CHAMPS XVIII

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Scott Van Pelt, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. gus_chiggins

    gus_chiggins This carpet is overdue for a good moppin
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    Is there a copy of that article around? I’d love to read it again
     
  2. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    Gonzaga and UCLA about to tip off on ESPN. #1v#2. We get Gonzaga in a few weeks.
     
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  3. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
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  4. Deuce

    Deuce Well-Known Member
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    edsbs is retweeting the hits right now



     
  5. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    Man I’m gonna miss his little snide tweets. He was such a good follow on Twitter. A legend.
     
  6. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
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    He was so good at Twitter. The shots he would take about Anthony Grant’s offense. :laugh:
     
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  7. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    absolutely hilarious. He hated that shit as much as any of us. Countless retweets.
     
  8. Monte Alban

    Monte Alban Well-Known Member
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    Gonzaga is kicking the shit out UCLA. Dec 4th going to be one of the best sports day in UA history! (or one of the worst).
     
  9. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
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    After one of those games where we scored about 20 in the first half, I remember him tweeting that James Naismith would appear at halftime to have the rebuttal for the game of basketball.
     
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  10. gus_chiggins

    gus_chiggins This carpet is overdue for a good moppin
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    How many guys does UCLA return from last years team?
     
  11. Monte Alban

    Monte Alban Well-Known Member
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    A fair amount I believe. That is one of the reasons they started #2 this year.
     
  12. Deuce

    Deuce Well-Known Member
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  13. jplaYa

    jplaYa CHAMPZY/SMOLTZY/CHELSEA
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    All of them

    you’re not going to beat Gonzaga if you can’t score outside and inside and be physical at both ends. No chance.

    It’s still befuddling how badly Baylor housed them but they just beat them in every facet.
     
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  14. Drown ‘Em

    Drown ‘Em Well-Known Member
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    Lol, just random shit like this is what made him so great.
     
  15. southlick

    southlick "Better Than You"
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    "Their best win is against USC...when you look at their resume, who did they beat?"

    @CFBHeather on Alabama


    Cecil Hurt
    @CecilHurt Cecil Hurt Retweeted Paul Finebaum
    You could walk into any sports bar in America and find someone more qualified than Heather Dinich
     
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  16. Juicy Locke

    Juicy Locke Proud Papa
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  17. jplaYa

    jplaYa CHAMPZY/SMOLTZY/CHELSEA
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    Gonzaga is also a really tough matchup. We didn’t have the depth to really match up with them well last year. We would have not had an answer for Timme except with Herb and he would have probably had to be on someone else.

    Chet - Bediako
    Timme - Gurley
    Nembhard - Keon
    Strawther - Shack
    Bolton - Q

    Strawther and Shack is the big matchup issue but Nembhard is their best offensive threat not named Timme so I think you go Keon and when they sub out their size bring in Gary and shift everyone down. They’re a matchup nightmare. I really would love to see Frentchie get some minutes and get in shape because he’s athletic enough to guard Timme and Chet and I think KAH would be bodied by both.

    Lots of games between now and then. We are going to know a lot Thursday.
     
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  18. DriveByBBQ

    DriveByBBQ Well-Known Member
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    https://web.archive.org/web/2006102...rticle/20061021/NEWS/61021003/1067/SPORTS0106

    CECIL HURT: No one left to blame

    [​IMG] Print this story [​IMG] NOTEBOOK: Shula says decision "right one at the time"
    Alabama can’t blame bad luck. It can’t blame bad karma, or bad calls, or bad treatment at the hands of the NCAA. Not this time. Not when the same script was tried with the same heart-rending but utterly predictable results.

    This time, the answer for Mike Shula can be found in one place: The mirror.

    Alabama didn’t score enough points to win on the road against a quality opponent in Knoxville on Saturday. That happens to every team from time to time – but in the past four years, it has happened to Alabama every time. That’s Every Single Time. The Crimson Tide hasn’t gone away from home and beaten a team worth beating since Dennis Franchione’s 2002 team went to Baton Rouge and blew LSU out of Tiger Stadium.

    Forget about the win at South Carolina last season. The reference here is to teams that matter in the SEC – Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Florida, even Arkansas if you want to make the tent big enough for the Hogs. Against every one of those teams, Alabama has played gutty, hard-nosed football – but failed to score enough points to win.

    Since 2003, that has been 20 or less, every single time.

    Thirteen, appropriately enough, appears to be the favorite unlucky number, as it was again Saturday. That’s almost never going to be enough in the other team’s stadium, and it made it perplexing when Shula came in and said the loss was "heartbreaking" because he thought his team "had done enough to win."

    No, it hadn’t. Thirteen points is not enough.

    Sure, there are reasons. Sure, Alabama missed Keith Brown on Saturday, probably to the same extent that Tennessee’s defense missed tackle Justin Harrell and safety Inky Johnson. Injuries aren’t an excuse. Sure, Alabama is coming off probation, but at some point, it does come down to 11-on-11. Sure, the players didn’t execute perfectly on every single play.

    But that misses the point. If the insistence on doing the same thing over and over and over -- embracing the damnation of Sisyphus, who always pushed his rock in Hades to within inches of the top of a hill, only to see it roll back down every time – has been necessary in 10 SEC road losses, it is not necessary any more.

