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University of Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban spoke about team discipline at a highly publicized press conference earlier this week. In that press conference he talked about building better relationships in the community. When asked if he meant the police specifically he deferred to his statement about the whole community.

I learned a little about his plan first hand last night. After my exit from a charity poker tournament that I was playing in downtown I met a couple of friends at a bar there (not on the Strip) and had a beer with them. As we were sitting there talking a couple of guys came in and spoke with the bartender. After they left she offered to my friends and me that the guys were with the athletic department and were inquiring if any football players frequented there. She told them that players typically did not frequent that particular bar. They then proceeded to give her a card with a number on it and asked her to please call that number if there were ever any players in there that were acting in a manner that they shouldn’t.

That was my description of what happended. I did not hear the conversation and am paraphrasing the bartender’s description of the event. But, this evidently is a portion of Saban’s plan in action.

I think this makes good sense and if followed through by all local watering holes it might just help the situation. I would assume it means that an authority figure whom the players are familiar with would respond and handle the situation before it got worse or the authorities had to be involved.

I think it is important to note that the bartender was not instructed to not call the police if things were out of hand. There was not nor should be any attempt to circumvent the authorities. Football players are not above the law, even in a college town where football is as important as it is in Tuscaloosa. If they break the law they should be punished just like you or I would. I do not believe at all that this is an attempt to do that. I do believe that it is an attempt to stem a situation before it gets to that point and that, in my opinion, is smart. Ideally there will be no need to ever call anyone and if football players act like gentlemen then there will be no need to, but this appears to be a good backup plan.

When you observe Coach Saban’s actions without an agenda it appears that he follows up on the things he says he will do and that he is forward thinking.

Hopefully the rash of off-the-field incidences are over and fans can get back to worrying about football and not the police blotter. At any rate I believe it is good to know that something is being done and not just discussed.

The results from the combine are in. I don’t get particulary excited about the NFL (full disclosure: I couldn’t care less about Sunday Football) but the combine and draft are a little interesting because it gives an indication about colleges that are producing NFL caliber talent.

While looking at the top ranked forty times by position I noticed something – there weren’t any Alabama players in the top of the rankings. You had to dig a little deeper to find the current bunch of Alabama players and their times. For example, Alabama’s preseason All-SEC corner Simeon Castille was near the bottom of defensive backs at a scorching 4.7. To put that in comparison, Tyvon Branch (UConn) and Justin King (Penn State) both ran 4.31 to lead all defensive backs. There were 13 sub 4.4 times in that bunch. It appears that Simeon was just a little off the pace. A few of the notable SEC d-backs:

Michael Grant (Arkansas) 4.37

Jonathan Wilhite (Auburn) 4.38

Patrick Lee (Auburn) 4.4

Jonathan Hefney (Tennessee) 4.53

Jonathan Zenon (LSU) 4.56

Chevis Jackson (LSU) 4.58

Matterral Richardson (Arkansas) 4.7 – Seriously? That’s his name? Why have I never noticed that until now?

The Crimson Tide fared a little better with Defensive Lineman. But not much. All-SEC Defensive End and all-around nice guy Wallace Gilberry (he really is a nice guy – one time in Rama Jama’s I asked him if he was ready for the season to start and he replied, “Yes, sir”) who ran a 4.9, which is pretty middle of that pack. Of course it comes nowhere near Marcus Howard’s (Georgia) 4.47. Way to go Simeon! Yeah, that’s a defensive lineman running faster than you. I bet that makes the scouts drool.

Here is an instance of relearning what John Parker Wilson and I already knew – Quentin Groves is wicked fast (relatively). He was listed with the linebackers , but ran a 4.57, which is third amongst invited athletes who played on the line in college. A few othe SEC notables:

Jonathan Goff (Vandy) 4.63

Curtis Gatewood (Vandy) 4.74

Derrick Harvey (Florida) 4.8

The other Alabama notable in the draft, DJ Hall, was a little less than average for receivers with a 4.55. DeSean “Goodbye Tennesee Secondary”(hell, who couldn’t say that) Jackson (Cal) ran a blistering 4.35 to lead the field. Andre “Bubba” Caldwell (Florida) represented with a smoking 4.35 and Kentucky’s Keenan Burton wasn’t far behind with a 4.43.

