This Program Deserves So Much More...
Once again, Alabama Basketball has become an afterthought on their own campus, and now in their own gym.
Very quietly, with all the fanfare of a fart in church, UA announced Alabama’s Tip-Off Event for October 22, at 7:30...in Foster Auditorium.
Ah, yes, Foster Auditorium with its grand-damned seating capacity of about 2000 people. Foster Auditoriun with no dedicated parking. Foster Auditorium with practically no disability accommodations whatsoever. Did I mention they’ll throw some widescreens up outside for people to watch, and then be charging for this experience? Did I also mention that, with just about everyone being shoved outside to watch on television, that there’s no stated rain policy here?
Alabama is trying to frame this move as “historic,” and rightly it should be — a Top 10 team with one of the nation’s best coaches becoming an afterthought in their own gym, fresh off the heels of the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 17 years? Yes, I would say that is historic. Historically piss-poor decision-making. Historically piss-poor management. Historical apathy.
There is a competing event in Coleman Coliseum that night, and yet for whatever reason, this administration has decided that it would be far better to wedge Alabama Basketball into that time slot, on that date, rather than the glaringly obvious: giving this program the unfettered spotlight and support it deserves. Midnight Madness event, anyone? Nah, can’t be assed to think about that. Perhaps move it up a week? Nope, not gonna’ even contemplate it.
You can pay Nate Oats every bit of the salary that he has deserved and commands on the open market. You can even pinky promise (for the 6th straight year) that something is being done with Coleman Coliseum. But one thing is clear here: there is a world of difference between paying salaries and providing support.
And, once again, Alabama fails to grasp that concept, when this team, this program deserve to be treated like the budding big boys they are.
You’re going to be roasted for this one, Greg Byrne, and you should be. You are paid nearly $2 million a year to make decisions. And this is what UA signs off on? Every ounce of criticism headed your way is deserved.
Starting with me.
Surprise, surprise. No sooner had the ink dried, and with the Tip Off news trickling out and criticism starting to fall, Greg Byrne decide to go in full damage control mode and a weak attempt at framing this piss-poor decision as one that is “student-centered,” rather than plainly what it was — dropping the ball.
Even if Byrne’s post hoc justifications are to be believed (and call medubious based upon the many #sauces who were blindsided by it), Marketing realizes that a free event in the students’ coliseum, on a night dedicated to basketball alone, is far more student-centered than the patent afterthought here, right?
If they don’t, then fire every last person involved.
The criticism stands. It’s your job to promote and support this team. And even if everything Byrne stated this morning is legit, this doesn’t even remotely approach that.
Some years, Alabama football has relatively good injury luck. Last year was one such season (despite that fact that losing Jalen Waddle would cripple most programs). This year, alas, has not been one of them: Aside from several RBs and DL being beat up all season, the linebacking corps has taken hit after hit.
It took another one yesterday, when it was announced LB Drew Sanders would be out at least this week, following surgery on his hand. It seemed a minor injury, however, further diagnostics revealed a far worse scrape than had previously been thought. There are worse games to miss Sanders in. But you figure that in a contest where it’s going to be won or lost with Alabama’s front seven, it’s not the best one for him to be absent either.
Next Man Up: And that means Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell...and a grumpy Nick Saban, when asked if either would be able to fill Sanders’ role at OLB
“I just got on Josh about this. If I talked earlier today about them, why do I have to — it’s like a double-header in baseball with the same guy pitching both games. So I talked about the progress that they both made this morning, so I guess I’ll repeat myself right now: both guys are young guys that have got a lot of potential. They’ve played some in games. They’re getting all the reps in practice. We’re going to do as much as we can to bring those guys along and we got faith, trust and confidence that they’ll be ready to go in the game on Saturday.”
While we’re wallowing in bad news, let’s go ahead and more injury woes to the most snake-bit hoops program in the country: Alabama basketball is already down two players for the season, and yesterday we learned that Keon Ambrose Hylton, of whom much is expected this season, dislocated his kneecap. He will be down 2-3 weeks — though he is expected back for the season (though he will likely not be at 100% fresh out of the gate).