    Alabama’s offense has been tried in these situations, and tried again. It doesn’t work. Whatever fine-tuning has been done isn’t making it work. It’s like having an old automobile. You try to start it and it doesn’t start. You try again. It almost turns over. One more pump of the gas pedal, you think, and it will roar to life. But it never does.

    Patience is wonderful, but there comes a team when there is an inescapable conclusion about a machine that doesn’t work.

    It’s broke.

    And when something is broke, it’s time to fix it.

    It isn’t just the point output in Alabama’s 16-13 loss to Tennessee, although that is a part of it. Alabama actually had a chance to make the 13 points stand up, and it might seem easy to blame the defense for giving up 10 fourth-quarter points. But even that failure was, in large part, offensive.

    Twice in the fourth quarter, Alabama’s offense got the ball with the lead. The first time, Alabama – pushed back by a special teams penalty (another cause for another day’s tirade) couldn’t get a first down and push the ball past its 20. Tennessee took the punt, aided by yet another special teams penalty (that tirade is getting closer), kicked a field goal. The offense got the ball back, did hit on a pass to DJ Hall, but couldn’t get another first down, burned less than two minutes of the clock and, after a 29-yard punt (more fodder for the pending special-teams tirade), put the tired Tide defense back on the field again.

    The game’s great debate is over Alabama’s first-half failings in the red zone, and especially Shula’s decision to kick a go-ahead field goal instead of trying for a touchdown on a fourth down at the Tennessee 1. Under certain circumstances, it’s a defensible, if conservative, decision.

    Alabama’s circumstances, though, are just the opposite. It needs to make something good happen, not worry itself into inertia because something bad might happen. At some point, it’s less of a debate about whether to go on that particular fourth-and-1. It’s about taking every reasonable risk. Alabama needs to be going on just about every fourth down, not just that one. Sure, it will backfire sometimes, but is it any worse to lose because of a backfire than to expire under the steady torture that Alabama seems to suffer in every road game?

    I thought a corner had been turned after the Arkansas loss. There were signs against Florida, and more signs against Ole Miss, of a play-to-win mentality. But in Knoxville, the shell into which Alabama seems to crawl on the road was back, as big as ever.

    It was nothing new. For everyone that is familiar with Alabama’s recent history, the game played out with a numbing familiarity.

    So there is no other conclusion: the philosophy itself is broken. Mike Shula deserves the chance to fix it or to hire a mechanic to fix it for him. But it’s now obvious – the fault at Alabama lies not in the stars, but in themselves.

    Article Suttles references.

    CECIL HURT: Does Alabama have the best coach it could have?

    [​IMG] Print this story [​IMG] Iron Bowl pre-game
    Alabama v. Auburn
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    Alabama v. Auburn prt. III
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    Pre-game painting

    There could be a million questions asked about Saturday’s Alabama-Auburn game — and 999,999 of them don’t matter.

    Forget about asking the many obvious strategic questions that came up — they don’t matter.

    The first-quarter decision not to go for a touchdown when the offense bogged down (again) inside the Auburn 5-yard line? It doesn’t matter.

    The second-quarter decision to pursue a frivolous 2-point conversion (after a timeout to think about it)? It doesn’t matter.

    The fourth-quarter decision to go for a fourth-and-15 at the Auburn 18 with 5:17 remaining, after sending the kicking team on and (again) wasting a valuable timeout to think about it? It doesn’t matter.

    The swinging gate at the right end of the Alabama offensive line that allowed two crucial fumble-causing hits on John Parker Wilson? It doesn’t matter.

    Debate those strategic decisions — what play was called, what players were in the game — all you want. They had an impact on the outcome, of course, but are just symptoms that have recurred in one form or another in every single game this season, six less-than-stellar wins and now six dismal losses, including all three games in November.

    To continue with the questions...

    Should 6-6 Alabama accept a bowl bid, in the increasingly unlikely event that one is extended by the Independence Bowl, or one of the couple of off-brand bowls that might have an opening? It doesn’t matter.

    What about the inability to come back from a fourth-quarter deficit for the 19th — or is it the 20th — straight time? It doesn’t matter.

    The staggeringly consistent failure to score more than 20 points in regulation in any SEC game this season? It doesn’t matter.

    The 2-8 record in the last 10 SEC games? It doesn’t matter.

    The five straight losses to Auburn, including one Saturday that confirmed that the Tigers don’t even have to play at the top of their form to win the game on Alabama’s home turf. Certainly, AU did most of the little things better than Alabama did — but their quarterback was hurting, and their defense made some mistakes. It didn’t matter. Auburn now feels it can win, regardless, against Alabama, and while it’s futile to look four years down the road, one can rest assured that the Tigers have Paul Bryant’s series record of nine straight wins prominently on their orange-and-blue “To Do” list.

    Some day, there will be time to reflect on all those things. This morning isn’t that time.

    There is just one question that matters today. I can ask it, or you can ask it, but it doesn’t matter unless the right person at the University of Alabama asks it.

    Does the Crimson Tide football program have the best head coach it could have?

    If the answer is “yes,” then nothing more needs to be said.

    If the answer is “no,” then there are a few follow-up questions, like “why?” and “what is to be done about that?”