De’Cody Fagg (FSU) isn’t from the SEC but I like saying his name. Fagg (hee, hee) turned in a 4.63 but had you asked me in late September I would have said he was capable of a 4.20 easy as he left the burnt Alabama secondary to put the game in Jacksonville away.

Another fact to file in the “things you already knew” file, the Arkansas backfield with the exception of Dick (hee, hee – I can’t stop) is fast. McFadden’s well publicised 4.33 leads the group followed closely by Felix Jones’ 4.47 and Peyton Hillis’ 4.58 is nothing to laugh at, just ask LSU (or Simeon “4.7” Castille). The knowledge of their leaving the schedule every year makes me just ecstatic- Bobby Petrino, not so much.

What does all mean you ask. I have no freaking idea. Some say that 40 times are overrated and who am I to argue. It’s easy to make fun, but every one of these guys could run me down if they gave me a mile head start, just ask Clay Travis.

To me it says that the best athletes on Alabama’s team were fair to middlin’ and that was a big reason that the team was fair to middlin’. All things being equal, the team with the most talent wins. Alabama has not had the talent in quite a while and I believe that part of the giddiness of a lot of fans of the program lately is based on the fact that recruiting appears to be raising the level of talent. That relates to better football teams and more wins… over time.

Thanks to commenter Marcus Aurelius for the links and post idea.

This was emailed to me and I have no idea who authored it so I can’t take credit or give it. Enjoy

 

SEC/Middle east comparison

 

ALABAMA : Saudi Arabia . Once a proud kingdom, torn up by fighting and successions in leaders. Surrounded by Iran and Iraq (see below), with a prick in Al-Qaeda hell bent on bringing them down.


LSU: Iran . Current superpower in the region but it will all come crashing down because they have a highly functioning retard as a leader.


TENNESSEE : Iraq . Got a bunch of history but the country as a whole is going in the tank and they will kill themselves off before it’s allover.


FLORIDA : Syria . Evil douche bags who will stoop to whatever level they need to win. No real history to speak of but thinks they are the cradle of civilization.


GEORGIA : Kuwait . Tons of riches and unrealized potential, but still vulnerable to Iraq .


AUBURN : Al Qaeda. No country just a movement of disgruntled fanatics who live to blow up those who are more fortunate. No other goal in life than to bring down the House of Saudi Arabia. Terrorizing the Arabians for 6 years is the crowning achievement in their history. Signing day was a major setback to the movement. They’ll be looking for a new leader soon.


ARKANSAS : Palestinian territories. No one really cares or worries about them unless they can be of some use (i.e. winning a battle once in a while against Iran that causes a bit of shake up in rankings)


MISSISSIPPI STATE : Qatar . Where the hell is Qatar ?


OLE MISS: Afghanistan . Not much going for it, but hot women.


VANDERBILT: Israel . Just leave them alone for God’s sake. What did they ever do to you?


:KENTUCKY : Morocco . Not really part of the Middle East . Has other things to do than fight (or play football)


SOUTH CAROLINA : Libya . Had a charismatic leader in a land of nothingness. Will rattle his sword but knows he doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to back it up with.

While there are a few thoughts upcoming on the string of arrests, I thought it might be better to lighten the mood today. So it is my distinct pleasure to present in its entirety* the Jimmy Kimmel/Sarah Silverman/Matt Damon/Ben Affleck Trilogy. The Lord of the Rings it ain’t but leave-you-laughing-so-hard-you-cry-on-you-keyboard-funny it certainly is.

*And by entirety I mean three totally separate links to youtube.