Look at this: simply devastating bad luck out of the gate:
Alex Tchikou, who missed last season with a torn Achilles tendon, is almost back to 100% and is participating in most drills, Oats said. James Rojas, who tore his ACL over the summer, is still expected back for SEC play. Nimari Burnett will be out for the season with a torn ACL.
You know what else is a tough pill to swallow? Alabama’s hoops schedule this season. Though, you do have to love Nate Oats refusal to back off from brutal scheduling because it makes his team better...even as he realizes he may have overcommitted to so many tough games.
“I don’t know, that might have been a little too much to bite off, to be honest with you,” Oats said Wednesday as the Tide ended its first week of full practices.
“We’re never gonna schedule light,” Oats said. “I would rather get exposed in the non-conference. Figure out what we’ve got to fix.”
Oats noted Alabama lost three of its eight non-conference games last season before going 16-2 in conference play and winning the SEC.
And, you have to check this out: how Alabama re-recruited Jaden Shackelford out of the Transfer Portal. Aside from JD Davison, netting Shack back in a Crimson uniform was this year’s biggest signing. And he’s certainly the most proven scorer on a Tide team suddenly without Nimari Burnett.
Stingley is straight peacing out on what is shaping up to be another crappy LSU season, as well as Ed Orgeron’s sinking ship, the USS Title IX and Diminishing Returns. He has suffered an “undisclosed foot injury in practice,” and had “a procedure” that will keep him out “indefinitely.”
Sounds about as legit as LSU’s sudden COVID outbreaks against only Florida and Alabama last year, doesn’t it?
Barring a miracle (and/or needing to impress scouts against Alabama to rehab the damage DeVonta Smith did to him single-handedly), I would bet you money that CFB’s most boom-or-bust corner is done in Baton Rouge and for his college career...where he will get smoked in the NFL with a reckless, gambling style that relies on makeup speed and playing the ball in the air.
Nick Saban hit on something interesting that we’ve noticed a little this year: a lot of bobbled snaps out of the ‘gun. Saban chalks it up to a few things. Inexperience under center, inexperience at center, and lack of concentration by all involved (particularly first-time starter Dalcourt).
“Well, I think that you just gotta keep working it and the guy’s gotta have a feel for it and a rhythm for it and it’s how hard it is, it’s how high it is, it’s how sideways it gets,” Nick Saban said Wednesday. “Sometimes those issues come when a guy is blocking in a certain direction.”
“You just gotta really stay focused just like putting,” Saban said. “You gotta really stay focused on exactly what you’re doing and sometimes when you’re trying to block some big guy that’s lined up in front of you, maybe you lose sight of that a little bit.”
This seems like a reps and familiarity issue that will evaporate as the season progresses, provided everyone focuses on each play. It hasn’t cost Alabama yet, but it’s one of those lingering issues that can prove costly against an elite team, where one turnover decides the game.
Finally, oh, Jimbo. White Kevin Sumlin (or is Kevin Sumlin Black Jimbo Fisher?!) is the gift that never stops giving.
This offseason at the Houston Touchdown Club, he assured all in attendance that A&M would “beat their ass” in reference to Alabama generally, and Nick specifically.
Despite looking awful all year, and getting clowned at home by Mike Leach, Jimbo is doubling down on those comments.
“No, I don’t have any regrets,” Fisher said. “That’s what we’re here for isn’t it? Isn’t that why we’re here? That’s what makes this league this league. That’s what we expect to do at Texas A&M.”
It’s easy for Jimbo to say that: he knows that he and Saban are personal friends, Nick wouldn’t run the score up on Fisher’s Aggies...Kirby? Sure. Jimbo? Nah.
We leave you with that for the moment. Please sound off on anything that tickles your fancy today, including Alabama’s “OMG! Historic” decision to ignore basketball. And feel free to take today’s pessimistic poll; my faith in Greg Byrne’s administration right now is at its lowest ebb.
Will Alabama renovate or replace Coleman Coliseum before Nate Oats contract expires in 2027?
This poll is closed
Nope. And that lack of support will be one of the things that chases him off.
Yes. Very soon. Alabama can only buy so many indoor roller coasters for football.
Eventually they’ll get around to half-assing something minor and then trumpeting it as a major improvement.
Nate Oats is never leaving. There’s no reason he can’t be our own Coach K.
I’m a FOG. What is this "basketball?