Why did Alabama lose games in ’07?

Why did Alabama and Nick Saban lose games they could have won in 2007? The story could be found in NFL scouting analysis posted as players prepare for the NFL Combine.

Three players set for the combine are DJ Hall, Wallace Gilberry and Simeon Castille. Each of these players were important cogs on the Alabama team, but each have severe deficiencies in terms of work ethic, according to NFL analysis.

DJ Hall: Hall needs to improve his work ethic and mature off the field, as he seems to have a lackadaisical approach to training and practice…Yet, even if there is a $100 bill in the middle of the field with his name on it, he will not be found in that area. Hall needs to gain overall strength or show better aggression in beating the press. He looks like Tarzan, but plays like Jane and is not to be relied upon in the clutch. His vertical speed is what impresses scouts most.

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Simeon Castille: Has good field vision and instincts, but struggles in the classroom from a lack of effort…While he reads the backfield effectively, he likes to freelance too much and this leads to problems, as he gets reckless in his pursuit and lacks the second gear to recover when receivers get behind him…Does go through stretches of concentration lapses on the field…

Wallace Gilberry: Adequate leader who will take a teammate to task (but needs to practice what he preaches)……Gilberry is not an elite athlete and his less-than-stellar work ethic means a coach will have to monitor him in the training room.

The analysis of these players yields the clue—Alabama’s best athletes had work ethic problems, concentration issues and wouldn’t do the homework watching film or studying the playbook.

These three are some of my favorite players to watch, but the NFL’s analysis can’t be glossed over. The problems of the Mike Shula era were endemic to the football team, and could take another year to eliminate with off-season programs, strong practices and hard work. Who wants Saban’s job? Probably not as many when you see the extent of the problems he faced upon arrival in Tuscaloosa.