Book I – Jimmy Makes Fun of Matt Damon

Book II – Matt Has His Revenge

Book III – Jimmy Takes It Up A Notch

I haven’t laughed that hard since “Dick In A Box”.

This is a very busy week for me so posting will be very light. The arrest of Jeremy Elder is old news at this point so I won’t try to add what is a sad situation. I will say though that I made a lot of stupid decisions when I was a young adult but it is hard to feel sorry for someone who seemed to have the world literally at his feet and chose to throw it away. I can remember my Grandmother saying, “I feel sorry for his Mother” in situations like this. I never really knew what she meant until I had kids.

It seems that the rumblings have started in Tennessee already. We’re only in February. This is gonna be fun.

Obviously there is a faction in any fan base that supports the coach regardless of whoever he is, but it does appear that Fulmer is losing touch with his players or that he recruits a type of young man that is more prone to erratic behavior. Don’t get me wrong, there is no excuse for it in whatever program you are in and it is becoming more common in college athletics in general. But there is just something going on within the Tennessee Program or as John Adams has dubbed it, “the college equivalent of the Cincinnati Bengals.”

All in all it seems to be a fairly written article. Truth be told, I’d like the fat one to stick around Knoxville for a few more year because there is nothing I enjoy more than watching him grimace when he loses like someone had just announced the closing of every single Krispy Kreme store. But I also believe he has dodged a bullet the last couple of years by winning a big game at the right time, but losing to rivals is not a way to keep yourself endeared to the fan base in this “what have you done for me lately” football world we live in.

One last thing; winter is almost over. That is kind of a sad thing for me because I loathe the nauseatingly hot summer months here in the deep south and long for what little cold weather we have. Spring is right around the corner; the Mockingbirds started singing late last week and the Maple tree in my front yard has started to bloom. Spring, like fall, is truly the best time of the year here in Alabama but while the cool snaps in October and November tease us about what is in store for the winter, the col snaps in March are brutally beaten down by warm air and the promise of low 90’s and 70% humidity.

I find the bare trees strangely beautiful and they will be covered with new leaves in four or five weeks. Time, she is moving forward. Take a minute to enjoy the chilly morning air we get this time of year. After all you have only got a finite number of those mornings.

There has been a lot going on personally as this week has come to a close and truth be told  there needs to be even more. Therefore, I offer up two quick things for you today:

First, proof (alright maybe not proof) that Gwen Stefani is a HUGE Alabama Fan.

gwen-houndstooth.jpg

PMR rule #34, an attractive woman in Houndstooth is always a good thing.

And second, my Friday Random Ten* which was done on Wednesday night while I was playing online poker:

1. What the Hell Have I – Alice in Chains

2.The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band (live)

3. I’ll Fly Away – Allison Krauss & Gillian Welch

4. Use Me- Bill Withers & Will Ferrell (Anchorman Soundtrack)

5. Black Republican – NaS with Jay-Z

6. Ain’t Life Grand – Widespread Panic

7. Sparks – Coldplay

8. Overkill – Lazlo Bane

9. Breath – Pearl Jam

10. Either Way – Wilco

Have a great weekend. Especially if you linked here from the Vandy message board for the Phil Fulmer joke last week and came back to check it out.

*Put your iPod on shuffle and list the first ten songs.You can’t cheat by not listing Fergelicious if it plays either.

Feel free to play along, it’s fun! Leave your ten in the comments.

Ian Rappaport is reporting that Joe Kines is, in fact, taking the Defensive Coordinator’s job at Texas A&M. As I mentioned in the earlier post, I wish him nothing but the best.

Maybe the animosity that many of the Alabama faithful had for A&M, which is a fine institution, because of their last head coach will be erased, now that one of the most beloved figures in Alabama Football over the past ten years will be calling it home.

I just hope that Coach Kines fares much better than the last defensive coordinator to leave Tuscaloosa for College Station did.

