Friday, November 24, 2006

Should he stay or should he go?

That has been the question that Alabama fans have been asking about Coach Mike Shula all week since the Tide lost to Auburn for the fifth year in a row. Many have been asking this question throughout the second half of this season.

The Tide was expected to finish around 8-4 this year but instead they have struggled to a 6-6 record. The losses were by an average of 8 points each. Most of the losses were against quality teams and most of those could have and should have been wins.

Some our wins this year were frustrating too. Alabama played terribly against two of the worst teams in college football: Duke and FIU. The worst point of the season to me was when Bama was trailing FIU (which had suspended 18 players from an already terrible team) 3-0 early in the second quarter on Homecoming.

The Tide's defense was decent this year, but not anywhere near as dominating as last year. The one constant has been the anemic offense. Last year the defense was so awesome (2nd in the nation) that the offense could go 15 quarters without scoring a touchdown and Bama still won all four games. This year, as in most, that lack of production results in losses.

One of the biggest concerns has been the play calling. Running up the middle with tailback Ken Darby on second or third and long has killed more drives than I can count. Alabama was in the "Red Zone" more than any other SEC team, but seldom scored touchdowns. Perhaps the worst example was in last Saturday's Iron Bowl. The Tide had the ball first and goal at the Auburn three. They ran up the middle three times in a row and got one yard and had to settle for a field goal. That's poor coaching any way you look at it.

So, what's going on? The University is mum. My gut feeling is that the athletic director is putting out feelers for big name head coaches, such as Steve Spurrier, Rich Rodriguez, ora few others. If none of these caliber coaches are available, then they will give Shula another year.

If Shula does get another year, he will have to make major changes on offense. First and foremost, he will need to give the play calling responsibilities to someone else.

I like what Coach Shula stands for. He has restored some stability to the Alabama program. It is in better shape than it was when he arrived. Having said that, I'm not sure whether he can take us to the next level. The next few days will be very interesting.

It's time for a change in Tuscaloosa:

Buyout might be cheaper than keeping Shula

If Alabama fires Shula, it'll surprise him ... and me

Evaluation under way, Moore says

Could Rodriguez be among favorites for the Alabama job?

Time for Tide to fire Shula

Shula Proposed His Own Changes

Opinions run gamut on what to do about Tide's Shula

COMMENTARY: A week later, still no word on Shula


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