Tag Archives: Mike Shula

Re-Krootin’!, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Brother

By Big Sexy

It’s official — Auburn has yet again been proven to be the little brother in the state of Alabama. Yep, the celebration of the latest in a long series of highly dubious yet much lauded national championships for the Crimson Tide will begin in earnest this weekend, although the party has been rockin’ for the legion of Bear Bryant shrine caretakers for about a year now.

Wednesday, Feb. 6, is the signing date for the nation’s college football recruits. This has become quite a spectacle in the last few years, gaining national television coverage and endless rabid discussion on the thousands of college football discussion boards of the internets (especially in the Southland). You’ve all seen the climactic moments produced by all this tripe, when whatever prized trophy recruit of the moment picks his chosen school’s hat from among the collection on the table in front of him, and that school’s faithful swoon and declare six years’ less winter. The next act doesn’t get as much coverage, when the young god gets an 8 on his ACT and has to do two years at the local community college before ending up on the fourth string kick coverage team five years later.


The War Eagle Reader breaks down the 2007 players from the state of Alabama in this Google map. What high schools are these guys coming from? Do the teams around Dothan suck or something? What schools are raiding across the state line (Hint: Georgia and Florida are homebodies)? More will be discussed in future installments, as well as a second map detailing the incoming 2008 recruits. View Larger Map

You may remember the high comedy performed a couple of years ago by esteemed Alabama Coach Mike Shula, when trying to secure Tim Tebow (one of the big recruits that actually lived up to the hype) for the Tide. Shula spent some 25 hours the final day of recruiting boarded up inside Tebow’s home, attempting to change the blue and orange (the other, uglier blue and orange) blooded kid’s mind about colleges. Shula was like that guy who won’t leave the party way after it’s over, and the Tebows started wondering if they were going to have to fake a death in the family to get him out of there. Of all the blindly optimistic windmill tilting of the last several years (think Iraq, abstinence education, praying that this is U2’s last record, etc.), this futile fawning by Shula was downright embarrassing. Poor Tebow can’t even throw a football to this day, for fear of Shula jumping from the sidelines to catch it, so he has to run the ball every play. Shattered.

Select your hat. Smile for the camera. See you in a few years.

On a related (and very disturbing) note, it was rumored that Shula then contacted Urban Meyer about walking on to play center while Tebow was quarterbacking. That’s just gross, and I’m quite certain he didn’t have any eligibility left anyway.

However, in spite of those past missteps, at least one of the expert recruiting sites already has Alabama ranked No. 1 with the current recruiting class. And this is even before the actual signing of Julio (Jones), the latest high school athlete of the universe. If you haven’t heard of Julio, who has ascended to that rarefied air of one-name status (e.g., Madonna, Bono, Corky, etc.), he is apparently a once-in-a-lifetime combination of Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Jesus, the Terminator, Alexander the Great, and Superman, with the whip appeal of Tyson Beckford. In other words, almost as good as DJ Hall. And those in the know say that he’s going to sign with the Tide.

In other words, Big Brother’s recruiting rankings are about to be shot into the stratosphere. And to hear them tell it, that means little brother Auburn had better not bother fielding a team for the next couple of decades. Because look at what the Great Sabanus’ recruits did this year at LSU! Oh, how the mighty trembled in their wake. “Looky-looky at what Little Nicky hath wrought! It doesn’t matter that Saban never really coached any of them, they were RE-KROOTED by Little Nicky!”

Never mind that the Bammers had been screaming about what a great re-krooter Shula was for the last few years. After all, 2007 was going to be the return to the promised land because of all his great work. The reality? A 6-6 regular season, at the hands of the great one. But this was cast aside because of the poor recruiting (?????) of Shula.

Therein lies the mindless deduction that will always leave Alabama as the Big Brother to Auburn. If you completely discard reason in all debate, all that remains is the glorious freedom to take whatever ludicrous position one wants in the resulting self-serving rants, and there is no need to even acknowledge, yet alone answer, past declarations.

For example, take the celebratory barbs from the elated Tide fans in early January when Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp left his position at Auburn to become the defensive coordinator at Texas. The Tide loonies went crazy with delight (you would have thought that the NASCAR channel had been announced as a replacement for those hippies on PBS — yeehaw! #3 for free!!) and began their 24/7 taunting campaign: “How could a coach leave a supposedly major program for the SAME position at another school?? … Auburn’s coach made a LATERAL move to get out of there!! … It was because he wanted to go to a school with an actual CHANCE at a national championship!! … This is yet more proof that Auburn will always suck!!” More simply, in base Internet message board terms: “BWAAAAHHAAAAAAAAHAAAAA!!”