There is a report that former Alabama defensive Joe Kines is a candidate for that same role in College Station. While he hasn’t been visible, at least publicly, for the last year, it makes me sleep a little better knowing that he is in Tuscaloosa. Coach Kines was a good coach and an even better man. I say that because I met him, twice.

The first time was when he addressed a small meeting that I attended that was held at the stadium. This was right after he had come to Tuscaloosa with Mike Price and was about a month before that whole scandal broke. His opening remarks were something like, “Y’all are all evidently pretty smart so I’m not really sure why you wanted to hear from a dumb ol’ football coach.”

The second and far more memorable time was during fall camp prior to Shula’s second season. The company that I worked for at the time was doing work around the football complex as a small part of the overall expansion/renovation going on at that time. I was reviewing the location of a camera tower and was very concerned about its location being too close to a practice field. I was kneeling down in a hole that had been excavated for the foundation of the tower thinking about the problem and considering the fact that I would feel serious personal regret if a receiver went deep for a pass, drifted out of bounds and collided with the steel structure, thus ending his season and the teams chances for a conference title. Anyway, as the coaches and player began drifting on the field for the start of practice I looked back over my shoulder and saw Kines standing quietly looking down at me in the big hole.

I took the opportunity to voice my concern and said, “Coach, do you think this tower is too close to the field? I’m worried someone is going to get hurt running into it.”

Without even thinking he replied, “I hope we’re paying you to make decisions like that. I’m here to coach the defense.” Without another word he walked away.

He knew what he was there to do and he instilled a confidence doing it. I have known a few players that played under him  as well and they all spoke about him with a certain reverence. Maybe the type of reverence one has for a crazy old grandfather but a reverence all the same.

Whatever he chooses, I hope it makes him happy.

Best of luck Coach Kines.

While typically we revel in any bad news that comes from the University of Tennessee, the recruiting news from Knoxville this year was so dismal that pity is the word that comes to mind. To be honest with you, Tennessee falling to the ranks of Kentucky and Vanderbilt just isn’t good for the conference or our favorite rivalry.

It has become obvious that the administration is not going to fire Coach Fulmer so we thought we might do something to help him out a little bit.

In the spirit of friendly competition, we offer:  Jitterbug

It doesn’t talk a genius to figure out that Coach Fulmer is getting long in the tooth. After all, he is the dean of coaches in the SEC. It is apparant that technology has gotten ahead of the venerable coach. No one but very important doctors had cell phones when Phil became the big man (tee hee) in Knoxville in the early nineties. So it is understandable that he was slow to embrace the advances in technology.

In fact, a few years ago, when asked about the possibility of using a phone to recruit, Coach Fulmer replied, “I recruited Travis Henry and all I ever did was send him a letter. I am sure someone read it to him. What the hell do I need a phone for?”*

You mean I can’t call a recruit on this?

I can’t call a recruit on this?

The sad fact though, is that telephone communication is really the only way to communicate now. You’ve got to keep up with the times. Just ask Coaches Meyer, Richt, and Saban. This phone gives him a chance to enter the communication age.

Coach Fulmer has also never been accused of being what you would call – smart. We have gone on record as saying he wears velcro strapped shoes because the intelluctual intricacies that come with shoelaces and knots is just too much for him to handle. This phone is obviously designed for him.

It’s kind of like Fisher-Price but in reverse; it’s set up for slower, old people who need the uprgade in technology but aren’t competent enough to use a phone like the rest of us.

Good luck Coach Fulmer! With Jitterbug at your command, you might be able to crack the top 30 for next year’s recruiting class. 

*There is no actual proof, that we found, that Coach Fulmer made these comments or is aware that there are cell phones.

The realization just set in that recruiting season is over. There is still several weeks until Spring Practice starts. Alabama’s basketball team is working hard not to make the NIT. It will be months until position breakdowns start filtering in.

What the hell are we supposed to do now? 

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