Thursday, December 28, 2006

Independence Bowl and Jan.1, 2007 Update

Today interim coach Joe Kines leads the Tide against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana at 3:30. In the scheme of things, it may not be the biggest bowl game ever, but it would be nice to see Alabama finish with a winning season. I will post more later.

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I won't write too much about the game. Alabama lost 34-31 on a last second field goal by Oklahoma State. To me, though, this game was confirmation that the Tide needed new leadership. Alabama erased a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter to the tie the game with a few minutes left. That is something that never happened once in the four years under head Coach Mike Shula. Also impressive to me was the improved play calling. Dave Rader did a fine job putting the offense in a position to succeed. Most notable was the lateral to Freshman All-American offensive tackle Andre Smith. After trying (and failing) to run it up the middle twice inside the five, Rader called this play and it worked like a charm. No one will ever know, but I am confident that if Coach Shula had tried plays like this in the "red zone" on just a few occasions, Alabama may have finished 8-5 or even 9-4 and he could have saved his job. We may have beaten Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, or Auburn. A victory in even two of those five games would have made a huge difference.

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Jan.1, 2007 Update:

That's all history now. The big news today is that Alabama officials are supposedly speaking with Miami Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban.

For what it is worth (they have been wrong repeatedly): Birmingham News

The most reliable reports have been from Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News