    No other considerations should make any difference. Yes, there is a short list of reasons to keep Mike Shula as the Tide’s head coach in the wake of a 6-6 season and a fifth straight loss to Auburn. Most of them are financial, or perceptual. It would cost a lot of money — $4 million, give or take a little — to buy him out.

    Or it might be that, since Shula took the job when Alabama was in dire straits, it wouldn’t be gentlemanly to make a move, even as the gap between UA and the league’s top programs seems to be widening, not narrowing.

    Or it might just be the path of least resistance to simply stick with the status quo, to not go about the tough chore of attracting a proven replacement.

    But unless the reason is that he is the best coach Alabama could have right now, do the above considerations really matter?

    Will someone at the University of Alabama actually ask the hard question?

    One has to hope so. It’s been debated over the past few weeks and, despite what some have said, there was no firm answer reached before the Auburn game.

    Shula himself said there would be “an evaluation” of the wreckage of the 2006 season, a reconnaissance of the smoldering ruins that would involve his own evaluation of the coaching staff and would “probably” involve Athletic Director Mal Moore and University President Dr. Robert Witt.

    No one is surprised that the higher-ups want answers, ones which should have been demanded before now, frankly. In that process, perhaps Shula can make his case, and explain how things that did not get one iota better from the first week of the season to the last week, will get better with another spring, or another offseason.

    Perhaps he’ll recommend staff changes — he made a postgame allusion to Tennessee’s improvement from 2005 to 2006 that clearly begged the question of a new offensive coordinator, at a minimum.

    Things like staff changes, or philosophy changes, or recruiting changes, are all trivial details, though, when compared to the one important question.

    To repeat it: Does the Crimson Tide football program have the best head coach it could have?

    It isn’t an easy question, even if increasingly frustrated UA fans have a quick answer ready. It’s tough to factor out all the variables, like Mike Shula being a good person (which he is). But it’s got to be asked. It probably should have been asked and answered already, but the deadline for a response has now arrived, inescapably.

    For Alabama’s sake, it better be the right answer. Because if it isn’t, then the question you’ll be hearing a few years from now might very well be, “Whatever happened to Alabama football?” and — what is far worse — the answer might come hauntingly back.

    “It doesn’t matter.”

    Cecil Hurt is sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Reach him at [email protected] or 205-722-0225.
     
    #91818 DriveByBBQ, Nov 23, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
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  19. DriveByBBQ

    DriveByBBQ Well-Known Member
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    CECIL HURT: The Saban countdown starts today

    [​IMG] Print this story [​IMG] University of Alabama football fan will be watching today is not in New York. Instead, it hovers high above the field at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. That’s where the Miami Dolphins will play their final game of the NFL season today. When the digits on that clock reach 0:00 this evening, that’s when the University of Alabama coaching search, seemingly dormant for three weeks, roars back to life.

    It’s no secret Miami coach Nick Saban is Alabama’s top priority. At some point after Saban leaves the field following the Dolphins-Colts game that someone from Alabama will contact him. Not long after that -- probably on Monday -- Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore and UA president Robert Witt will make their pitch to Saban.

    Will he accept? You can find plenty of sources who say he will, that he is tired of the NFL and ready to return to a college and put himself in a position to make history and win a second national championship at a second stop. As you move your search sources geographically from Tuscaloosa to Miami, you can find other sources, just as “reliable", that say he won’t turn his back on Dolphin owner Wayne Huizenga and leave unfinished business in the National Football League. And there are some well-informed people who truly put the matter at 50-50, or thereabouts.

    Only Saban knows the answer for sure. At this point, he’s not saying, certainly not to anyone outside of his inner circle. He won’t even address media questions that contain the word “Alabama" any more.

    No one else can speak for him, just as no one could speak for Rich Rodriguez or Mike Riley or Frank Beamer or (since this isn’t simply a roll call of recent refusals) Mike Price or Dennis Franchione.

    From the Alabama side, the only word is that officials are prepared to make an offer that will address any concerns that Saban might have. The Miami Herald on Saturday seemed to back off an earlier story in which it cited a grossly inflated (but widely reported) “$57 million package." The number now being mentioned -- around $40 million, when all incentives are factored in -- is probably closer to reality. All Alabama sources will say is Saban’s desire to be the highest-paid coach in college football will be “a consideration." At one time, Saban had a clause in his LSU contract that guaranteed, if he ever won the national championship (which he did), he had to make one dollar more than the highest-paid coach in the country. That “highest-paid coach" currently is Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, who makes $3.45 million annually.

    Then there are issues that would fall under the general heading of “control." Again, no one is being specific, but it’s expected that Saban could expect a similar situation at Alabama to the one he worked under at LSU.

    Here is how his agent, Jimmy Sexton (who was not available for comment on Saturday) addressed that issue in a 2004 interview with the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

    “The one thing people fail to realize is that with the way money has increased in college football, when you are a head coach in college football, you are your own boss," Sexton said at the time. “Yeah, there’s an athletic director and a president. Not to take anything away from those guys because (LSU AD) Skip Bertman and (LSU chancellor) Mark Emmert are great people to work for at LSU, but they don’t really bother Nick Saban. They let him run the program. He is the CEO, he is the personnel director, he is the head coach."

    One assumes he would expect the same autonomy if he returns to college football, and that Alabama would grant it.

