex. Of course NO one associated with Alabama Football will admit this. Which leads to my final point. UNTIL (and NOT BEFORE) this problem is admitted to and addressed will things get any better for Alabama. Which of course leads to self perpetual disaster. Because we all know that Alabama is simply the greatest at what they do… And I DO MEAN this sincerely. NO BODY WINS like Alabama… and NO BODY LOOOSES like Alabama… I really do not expect any one at Alabama to understand this. Before a problem can be corrected it must first be admitted to. I am standing on the other side looking in.. I used to be in there with all of you. I know what I am talking about. Think about it?

  11. 13
    Glenn

    I don’t understand why everybody jumps on Shula so much. He has coached in the Pro’s for over fifteen years. You don’t do that if you don’t know what your doing. When he was hired Bama was under sanctions. When he was fired Bama was still under sanctions. He never had a chance to show his coaching abilities. I mean hear was a true Bama boy that had never been a head coach, so he was timid at first and the sanctions keept him from recruiting well. He was just about to get past that and good ole Mal Moore, who by the way has hired all the flops since Stallings, some very imbarassing, fires him without giving the kid a chance. he would have bloomed into a great coach I think and would have stayed at Bama forever.

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