Super Bowl Facts of Interest

Who was the last team to beat the Patriots in the regular season? The answer is………. the team once coached by this guy:

Ok, ok, I’ll toss you Tennessee fans a bone. Who has the most recent victory against the Patriots? Mr. Littlefoot himself, Peyton Manning.

There is a funnier cartoon connection involving Peyton’s weak shoulders and long neck, but I just can’t think of it right now.

Fresno Offense Footage

Ask and you shall receive my friends:

Fresno State vs. Kansas State

Fresno State vs. Georgia Tech

Fresno State vs. Texas A&M highlights

McElwain is Official

ALABAMA HEAD COACH NICK SABAN HIRES JIM MCELWAIN AS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

TUSCALOOSA – Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced the hiring of Jim McElwain as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Wednesday. McElwain served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fresno State last year after spending the 2006 season in the NFL as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. McElwain made an immediate impact in his first season at Fresno State as he helped lead the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, a significant turnaround from the previous year in which Fresno State posted a 4-8 mark.

“Jim is a phenomenal coach and we are thrilled to have him on board,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He did an outstanding job last year at Fresno State. Their improvement on offense, especially in the play of their quarterback, was tremendous. They had an impressive showing offensively against a very good Georgia Tech defense in their bowl win. In terms of production, they upped their offensive numbers significantly compared to the previous year. He’s worked with some great coaches including Pat Hill, John L. Smith and Scott Linehan. He also brings NFL experience working with quarterbacks, which is another big plus. We talked to a large pool of coaches when we interviewed for this position and Jim was absolutely the best candidate we spoke to.”

 (Gentry Estes)

1-5 in the SEC

What else can we do at this point? The first half turnover performance felt a little something like this….

12 turnovers? YIKES! The 2nd half performance was solid, but our defense was spotty once again. Tennessee is a high quality team that should’ve won. But, I saw plenty of dumb turnovers by Alabama that lead to such a highly inflated number (just my observations).

Gee finally put together two back-to-back quality scoring games, and Hendrix got another 20. Still, fans won’t be happy with those kind of small victories. While the performance it’ll doesn’t warrant any firing talk, most fans will believe a 1-5 start will…. especially with the amount of talent on this team. BTW, Senario Hillman is starting to turn into a highlight real.

Congrats to Tennessee as they head to Starkville for their next big game against Mississippi State. As for the Tide, we’ll be hosting LSU next on Saturday in what is looking like a battle of the titans….

bite.jpg
It’s not Finebaum v. Gottfried, but it’ll have to do.

OC Hire or Saban Spurned?

It appears that Fresno State has called a press conference regarding Jim McElwain showing interest in the Alabama Offensive Coordinator position. Gentry Estes of AL.com has the story.

This seems odd to me. Is Fresno calling PC because their Coordinator is leaving? It seems you would prefer a simple statement, so this concerns me slightly. If not McElwain, it’s McNulty or nothing I suppose.

PSA

I don’t know what to say at this point in the day. Alabama will probably have an OC within the coming hours/days, and the Tide basketball team is going to have to play their best game of the season against Tennessee to win. Our secret plan? Bears…. bears and Liz Gottfried sitting behind Bruce Pearl the entire game.

In case of bear troubles, consult this video

Your McNulty Got On My McElwain!

So, it appears that two Offensive Coordinators are in Tuscaloosa interviewing for the same position. We know about Jim McElwain from Fresno State, but John McNulty of Rutgers has been added to the list. McNulty has been confirmed in Tuscaloosa, and will interview for the opening (NJ.com)

 2007 was McNulty’s first year as full time OC. He shared the duties in the past with Craig Ver Steeg, and has played an important role in the rise of Rutgers football. The Scarlet Knights had a 3,000 yard passer, 2,000 rusher, and two 1,000 yard recievers this past season. Stay tuned for more information.

Greg Schiano and John McNulty

The McElwain Analysis

If you had never heard of Jim McElwain before, you aren’t the only one. He’s the former Oakland Raiders assistant turned college Offensive Coordinator for Fresno State (profile-what an amazing tan).