    None of that should be interpreted as saying that Saban will come to Tuscaloosa, or that he won’t. Only he can answer that question. All Alabama can do -- and what it seems that UA officials will do -- is make the position as attractive as possible.

    If that isn’t enough, Alabama should know quickly and be in position to proceed to some sort of “Plan B." While patience was the watchword for December (even if that patience seemed to falter in a brief, ill-fated run at West Virginia’s Rodriguez), the new keyword for the New Year is “urgency." Alabama’s aim when it decided that Mike Shula was not the coach to return UA to a championship level was to bring aboard a coach who can.

    That’s a high aim, but that was the point of making a change. The object is to leap back into the forefront of college football, not to keep wandering aimlessly or even to take baby steps in the right general direction.

    Will it happen? Time will tell. And that telling time will begin today.

    Cecil Hurt is sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Reach him at [email protected] or 205-722-0225.

    CECIL HURT: It was over in first 10 minutes

    Published: Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 3:30 a.m.
    Last Modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 5:09 a.m.
    ATLANTA | The war of nerves started before the game did on Saturday night.

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    It didn’t last very long.

    It started with the coin toss. The University of Alabama won that toss. It elected — maybe “demanded” would be a better word — to receive the football.

    When it took the kickoff, Alabama ran the ball straight ahead on three consecutive plays, perhaps as much for the sheer pleasure of smacking Clemson in the mouth as for the yardage that it netted.

    That drive ultimately ended with a long field goal, but it also sent a message that was worth a lot more than three points.

    Clemson’s first drive sent the opposite message. The first play wasn’t a similar run, a play designed for big back James Davis to answer with some physicality. It was a fade pass that Tiger quarterback Cullen Harper couldn’t complete.

    The next play, an overwhelmed freshman back named Jamie Harper fumbled the ball.

    Clemson never again called plays as if it thought it could effectively block Alabama. It tried some misdirection, some direct snap trickery, but most of it accomplished little.

    The game wasn’t 10 minutes old. But it was over.

    Clemson had two highlights after that, one long catch-and-run by speedy Jacoby Ford that resulted in a field goal (Ford didn’t make it through the hard-hitting first half) and a nifty kickoff return by C.J. Spiller, who is so good and fast that he really should get to rush the ball more than two times in a game, blocking or not.

    Alabama, as Nick Saban noted, didn’t pressure Clemson much. It played defense aggressively, but with an eye at containing Clemson’s package of bubble screens and other diversions.

    Offensively, Alabama just kept pounding. The Tide could throw whenever it wanted. If tight end Nick Walker slept with a blanket upon returning to Tuscaloosa on Saturday night, it was the first time all evening that he was covered.

    Mainly, though, the Crimson Tide ran. And ran. And ran some more.

    Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was left to wonder what the number of the Escalade that ran over his front seven might have been, and whether he should have devoted more time to coaching and less to comedy during the week.

    “I think the last drive, to take the air out of it for seven minutes, is what you call finishing the game and I was pleased and proud that we were able to do that,” UA coach Nick Saban said.

    The closest thing to a scary moment came when Spiller opened the second half with a lightning kickoff return. Last year’s Alabama team didn’t handle such adversity well.

    “Those were the things that we would melt down on in the past,” Saban said. “People would flatten out. But we responded and I think when you respond to adversity, that’s the sign of a good competitor.”

    The result was Alabama’s first win over a top-10 team since Florida in 2005 and its most notable regular-season non-conference win since a victory over Penn State in 1989. Coming as it does, at the start of the schedule, it will send Alabama fans into an excited frenzy. It should be a cause of celebration, but it should also come with a note of caution. The Atlantic Coast Conference portion of the Crimson Tide schedule is over. Before long, big-boy football – the SEC kind – will begin.

    “This is just one game,” Saban said. “We’ve still got to find an identity.

    “We’ve just made a ‘B’ on a midterm. Do we slack off and make a ‘D’ on the next one and have a ‘C’ average? Or do we try to make an ‘A’?”

    There is no way to downplay the emotions of this win for Alabama fans.

    It wasn’t just that the Crimson Tide beat a team that was favored, and had a big reputation, although that must have felt sweet. It was the way Alabama did it – with tough, physical football that has been the Saban trademark elsewhere – that was the most gratifying thing, the first fulfillment of Saban’s prediction upon his hiring. He stated then that Alabama would become a team that other teams hated to play.

    Today, Clemson knows just what he was talking about.

    Cecil Hurt is sports editor of the Tuscaloosa News. Reach him at

    [email protected] or 205-722-0225.


    https://web.archive.org/web/20120106000904/http://alabama.rivals.com/content.asp?SID=885&CID=1197392
     
    #91819 DriveByBBQ, Nov 23, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  20. jplaYa

    jplaYa CHAMPZY/SMOLTZY/CHELSEA
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    Cronin’s offense and the style of play aren’t meant for 20 point comebacks because the intent is to never be that far down. His Cincy teams were really good at that. Hang around and suffocate.
     
  21. Drown ‘Em

    Drown ‘Em Well-Known Member
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    I was at this game. It truly was such a miserable loss. Only game in Knoxville to which I’ve been.
     
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  22. southlick

    southlick "Better Than You"
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  23. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    Hoping we see more of Tchikou too. I agree he definitely could help add a big body to Chet. He’s athletic enough to be able to run with him. I’d rather he and Bediako try to handle him than KAH. I think he’s just too big for KAH.
     
