The theme of this week? Pile on Major Applewhite.
While there hasnâ€™t been anyone screaming Applewhite sucked as offensive coordinator, it certainly was the subtext of whatâ€™s being said and written.
On Tuesday, Saban praised his new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain. And players praised him as well. Reading between the lines, Applewhite suffered serious deficiencies.
From the Huntsville Times story:
“I like Mac’s enthusiasm,” Saban said Tuesday. “I think he believes in toughness, and I would hope that those two things would make us a better offensive team……
“His experience has certainly been welcomed,” Saban said, “but I think his personality of toughness, discipline, effort is certainly welcome for what we need for the development of some of our players.”
From Ian Rapoport of the Birmingham News:
“The presentation of the system,” Saban said, “the way we can simplify what he needs to do will be a positive for him. I think he has the capabilities of being an outstanding quarterback.” …
“I think our passing completion will go up,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to do some of the stuff we did last year.”
From the Tuscaloosa News:
â€I like him a lot. I like everything that we’re doing, everything we changed up. He has a different teaching style, and I like it a lot,â€ J.P. Wilson said….
â€œHe’s intense, he’s tough, but he also slides a little joke in every now and then, he mixes things up,â€ said junior center Antoine Caldwell, who believes fans will see more misdirection from the running game and attack the edges. â€œI can just tell by him being out there, the guy’s a winner. He knows how to score points, he knows what he needs to do, he puts a big emphasis on forgetting the last play, no matter what it was, good bad or indifferent, set on this next play, and that’s something this offense needs to improve on.â€â€¨
Reading between the lines we could interpolate that Applewhite was lethargic, unenthusiastic, unfocused and inexperienced.
Nobody said it, but everyone was thinking it. Including the players.
Will the offense be any better in 2008? It canâ€™t get much worse. But it seems unfair to lay all of the blame on Applewhiteâ€”who one day will be a top notch coordinator and head coach. We could simply say the chemistry was wrong on last year’s offensive staff. Much of it was Applewhite’s fault if we can believe what is being said now.