Such was the state of joy in Tideland, where Christmas was officially extended for another few days, until two weeks later when wunderkind Alabama Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite left to take a running backs coach position at Texas. Yes, to boil it down to simple terms, he left for a MUCH lower ranking position, at the SAME school to which Muschamp went.

Surely this would give some of the Bammers pause to consider their earlier taunts, wouldn’t it? Of course not, silly rabbit, it wasn’t even a comparable slight. Major Applewhite was a hero at Texas, having played quarterback there during his college days. Of course he always wanted to go back there! Never mind that he grew up in absolute worship of the Crimson Tide and is even literally named after Major Olgivie, the Alabama running back of the late ’70s, and it was his life’s dream to coach there. It’s not the same kind of deal at all!!!!!

How do you win against this? The absolute purity of their logic, or fundamental lack thereof, is impeccable. Big Brother says he has won 12 national championships, although nobody outside the state can cite more than about half that with anything approaching a straight face. And the true number is so impressive, why tarnish it with the absurdity of the fabricated number? And those 12 are brought up every time an Auburn fan points out the recent Tiger dominance of the Iron Bowl series. And if called out for living in the past, it is then defended as TRADITION. Even if there is a Bammer who will agree to discuss just the current century of the two programs, he will be quick to tell you that Alabama has either been on probation, or suffering the aftershocks of probation, for the entirety of the last eight or so seasons, and that Auburn has never beaten a GOOD Alabama team. How do you even begin to rebut that?

You can’t, and you don’t. You recognize Big Brother for what he is, and I believe we should even celebrate him a bit for his trouble. Lord knows he needs some love. Last spring, in yet another move that made the Bammers the laughingstock of the nation, fans were actually turned away at the spring A-day game. This means that more than 90,000 people turned up to see a scrimmage (the first under the Great Sabanus), and thousands were turned away for lack of a place to put them. Yet while the nation laughed, the Bammers turned it into a source of pride, and are planning more of the same this year. The real loser in the debacle was the economy of the state of Alabama. Because with roughly 100,000 rednecks gathered in and around that fabled Tuscaloosa stadium (dubbed Jordan-Hare West by the more enlightened SEC fans), there were naught but empty aisles at every Bass Pro shop in the state. A tear dots my eye when I think of all the line dance calls that went unheard that day, when the taps at the wife-beater juke joints failed to flow libation down over the Saturday-night food-stamp regulars. Sniff.

So give it up, Auburn Nation, give it up to our Big Brother. We’ve got our fancy book learnin’, our non-mobile houses, our careers, and our teeth. So let Big Brother be the football champions for eight months of every year, which is exactly twice our measly four months. It’s always been that way, and it always will be.

We’ll be content with being on top from September through December, when the games are actually played. Big Brother, I love you.


Filed under Features, Iron Bowl 365, Recruiting

Toomer’s Rumors and Boomers – 1.28.08

*** Saban and Shula almost bump into each other. Shula would drop him like 4 million bricks.

*** And Lord, speaking of confrontations, word on the street is that Paul Finebaum was tongue-lashed by Elizabeth Gottfried, wife of Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried, at the Auburn-Alabama game Saturday afternoon in Coleman Coliseum, probably just as Kenny Smith (and his Yankee) and I sat down at Homewood’s new Little Auburn aka Mama Goldberg’s.

My favorite rumored slice of the exchange is Elizabeth’s “we have 5 kids, we have 5 kids!”

That’s a fine way to celebrate Bear Bryant’s Deathiversary…


Saturday night interstate up in Birmingham, Birmingham, War Damn Eagle-Ham. (r/t/y/j/k/a/j/f/ Kenny Smith)

*** Chef John Hamme of Ariccia, the swank restaurant in the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, was recently featured on an episode of the Food Network Challenge. Hamme prepared “Pancetta Wrapped Bayou La Batre Shrimp with Rikards Mill Yellow Corn Grits and Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes” for “The Great American Seafood Cook-Off II.” Hamme and Co.’s Warm Tomato Tart was named “Official Dish of the Year of Alabama Food Winner” by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel in 2005. Represent, Represent!

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Filed under Iron Bowl 365, Toomer's Rumors and Boomers

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