Tuberville, Saban & the press

Loving the press won’t stop them from doing their job. Hating the press won’t stop them from doing their job. Just ask Tommy Tuberville and Nick Saban.

When Tuberville wanted the DeRon Furr situation to disappear, his friendliness didn’t stop the professionals from asking the tough question. It irritated Tuberville so much, he snapped “Next question.”

It was a different sounding Tuberville.

He was almost annoyed.

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He didn’t want to answer, and even his affability with the press didn’t prevent three or four days of attention on the Furr problem. The press is the press, like a proctologist they poke around where nobody wants them.

Even when you treat them nice.

Ray Melick explored the issue in his column, asking was Furr bullied?

It’s one thing when two players go at each other in a drill, with tempers flaring and they stay after each other after the whistle. But if a player or group of players decides to physically pick on a freshman because they don’t like the way he does things, that is not fighting; that’s bullying…
Picking on someone because he’s weak is just being a bully.

That will look great when it is handed to recruits.

And don’t think for a minute that negative press reports aren’t pushed by rivals. Everyone knows it happens. Steve Spurrier recently complained about fan websites sending South Carolina recruits negative press clippings.

As Tuberville went through his little storm, Saban lectured the Alabama press on writing about depth charts. Saban called such depth chart reports unprofessional and mean. He said these depth charts weren’t official, and were disrespectful to his players. He asked the press why they would write such things without asking him first.

Saban made good points. And what the talking heads on talk radio forgot, is that these are 18 and 19 year olds, not NFL players. They might be adults, but they are still kids.

Furthermore, Saban and his staff are walking a tightrope. A tightrope fully reported by one of the few exceptional members of the press, Mr. College Football.

In a lot of positions at Alabama a good, solid veteran player is going to be pushed by a younger, more talented player. Coaches have to walk a tightrope when dealing with this kind of situation. Even if the younger player has more talent, the timing of moving him into the starting lineup is very tricky.

If you make the move too soon the young player struggles because he’s not completely prepared. Then he loses confidence. Also, the veteran player who loses his job may go in the tank because he’s no longer the starter.

But if you make the decision to move the kid up too late that’s not fair to the team. You’re not giving your team every opportunity to get better.

This is not like the NFL where you put the best player in the position, period, and cut the other guy if he doesn’t like it. In college these things have to be handled with a certain amount of finesse because you don’t cut guys or trade guys or pick up guys on the waiver wire.

Here is the trick, one of the coaches told me. You hope that over time the younger player makes it abundantly clear to everybody—even the veteran player that he’s challenging—that he has earned the position. Then you make the move and hope that the veteran player will remain engaged. If he’s a team guy the veteran will keep playing. If he’s not, then there could be a problem.

What do these early depth chart reports do? It makes the tightrope that much harder to walk.

Of course a moron talking head isn’t interested in why Saban might get irritated; someone like the host of the Round Table on WJOX is only interested in filling airtime. At least Ian was talking about football instead of the usual misogynistic nonsense.

Saban’s lecture had another element. By repudiating any speculation about the younger players moving into the starting rotation, Saban helps temper fan expectations.

Alabama fans are prone to irrational exuberance. The slightest positive news causes expectations to explode. If Saban wants to keep fans from putting unrealistic burdens on the freshmen, some warning was prudent.

However, you can’t help but feel uncomfortable as Saban tells reporters they are unprofessional. You catch more flies with honey. Even I know that. If nothing else, treating members of the press with some respect would prevent a day or two of chatter on sports radio.

It is a balancing act for coaches. You need the media, but they press their own agenda. Some of those agendas coincide with the coach, many are at loggerheads.

You have to coexist with the press, but no amount of cultivating relationships can prevent negative reports. Just ask media savant Tuberville.

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20 Comments

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  1. 1
    Ballplay Indian

    The whole Deron Furr incident wasnt a good thing for Auburns image, but probably was a bad thing for the team…The mindset by the players on the plains is what you need to have to win….If you dont give your best, get out. While I might not agree with the way it was handled, I dont know the full story, If I did, I may either wish that nothing was done at all, or I might have been on the pile with them. I seriously doubt that Furr would have ever been happy anywhere but quarterback. It is probably best that he left for himself and the team…..This is a rarity as of late for Auburn. Not in the fact that the press hounded Tubbs, but that they had something substantiave to ask about. I bet that Saban would hire Furr a lawyer if it would get the cameras out of the east side of the state.

  2. 2
    TiderInsider

    The incident involving Deron Furr wasn’t anything beyond what happens on an ordinary day on the practice field. Regardless as to what we hear, none of us will ever know the entire story, all we’ll know is a fight broke out. Assumptions will be made, and my assumption is that the kid was a star quarterback (and a very talented one at that) in high school, who was accustomed to the others looking up to him. At the collegiate level, he walked onto the field with the same ego, which led to him dropping a promising career.

    That’s his loss, not Aubarn’s.

  3. 3
    OMNIPRESENT

    I think its silly that the Coaches have to go thru that. Look if Furr got a code red SO be it, its Auburns business and Alabama business is theirs. I dont blame the coaches for not wanting their teams business out to public scrutiny and if it pisses the media off that they dont get what they look for welcome to the real world folks. I mean like you said
    give a FAN one ounce of boy he sure is good, and BOOM NAtional Championship here we come. then the team starts to beleive it gets out of their gameplan and DAMN no bowl game. I think BOTH coaches did what was right for them and theirs.

    WAR POLYTECH BABY!!!

