Embracing the Past

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News has brought up something that I never really noticed until now, the football program is fully embracing its past stars once again. Cornelius Bennett is the main focus of the article, but it goes on to paint a broader picture about what happened during the probation period, before coming back to Bennett’s views.

During the probation period, the athletic department decided to be 100% positive that no new violations would come from past boosters, and even past players. I’m not exactly sure how much past coaching staffs had to do with this, but now that Nick Saban is in Tuscaloosa, he is embracing the legends.

Saban understands that in order to get the big name recruits, you need to be able to show them something impressive. By welcoming back all of the former players, high school recruits will be able to see that this school has a rich history of pro players. This will show the recruit that Alabama can get you into the NFL.

In recent history, UA has not had as many NFL players as the premier programs. In fact, before last season, Alabama only recently had two former tiders that were big successes in the pros (Alexander and Samuels). Now, with DeMeco Ryans, Mark Anderson, Roman Harper, and (hopefully) LeRon McClain seeing significant playing time, the time is ripe to start big time recruiting, which is what Nick Saban is all about.

I’m not trying to make Mike Shula the eternal scape goat, but even though he recruited some good skill position players, he was not reaching a national level. Sure, he was able to recruit Florida, but in all honesty he was not landing any of the top 10 recruits down there. He did well in Mississippi and Alabama, but that won’t return you to a national level.

I don’t think Mike Shula was a bad recruiter by any means. He came into a rough situation and gave us players that will help get us over the hump. However, with coach Saban, Alabama has that coach that can recruit nationally.

Was Shula using all of the tools available to him at UA? I don’t know for sure, and won’t try to make that judgement. But with Coach Saban, be sure that he is going to use every tool available to him and his staff while at the University of Alabama.

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One Response to “Embracing the Past”

  1. WesCrimson Says:

    With a few exceptions, I don’t think as a group that Shula’s recruiting classes were “coached up” to a significantly higher level than when they arrived on campus. Therefore it was always easier to “go back to the well” and play new equally talented recruits with higher long term potential.

    Then Mike Shula coached very conservatively to not lose the game and at times to keep it close. That in itself deflated most enthusiasm.

    Only a small percentage of the players in a Senior Class will even get in the Pros, but a larger per cent of the new recruits believe they have a chance and want to play where they have the most exposure and a better chance to make it into the Pros.

    I don’t believe you can judge the success of a college program by the number of players it has now or has had in pro football. But the top rated 5 star high school prospects probably all do. But then it is really the impact of the current pro players that has more of an impact than even the greats such Namath, Stabler or even Bennett. A Shaun Alexander or Brodie Croyle ( if he makes starting QB and does well) will help more.

    It is great to have the former players back on campus and supporting the current team, even if they have didn’t play pro ball. They have sacrificed and have done so much for the Tide over the years and should always have an honored place not only in our memories but also on campus with the football team.


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