Former Tide O-line coach Bob Connelly has been hired for the same position at UCLA:
"Bob is an outstanding communicator and teacher," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said in a release. "He produced all-league performers at both Washington State and Alabama. I think he will bring a level of energy and expertise that will be a great fit for the young men in our program."
Now I know that plenty of calls for Connelly's head have been made here and elsewhere, but this actually makes a lot of sense for the Bruins and I really believe that he'll be far more successful out there than he did here in the SEC. So for the benefit of our friends out west, here are a few pros and cons on Connelly.
- Connelly came to Alabama with Mike Price from Washington State, so he's returning to the Pac-10 where he had plenty of success before.
- His blocking schemes were designed more for a spread offense instead of the pro-style attack Shula ran, a big reason his lines performed so terribly here but reasonably well at Washington State.
- I have a sneaking suspicion that the ridiculous personell decisions on the line were more Shula's doings than Connelly's, playing younger (and less talented) guys for the sake of continuity into the next season.
- He's considered an excellent recruiter, being named to the Rivals Top 25 list of recruiters in 2005.
- When it was apparent his blocking schemes weren't working, he did nothing to change them.
- As much crap as we've given Chris Capps, at some point the blame needs to go to the position coach for not teaching him what he's doing wrong and taking steps to rectify it. Again, part of that may be that Shula insisted Capps was the starter even though Capps just couldn't do better, but I think a good line coach could have shown him how to at least hold his hands so that the defense couldn't guess if it was a run or pass play based solely on him.
- Either he felt like his line and schemes here were sufficiently effective (which makes him an idiot) or he just didn't care if his players were performing on the field because Shula apparently had no inclination to fire him (which makes him lazy and not the kind of guy you want on your staff). Either way, it doesn't speak well of him.