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  24. Drown ‘Em

    Drown ‘Em Well-Known Member
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    Column: Through The Good Times & Bad, Cecil Was There
    Ryan Phillips, Patch Staff

    I inherited a stack of old yellow newspapers when my aunt died — all frayed copies of the Tuscaloosa News that feature historic Crimson Tide moments.

    We keep stuff like that here in the South because, what they lose in depreciation, they gain in sentimental value with each new year.

    My Aunt Ann saved everything printed when legendary Crimson Tide football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant died. In one edition from Jan. 27, 1983, a then-little-known staff writer in his early 20s named Cecil Hurt reported on the reactions of Coach Bryant's aides after receiving news the day before that the iconic coach had died of a sudden heart attack.

    That same week, in what had to have been one of his most thrilling assignments of his young career to that point, he would cover a 70-67 upset of No. 1 UCLA by the Crimson Tide men's basketball team ... the same day that a motorcade transported Coach Bryant to his final resting place at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham.

    "Cecil was a college football historian," SEC Network television personality and former Auburn football player Cole Cubelic told Patch Tuesday night. "So even though he covered Alabama, he had the respect for and knowledge of other teams. He was a beautiful storyteller who always had you reeled in, but I always felt like that dry sense of humor really set him apart. They just don't make them like him anymore."

    Cecil would go on to write extensively for the Tuscaloosa News over more than four decades, covering everything from the failure of Ray Perkins to escape the shadow of his late mentor, to an exciting young linebacker named Derrick Thomas who would forever change the game of football.

    He was in the press box for the stale years of Alabama football and the return to glory under Gene Stallings. Cecil was in the crowd of reporters for the calamitous series of failed football coaches who followed over the next decade that hit its fever pitch with Mike Price being fired before ever coaching a single down for the Tide.

    And Cecil was most certainly watching 15 years ago on an overcast afternoon in January when Nick Saban's private jet was met with a roaring crowd when it touched down at Tuscaloosa Regional Airport — forever changing the physical landscape of Tuscaloosa and the cultural landscape of college football.

    I grew up in Tuscaloosa and am someone who in-part learned how to read by trying to make sense of sports columns from the likes Cecil Hurt and Andrew Carroll, in addition to the beautiful writing of another of my heroes, the late Ben Windham. So it was no doubt a sad reminder of time's inevitable passage when we received news that Cecil died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 62.

    I admit that I'm a typical Tuscaloosa native whose feelings on the local paper have ebbed and flowed over the years, but Cecil was always the constant.

    It's funny to think about in today's digital age, but my high school teammates and I would shove and grab at the one pile of newspapers delivered each day during break period at Northside High School. In most cases, we would immediately remove the sports section and toss the rest of the paper into the trash, before standing around reading scores and talking about what Cecil had to say about Mike Shula or Mark Gottfried.

    Sadly, I don't have a personal Cecil Hurt story. But WVUA Sports Director Gary Harris told me in a quick chat Tuesday that the stories like mine were numerous and underscored Cecil's reach. These include the Bama diehards who have cited Cecil in Sunday lunch table arguments with enough regularity to give one the impression they knew why Cecil was smirking in his longtime byline headshot — despite never once meeting the man.

    Harris and the popular newspaper columnist appeared countless times together discussing Crimson Tide sports on WVUA. A well-known television broadcaster himself, Harris described Cecil as a friend and a Renaissance man.

    "Even the people who didn't know him personally knew him through his words and that's about the greatest legacy you could leave," Harris said. "They feel like they knew him. That was Cecil's gift. He was an iconic journalism figure regardless. It didn't matter if it was news, sports or whatever. He was a sports writer, but a journalist first. It's a huge loss for everybody in this state, it doesn't matter if its Alabama or Auburn."

    Jim Rainey, who worked as publisher of the Tuscaloosa News from 2012-2018, echoed the sentiment, saying while Cecil will no doubt be remembered most for his "magnificent" columns on Alabama football, many people fail to fully appreciate the incredible work he did for many Alabama basketball seasons.

    This made me think back to his story of Alabama's 1983 win over No. 1 UCLA, where Cecil described the black ribbons on their Crimson uniforms to honor Coach Bryant. It was a story that on any other would have been on the the top fold of any other paper in America.

    "He was as passionate about covering a disappointing basketball season as he was a championship football season," Rainey told me. "And Cecil wasn't just a great wordsmith. He was also a very good reporter, whose sourcing was always impeccable."

    Former Alabama basketball coach Wimp Sanderson — who coached the likes of NBA stars such as Latrell Sprewell and Robert Horry during their time at the Capstone — told Patch he always appreciated Cecil's impeccable coverage and spoke to the longtime columnist's ability to follow the nuances of a sport and not just the numbers on the scoreboard.

    "Cecil was so level-headed and understood teams, coaches and players," Sanderson told me Tuesday evening. "He will be missed and I hate it so much."

    Cecil also died just days before the Iron Bowl, with his absence setting this year's installment apart from most others over the last half decade. But it would be at one these annual rivalry meetings that Jim Rainey — Cecil's future publisher at the Tuscaloosa News — would first meet the patriarch of modern-day sports journalism in Tuscaloosa.