Born in Montana, Jim McElwain went to Eastern Washington University. He’s been a career assistant, with stops at EWU, Montana State, Louisville, Michigan State (no Saban ties), Oakland, and Fresno State. He seems to improve whatever position/ side of the football he coached on, minus the Oakland Raiders.

From what I’ve gathered, there are possible good qualities, and possible bad qualities about this hire. But, as fans, we always like a fresh helping of spin whenever it comes to bad features.

The Good

  • Fans and coaches at Fresno have attributed their 9 win season to McElwain’s arrival, where they went 4-8 the previous season.
  • Fresno scored 427 points last season, where they had over 5400 yards total. FSU scored 276 in 2006. (LINK)
  • Fresno’s QB, Tom Brandstater, improved dramatically under McElwain. He had 13 TDs, 14 Ints, and a QB rating of 106.74 in 2006. For 2007, he had 15 TDs, 5 Ints, and a QB rating of 140.48.
  • He developed such players as Plaxico Burress while the Recievers coach at Mich. State.
  • His offense blew out Kansas State (45-29), where Fresno had two drives of 70+ yards, one drive of 80+ yards, and one drive of 90+ yards.
  • Fresno blew out the “genius” John Tenuta (40-28), where they had 2 drives over 70 yards, 0ne drive over 80 yards, and two drives over 90 yards against Georgia Tech.

The Bad

  • He coached for the Oakland Raiders, who probably had the worst QB tandem in the NFL that season in an injured Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. I don’t think they had 10 passing TDs combined.
  • He was a part of a bad MSU program under John L. Smith.
  • Nobody in the eastern U.S. seems to recognize his name.
  • His previous OC experience came at Montana State in the 1990’s.

The Spin

  • Oakland is a train wreck on top of a volcano with Al Davis ruining everything. True, he had Randy Moss, but that guy is one of the laziest players in the league without Tom Brady.
  • There was zero offensive talent- save the RB- for Oakland.
  • Michigan State had a crazy face slapper as a head coach. McElwain did a good job with the receivers.
  • He’s done pretty well for himself after Montana State.
  • Because Nick Saban wants him, which means we must offer our joy in appreciation with the sacrifice of one tiger painted orange and blue (check the back of your Tide Pride ticket order sheet, it’s on there).

In the end, you can’t tell whether a guy will be a success or not until his product walks out onto the field. He seems to be a hard worker, which is a must if you want to coach under Nick Saban. Hopefully, he will accept the offer and have success at Alabama. I like his background, although it does concern me about how long he has been a Divsion I-A OC. But, Jimbo Fisher wasn’t that experienced, and he turned out to be fairly successful under Saban. Stay tuned for the latest news on the Coordinator search.

Jim McElwain to Alabama?

It is very possible at this point. CSTV is reporting that McElwain (Fresno State OC) is going to meet with Nick Saban in Tuscon, Arizona about the Alabama opening (a midway meeting point I assume). The report also states that “both sides believe a deal could be reached. The position became open when Tide offensive coordinator Major Applewhite returned to the University of Texas”. Here is the LINK

If you want to hear from Jim McElwain himself, here is an ESPN radio interview from last year. I’m sure many Alabama fans will be thrilled that he is buddies with Colin Cowherd.

Alabama 97 – Auburn 77

Big win since we were 0-4 in SEC play. To me, this proves a few things:

1. We should never have been run twice by Auburn last season seeing how we can dominate them with less experienced talent in 2008.

2. Steele’s injury isn’t as big an issue as certain folks wanted it to be.

3. We have enough talent to do well in conference play.

I know it is just basketball for a football state, but we need a quality basketball program in this state. If you want to be a top athletic program, you need more than one sport.

Gottfried and this team deserves a ton of credit for not letting things continue to slide, although there is no ignoring that 0-4 start. My only real complain was that we didn’t go for 100. 8-2 in the last 10 against AU.

Back to the way things should be on the hardwood.