  4. 4
    OMNIPRESENT

    Oh yea and BULLYING? HMMMM these kids have PUT THE PADS ON for a long time if they have made it to AU OR UAT so …
    THERES NO BULLYING IN FOOTBALL its a CONTACT sport and dont show up with I CAN when YOU CANT!!! your card may get pulled and his did … GOOD BYE Mr. FURR

  5. 5
    Bama Fan In NYC

    I’ll try not to flame the Barnies up on this thread, okay? Anyway, I’m speaking in an unbiased tone when I say this…

    Furr, if you can’t handle the heat, don’t step into the kitchen!

    This is the doormat to your career and you just pissed it away, just because you couldn’t handle a little pressure or contact.

    And in response to what Saban said regarding the talking heads’ nonsense, he’s right. People forget these are kids, even if some of them are holding other students up at gunpoint or dealing cocaine. Even some of us forget that at times, that’s one of the reasons I defended Brandon Cox on other Alabama message boards when the conversation got heavily deep. Despite the fact he did play for The Alabama PolyTECHnic Institute, the kid had to overcome a lot of adversity to get to the position he was in.

    I honestly felt sorry for him after the MSU game. Not API, but him. The good guys don’t deserve the ridicule they get when they perform poorly. Only the idiots like Jimmy Johns does. Cox was a nice guy both on and off the field. I guarantee you half of any team couldn’t accomplish the things he did with the problem he had. I respect him for that and you Barnies who despised him and Alabama fans should as well.

  6. 7
    Ballplay Indian

    NYC….I agree with what your saying. I feel the same way about several Bama players….Croyle, Prothro, Barker…Good guys on and off the field . If they have a bad day , they shouldnt be thrown to the wolves.

  7. 8
    Legion Field

    ..am I missing something here? OK, a guy gets beat up by not one…but by at least 3, possibly more, thugs on a football field….and its HIS FAULT? LOL!!

    This wasn’t some “practice skirmish” type of incient. How many players leave school just because they had a small “skirmish” at practice?

    Lets call it what it was..A BEATDOWN.

    I mean, if this would have happened at UAB…the headlines would have read..”FOOTBALL PLAYER ATTACKED BY GANG MEMBER THUGS in FOOTBALL PADS!!”

    If this would have happened at Miami, Oklahoma, Alabama, or Penn State..the media would be saying…”See, this is yet another reason why you shouldn’t send your kids to these particular schools!”

  8. 9
    Warbird

    Cappy, I have to disagree with your characture of the media in dealing with these two incidents. If you heard the whole interview with CTT, you would know that he had already answered their questions. He’s not going to tell them who did what. Neither will Nicky. Just because the press didn’t like the answer that’s not CTTs fault. At least he talks to the press.

    CNS’s blowup with the press over depth charts is his own fault. He has created an “information vacuum” at Bama and the press is trying to fill it. They have to write about something and if Nicky is not going to give them something, they’ll take matters into their own hands. His statement to the press about “if you have any questions, come and ask me…” is laughable. The press has done that and he has responded with verbal beat downs frequently. He created the mess (info vacuum) and he has no one else to blame but himself.

  9. 10
    tsmonk

    Ever see “Full Metal Jacket?” The blanket party scene? That happens (or used to happen) in every USMC boot camp barracks, in one form or another. I can’t stand AU, but this is SOP in training camps. Everybody pays for the slowest guy on the field, so after a while if the same guy keeps sticking out, someone’s going to order a Code Red.

  10. 11
    jaydeer

    To the author of the article above:

    Yours was the most rational explanation I’ve heard or read about Saban’s comments on the problems caused his “process” when a columnist makes up a depth chart for publication before the season starts.

    BTW, what is your name?

  11. 12
    rhYno

    I went to school with DeRon Furr and I’m sure the blame can all be put on him. The guy is a pompous jerk who would’ve ran Auburn’s current “good image” into the dirt. He’s a good athlete I know, but his off the field hobbies would have eventually caught up with him and Tuberville would’ve had his hands full.

  12. 13
    capstonereport

    My name is Alan. I probably should just post my name and contact info on the About page. It probably is time that I came out of the closet.

    Eerrrr, that didn’t sound right.

  13. 14
    intheknow72

    I just hope Auburn’s recruiting isn’t hurt by the way DeRon Furr was treated, first by his new teammates, and then by the coaching staff. This is an 18 year old kid, worth a buck and a half, thrown away by a multimillionaire.

    I guess winning at all costs is more important than the future of a teenager. But I’m sure Tubby went to full lengths to explain that to DeRon’s parents as he recruited him.

    War Chicken!

  14. 15
    Bamaman

    Omnipresent you show your ignorance talking about New York mentioning Aub while you are gawking over a Bama website. Do us a favor and go to your 1 SEC in twenty five year website

  15. 16
    jaywall14

    As an Auburn fan, I honestly don’t think either of these incidents are a big deal. The talk about them is simply the reaction caused by months and months of actual football-less action. Once the season begins all of this nonsense will stop, atleast I hope so…
    How about some injury reports or something that actually pertains to the teams potential sucsecc/failure this upcoming season???

  16. 17
    jaywall14

    Bamaman –
    The title of the story on your UA website has AU’s Coach’s name in it.
    Hmmmmmm…..
    Is it really us that are obsessing over UA, or vice-versa???

  17. 18
    OMNIPRESENT

    mamaman oops bamaman your stupid as the rest of these bammas in here so SLIP off into a dream somewhere and STFU and talk what you know…. ignorance is assuming YOU knew WHAT I MEANT! I mean damn, stupid I agreed with the article without throwing shit or facts at you guys about bama!! what you dont know is new your city regurgitaes all his adjectives and changes some names in all his damn blogs sooooo BUGGER OFF ROOKIE

  18. 19
    Ballplay Indian

    Legion Feild…..Your team needs to come to Auburn to take soke notes about on the field intensity….That is what helps Auburn win games…The young men that did this are sending a well recieved message to the rooks….We dont mess around…

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