The Saban Sidestep: Bloggish Breadcrumbs of a Breakdown

By J. Henderson

Why wasn’t Will in church this morning? Because he was getting the jump on TWER in covering D.J. Hall and the Incredible Shrinking Suspension! I though I had plenty of time! Alas…


Still, though everything that should have been said was said and said greatly (as well as with that extra squinting between the lines that makes FTB so good – looks like The Auburner was on this too), I think that my original idea – a bare bones reiteration of yesterday’s Ian Rapoport live blog from Tuscaloosa, might help illustrate and underscore Will’s reportage and analysis.

djh_sad.jpgFor the record, I listened to most of the Eli ‘n’ Snake radio hick-waltz for the first half (and turned it back on for the glorious end), and not only was news of Hall’s suspension belched in whole-game terms (“…will not play today…”) but it was their go-to filler for every pause in the action, so much so that EeLah finally began to preface it with apology: “Again, sorry to belabor the point here, but in case you’re just joining us…”

Here it is… the trail… so pretty…

What’s up with DJ Hall?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:32 PM

Alabama receiver DJ Hall is in uniform, he took part in senior day, but he wasn’t announced as a starter… So what’s the deal? Now, he’s not on the field, doesn’t have a helmet, and is playing the role of cheerleader…

Is he suspended?

Hall has played in every game this season, but last year, he was suspended for the first game because of an undisclosed violation of team rules. And he missed the Cotton Bowl his sophomore year for another undisclosed something or other.

Stay tuned…

Jimmy Johns… starting RB?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:37 PM

Oh, it’s true. Mercurial junior running back Jimmy Johns earned the start at running back today. Alabama coach Nick Saban had said this “may be the week” that Johns contributed. And it was. A 6-yard run to start the game. Big cheer from the crowd, by the way. Obviously.

What’s weird is that Johns had the first carry, Jonathan Lowe has had a bunch more, yet Terry Grant hasn’t touched the ball yet. I don’t get it. Now, Johns is back in, in time for John Parker Wilson to throw a touchdown pass to Keith Brown. Tide leads 7-0 four minutes in.

DJ Hall suspended

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 1:46 PM

Alabama senior receiver DJ Hall is suspended for this game because he violated team rules, according to a Crimson Tide spokesman. So that’s why he hasn’t played. Not sure of the exact reason…

Terry Grant appears…

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:24 PM

Out of thin air — OK, from the sidelines — running back Terry Grant says hello. He didn’t play in the first quarter, as Jimmy Johns and Jonathan Lowe split the carries. But at the beginning of the second, there was Grant carrying five times for 41 yards, capping it off with a 12-yard touchdown run.

Alabama leads 14-7 early in the second. The only warts, I guess, are the two picks thrown by John Parker Wilson… Those may not help his passer efficiency rating, which was 99th in the country entering the game.

Driving the length of the field

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:42 PM

The Warhawks are hanging in there. Not just hanging in there, but playing even with Alabama. That last touchdown was not cheap. Anytime you drive 80 yards to tie the score, you earn it. And even while stopping ULM running back Calvin Dawson, it’s tied at 14 with four minutes left in the half.

Oh wow, a punt just hit the back of Simeon Castille, who was covering downfield. Bad luck for the Tide… ULM gets the ball back, though quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster is holding his left hand, like he’s hurt.

Arenas is down?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 2:50 PM

Punt returner Javier Arenas was just down on the field, holding his ankle or leg. Not sure what happened when he was tackled, but he looked hurt. A few seconds later, he got up and limped off to a loud ovation. Now, he’s being tended to by the training staff…

With 46 seconds left in the half, Arenas is headed into the locker room for some medical attention. He walked under his own power, though.

OK, the half is over. And the Tide exits the field to loud boos. No hurry-up offense? Interesting… Tied at 14 with the Warhawks.

saban_yell.jpgNo wonder Saban was upset…

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:40 PM

Alabama coach Nick Saban spent part of this week ripping into his team for its lack of focus. Perhaps he saw something like this coming. Not that the game is over, but hey, it’s a game. More than a game. Louisiana-Monroe is up 21-14 after Kinsmon Lancaster found Marty Humphrey for an 11-yard touchdown run.

And this place is fairly quiet, even with 18 minutes left.

DJ Hall is back

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:43 PM

Apparently, it was a one-half suspension for DJ Hall. The senior receiver is back on the field after a violation of team rules benched him for the opening 30 minutes. Just now, he made an 18-yard reception. And Alabama is driving…

Time to head down to the field

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 3:56 PM

This is why I could never be a gambler. Who would’ve expected this? OK, maybe Nick Saban did. Alabama trails Louisiana-Monroe 21-14 with 11:52 left in the game.

How will this end? I’m going down to the field to find out. Be back later…

What now?

Posted by Ian R. Rapoport November 17, 2007 9:06 PM

Seriously, what now? Alabama suffered what can only be described as an incomprehensible loss. OK, you guys may come up with other ways to describe it. Man, I don’t know. All week, it seemed, Alabama coach Nick Saban was preparing some anti-overlook formula for his team. Yet… nothing. Warhawks ended up winning 21-14.

Oh, I asked Saban post-game if receiver DJ Hall was suspended for 30 minutes from the beginning. As in, was it a game suspension that turned into a half suspension?”It was what it was,” he said.

So, I asked, a half suspension?

“What it was,” Saban said.

How low was this one, guys? The worst loss you can remember? Put it into perspective for me…

What now, Ian? The Saban Sashay (watch those hips!), and then simply more of the same…


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Filed under Diversions / Investigations, General, Iron Bowl 365

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