After the "Who would you want to see on the sidelines if Shula gets the axe?" post, ya'll lit up the comments section pretty well. I've held off on responding individually because I felt a good rant welling up and I wanted to get it all out in one post.
Hi. I'm Dave.
The 800 lb gorilla in the room is clearly the Shula/Rader offense. No one is paying me big money to call football games (obviously), but I know when something isn't working and this is one of those times. As Hurt put it in his column:
I admire his loyalty to his old OC, and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on Rader after he kept Kines when everyone was calling for his head, but at a certain point he has to acknowledge that this team is woefully deficient on offense and something has to be done. It's not a matter of execution or rotating players or "tweaking" a little here and there. This whole offense needs a complete renovation and the first step is finding someone that can a) modernize the attack and b) call a game based on the talent on the field and the moment to moment turns in the game. Rader has shown time and again that he is incapable of doing either one, and since Shula is the primary playcaller it can't be left up to him either. The obvious solution is for Rader to go and for Shula to give up play calling duties to a new OC.
Further, there seems to be a trickle down effect throughout the offense that turns small problems into larger ones. The schemes and plays Shula and Rader run can be decently effective (not, mind you, win the division/conference effective), but a lack of coaching and execution further hamper any small successes they might produce. O-Line troubles persist despite an entire offseason (and the addition of Andre Smith) to fix the problems, penalty yards kill drives, a lack of motivation and/or respect seems to have infected the offensive players, and so on.
Sacking Rader isn't the only thing that will fix the problems at the Capstone. Bob Connelly has to go. It's unthinkable that a coach working with BCS league talent can't have his players more prepared to play the game than he does. Injuries and inexperience are only excuses for so long, and there's no way any other major football program would stand for it's O-Line giving up 11 sacks in one game like we did in the Iron Bowl. JP is a tough kid, but he's taken way too many hits already and at some point he's going to get hurt having to scramble for his life nearly every down.
What we really need are some young and talented assistants that are looking to make a name for themselves. I know you guys have talked about how the head coaching position at Alabama isn't the destination it once was, and I have to agree. It's a high pressure situation and there are plenty of lofty (some might say unreasonable) expectations that go along with the post. But being an assistant at a BCS school is a step up for a lot of people. Bryant might have been the best coach to ever walk a college sideline, but a lot of that success can be attributed to his knowing who he needed at his side to be successful and having plenty of talented assistants around him every season. Firing Shula won't do us any good, but bringing in a new OC that can turn Bama into a productive offensive team will not only win games, but will attract talent both to the team and the staff.
Like I said, I'm not getting paid to run this football program, and I know I couldn't do better if given the chance, but there are plenty of people out there who could and it's time that Shula recognizes that and does what's best for his players and program by bringing them in, no matter how much it might sting his pride to admit it.