    "My first memory of meeting him was in the press box at Auburn before an Iron Bowl," he said. "He was reading a book that appeared to be as thick as 'War and Peace.' I was the publisher of the Opelika-Auburn News at the time. I asked the person next to me, 'What's up with this guy? He doesn't seem much interested in the game.' I was told 'That's Cecil Hurt.' That's when I noticed his laptop beside him. Half of his column was already written."

    Rainey said he kept a close eye on Cecil to observe how he would watch a football game, noting that he would read the thick book during a television timeout, before writing a sentence or two of his story.

    An accomplished and talented journalist in his own right, Rainey noticed that Cecil continued in that rhythm until the end of the game.

    "The next morning, I read everything on that game and realized, though it was a Bama loss, no one came close to capturing the moment like Cecil," he said. "He is a legend for a good reason. He was that good. Some people march to the beat of their own drummer. Cecil conducted his own marching band. He saw the world differently than the rest of us but was uniquely gifted in communicating things the rest of us might have seen in a light that brought them to life anew"

    Cecil's Legacy
    This gift for seeing the whole picture was not lost on the scores of younger journalists who looked up to him — including the author of this column. Cecil's storytelling ability and passion for commentary rubbed off on many others, ranging from his co-workers to those in the athletic press pools in Tuscaloosa who were technically his competitors.

    Former Tuscaloosa News reporter Drew Taylor, a contemporary journalist I greatly respect who regularly hammers out complex pieces of journalism for CBS 42, is one-such writer in the next generation of journalists tasked with making sense of the world around us.

    "Cecil Hurt was one of the best sportswriters in America in a way that was unassuming, yet undeniable," he told me. "Many columnists and talking heads pander and provoke to get attention. Instead, Cecil just tried to tell it the best way he could. At The Tuscaloosa News, you wanted to do the best stories you could just so you could feel like you were in his league. The truth is that no one was in his league. No one will ever be in his league, but he made all of us better by always pushing forward and always keeping his mind and heart open."

    Taylor is right. No one is in Cecil's league. That's why everyone else in this story is formally referred to by their last names. And after all, it's the only way I've ever heard the man referred to in my 32 years on this earth.

    AL.com Crimson Tide beat writer Michael Casagrande, while also among the younger generation of journalists, has seen volumes during his time in the press box. With the Iron Bowl approaching on Saturday, it will be the first normal season during Casagrande's career covering The Tide that he knows Cecil will not be back in the columns of the paper the next day.

    "Cecil was an institution and I could see that the minute I walked into the Alabama media room," he told me on Tuesday. "You could see how much respect he had within our business and the readers who consumed our work. He was every bit as hilarious in person as he was on Twitter. His one liners in the press box was a reminder of how fortunate we were to work in this business. I can't imagine how it will feel at the Iron Bowl without his wit and humor."

    No idea who this is, but thought this was well written. Really enjoyed these excerpts:

    "The next morning, I read everything on that game and realized, though it was a Bama loss, no one came close to capturing the moment like Cecil," he said. "He is a legend for a good reason. He was that good. Some people march to the beat of their own drummer. Cecil conducted his own marching band. He saw the world differently than the rest of us but was uniquely gifted in communicating things the rest of us might have seen in a light that brought them to life anew"

    &

    “Taylor is right. No one is in Cecil's league. That's why everyone else in this story is formally referred to by their last names. And after all, it's the only way I've ever heard the man referred to in my 32 years on this earth.”
     
    #91824 Drown ‘Em, Nov 23, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
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  25. DriveByBBQ

    DriveByBBQ Well-Known Member
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    nm
     
    #91825 DriveByBBQ, Nov 24, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
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  26. RJF-GUMP

    RJF-GUMP Daubert Qualified in Cooler Thermodynamics
    Donor TMB OG

    Jeez reading a 2006 column about us losing to Tennessee, scoring 13 points, reeling from Keith Brown being out with an injury, is giving me Shula Warrior PTSD. Whenever Saban retires someone needs to make our AD read all those columns as to avoid returning to that hell.
     
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  27. Owsley

    Owsley My friends call me Bear
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    Suttles: Cecil Hurt’s unmatched wit, wisdom and presence around Alabama can never be replicated

    Cecil would hate this.

    He really would. All of this well-deserved praise for him cascading in from every direction of the country would make him uncomfortable. Especially during Iron Bowl week. He’d hate it so much, wanting the attention to be on the athletes, team and sport he dedicated his professional life to since 1982. But he merits all of it and more.

    Cecil Hurt died Tuesday afternoon at UAB Hospital after battling myriad health conditions over the past few weeks. He was 62 years old.

    A few years ago, The Tuscaloosa News sports staff was in Baton Rouge to cover an Alabama-LSU game, a bi-annual trip for us. But this one was different, at least for me.

    Cecil had asked if I wanted to grab lunch with him at this out-of-the-way spot about an hour out of town. It would just be the two of us for a few hours before that night’s prime-time game. I was excited. You didn’t turn down one-on-one time with Cecil because you knew everything you’d gain from an experience like that.

    As we rode west on I-10 toward Breaux Bridge, we talked about everything. It started with discussion of the Tide and Tigers and transitioned into our favorite albums after enjoying some Zydeco music on local radio, with some professional wrestling and everything in between sprinkled in. He’d ask me about what I thought of the latest Jason Isbell release, and I’d ask him about what it was like when the Rolling Stones played Memorial Coliseum (now Coleman Coliseum) in the 1970s. You never really knew where the conversation was going to go, and that was thrilling because of his brilliance.

    He was among the smartest minds I’ve ever encountered. Trust me when I tell you that his brain was a super computer.

    We ate ourselves silly at Poche’s that day, laughing at just about everything. He had a wicked sense of humor. Just when you least expected it, he’d unleash a one-liner that was equal parts smart and funny. It was pure Cecil. He had a way of making even a simple lunch exhilarating. He gave lots of people those types of encounters over the years.

    It was my favorite time spent with the man who I professionally idolized. I think of it often.


    It’s hard to overstate Cecil’s importance as the voice of Alabama athletics. He’s perhaps better described as an institution, and that is a fitting title. He was a walking encyclopedia about every era of the Crimson Tide from Wallace Wade to Nick Saban, from Leon Douglas to Herb Jones.

    He influenced so many of us over the years. It didn’t matter if you were a fresh-faced college journalist, a visiting writer from out of town or a member of the beat. He always had a kind, encouraging word. You always secretly hoped that he’d talk to you when he walked into a room. But at the same time, you kind of hoped he didn’t because you knew you had to match him. And he was always on. That wit never turned off.

    When I first started at The Tuscaloosa News, I was a part-time call taker. I’d come in Friday nights and answer phone calls from local high schools to get the scores into Saturday’s paper. I sat across from his cubicle and sometimes would just stare at it, dreaming about what it would be like to report and opine about Alabama athletics in that paper. I never dared dream of reaching his heights because in many ways he was a reporter from a bygone era.

    He started at the News right out of college, before the internet minimized the importance of a local columnist. He’d often tell stories about how he missed out on a million-dollar idea. Back then, before there were recruiting websites, people would actually call The Tuscaloosa News and get recruiting updates from him. Can you imagine?

    The thing is, Cecil was never minimized as a local columnist. Even though you could read an opinion about Alabama football from a national writer or a blogger, his words still carried big weight. And he was thoughtful with how he used them. Cecil was never a hot-take purveyor. As an English major, words mattered a great deal to him. That’s why you rarely spotted him without a book in his hand or under his arm. He measured his words carefully, even when it meant that the writing was on the wall for a coaching career.

    I studied that skill early in my career because it was the exact opposite of how most columnists went about their work. I vividly remember his column after the 2006 Iron Bowl. The lede to that piece went like this: “Does Alabama have the best coach it could have?”

    The moment I read that, I knew Mike Shula’s career was over at Alabama. Everyone knew it. While others screamed from the mountaintop that Shula should be fired for losing another game to Auburn, Cecil’s simple words carried more weight.

    If you walk around screaming at everything, it loses its effect over time. Cecil knew that better than all of us. Not long after those words were published and hit everyone’s front door via the Sunday morning paper, Shula was fired.

    What power, I thought. But more so I admired how he wielded it. He never abused it because he knew what havoc his words could create. He measured them carefully, and that made them all the more powerful when he felt a message needed to be delivered.

    Occasionally, he would wonder into the office to check his voicemail. It was a big deal to see him. I eventually joined the sports staff full time, first as the women’s basketball beat writer and then as a prep reporter. One day, I was averaging up stats for a local high school team for the weekly prep section. I marveled at a local running back and the yards he’d put up in his first five games. I read his yardage from each game aloud as I entered it into my calculator. As I hit the equal sign, Cecil had already figured it out in his head and was saying it to me down to the thousandth decimal place. My jaw fell open.

    Such was his brilliance.

    It was his wit that made him stand out in today’s never-ending news cycle. He mastered Twitter better than those 40 years his junior. No one was faster or smarter with an off-the-cuff quip. You always hoped you sat next to him in the press box because oftentimes he’d try out a line on you before he tweeted it for the masses. And sometimes he’d just tell you and not tweet it and it felt like you shared a secret.


    He loved his animals and most recently regaled us all with tales of Slim Charles, the cat. Cecil loved the outdoors. He enjoyed going to Lake Nicol to watch his dog splash around. He once took a year off from the News to follow his girlfriend, who was in the Peace Corps, around the world. The stories that man could tell.

    He’s a man who could have done anything he wanted. I often joked with him that he was wasting his time writing about sports, that he had so much to give the world with his brilliance. But I always understood that writing about sports is what he loved. It’s what he wanted to do.

    His father played football at Alabama, and documenting that program became his life’s work. And all of us in this state who read him are better for it.

    It’s not lost on me that Cecil departed during Iron Bowl week. In a way, it’s fitting. Nobody obsesses over college football like this state, and no game means as much as Alabama-Auburn. Cecil would hate that his passing is taking attention away from it. But not me. When the game concludes Saturday evening, I’ll have a yearning in my soul to read what he would’ve written about it. He’d write something better in half the words on deadline than I could ever dream.

    My last conversation with Cecil came a few weeks ago. He’d called to laugh with me about Saban’s interaction with my son that went viral. He thought it was such a cool moment that my son would someday get to enjoy. We talked like that often. He’d call to express an opinion or bounce an idea off me about various topics. That he’d value my thoughts about Alabama football always blew me away. I cherished those conversations.

    Alabama football lost its voice Tuesday. But a lot of us lost a lot more than that. We lost a friend, a brilliant mind and the funniest guy in the room. They don’t make them like him anymore.

    I know he’s somewhere with a stack of books at his side. We’ll try in vain to fill the massive hole you’ve left, but know that we can’t. Cecil, my friend, I love and miss you.
     
  28. stric006

    stric006 Recovering Butter Beer addict
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    Lol I was under a blanket in the fetal position.
     
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  29. bamasam09

    bamasam09 Well-Known Member
    Alabama Crimson TideAtlanta BravesSan Antonio SpursBuffalo Sabres

    I remember this well. He caught some heat on this one.
     
  30. jplaYa

    jplaYa CHAMPZY/SMOLTZY/CHELSEA
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    Alabama Crimson TideAtlanta BravesAtlanta FalconsChelseaAtlanta United

    Truer words have never been spoken. Her takes are legendarily poor and yet people worship her for her insider knowledge and connections to programs. Her biggest problem is that she cannot determine how good a team is by simply watching them. Like I don’t know how else to explain that she is so bad at her job in that her eyes constantly lie to her.
     
  31. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
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    Alabama Crimson TideBoston Red Sox

    Thank you.

    Shula was finished after those two columns. No chance he could come back.
     
  32. RJF-GUMP

    RJF-GUMP Daubert Qualified in Cooler Thermodynamics
    Donor TMB OG

    And thence came Mal Moore's fateful one way plane ticket to Miami on a hope and a prayer
     
  33. Capstone 88

    Capstone 88 Going hard in the paint
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    Alabama Crimson TideAtlanta BravesTennessee TitansNashville Predators2pac

    It’s pretty crazy all the small, seemingly inconsequential, things that had to happen for us to land Saban.
     
  34. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    Alabama Crimson Tide

    Lol fucking Rich Rod and his wife
     
  35. Joey Freshwater

    Joey Freshwater Slingin The Pipe Since 75
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    Alabama Crimson Tide



    kid is gonna be a good one.
     
  36. Owsley

    Owsley My friends call me Bear
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    Alabama Crimson TideAtlanta BravesAtlanta UnitedTottenham HotspurGrateful Dead

    Thank you Pawwwwwwwwl
     
  37. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Alabama Crimson TideBoston Red Sox

    We could have ended up with Rich Rod, Bobby Petrino, Jim Grobe, or Nick Saban.

    Honestly, any of those guys I think would have improved the program, but the difference in ultimate landing spot is just astronomical. We all knew we hit it out of the park with Saban when we hired him, but my goodness I would have been happy (check that, ecstatic) with 2 titles in 10 years.
     
  38. IV

    IV Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
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    Alabama Crimson TideUAB BlazersDemocratAvengersBirmingham LegionUnited States Men's National Soccer Team

    Saban’s first year was my first year and I’m out of state

    blessed
     
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  39. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Alabama Crimson TideBoston Red Sox

    So many awful games that season. Sitting in Bryant-Denny and getting Rammer Jammered by Mississippi State fans after getting Croomed and State winning their first road SEC game in about 25 years was the lowest of the low. The Strip was like a wake.
     
  40. Owsley

    Owsley My friends call me Bear
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    Even worse if you grew up playing sports with Michael Henig.
     
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  41. IV

    IV Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
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    How was Croom not on the short list in 2006/7 ?
     
  42. Phil Connors

    Donor TMB OG
    Alabama Crimson Tide

    That game was on my birthday. Kicked everyone out after the game (most wanted to leave anyways). Ended up smoking all my weed & listening to Simon & Garfunkel all night. May have cried.
     
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  43. Owsley

    Owsley My friends call me Bear
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    Because he got passed over in 2003 and just wasn’t a good head coach. Great man, though.
     
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  44. IV

    IV Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
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    Alabama Crimson TideUAB BlazersDemocratAvengersBirmingham LegionUnited States Men's National Soccer Team

    Just trying to remember if this was a tough situation for Mal to navigate but I guess everyone thought highly enough of Mal that he would never be accused of discrimination
     
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  45. Drown ‘Em

    Drown ‘Em Well-Known Member
    Alabama Crimson TideAtlanta BravesNational League

    Hello darkness, my old friend.
     
  46. Z

    Z Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Alabama Crimson TideBoston Red Sox

    Because we understood the situation we were in and guys like Shula, Croom, and Richard Williamson weren't going to cut it. Mal understood we had to have something of a splashy hire.
     
  47. glimmer

    glimmer she/her ✨
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    Alabama Crimson Tide

    I was in HS then, but my dad made us leave the game at half time and we rode the hour home with the radio off. Hard to go anywhere but up from there. And did we... it's wild that I got to be a student for 4 national championships. Sorry, Shula Warriors.
     
  48. DaveGrohl

    DaveGrohl Public Figure
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    Thank God for Shula not landing Tebow
     
  49. IV

    IV Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
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    Alabama Crimson TideUAB BlazersDemocratAvengersBirmingham LegionUnited States Men's National Soccer Team

    All hail his noodly appendage
     
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  50. Capstone 88

    Capstone 88 Going hard in the paint
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    Totally agree. This is a hill I’ll die on.