Saban: Bama will not use scheduling issue as “an excuse”

It’s Friday which means that the floor is totally open to you. We can discuss spring football, the NFL Draft, conference expansion, politics, television (I’m still waiting impatiently for Mad Men to start its next season). Just keep it clean. Here are a few topics to get the party started:

The SEC had its end of spring practice conference call yesterday. Here are but a few tidbits that caught my attention:

**–It is well known by now that due to a scheduling quirk, Alabama’s last six SEC opponents in 2010 all have a bye week before they play the Crimson Tide. The SEC is trying to give Alabama some relief but its options are limited if other SEC schools don’t want to move games. And by now most of them don’t.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said he was most concerned about the game with Auburn on Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Auburn has an open date on Nov. 20 while Alabama plays Georgia State in Tuscaloosa.

“The thing I’m concerned about is playing Auburn on a short week,” Saban said. “Sometimes a bye is an advantage and sometimes it’s not. It’s not going to be an excuse for us.”

Ironically, the key to getting Alabama some relief may be Bill Curry’s new program at Georgia State. If that game could be moved and Alabama could shift its open date from Oct. 30 to Nov. 20, then Saban would get the relief he seeks.

But here is why moving games at this late date is so hard:

**–Georgia State has an open date on Nov. 13 and might be willing to move its Alabama game at that date.

**–But Alabama has a game with Mississippi State on Nov. 13. Coach Dan Mullen said he might be willing to move that game to his open date, which is Nov. 6. Alabama can’t play that date because it has a game with LSU.

**–Alabama and Mississippi State could move to Oct. 30, Alabama’s old open date. But the Bulldogs have a date with Kentucky.

And so it goes. The process is complicated by the fact that there are only 13 Saturdays between the first Saturday of the season (Sept. 4) and the first Saturday in December. Some years there are 14 Saturdays which provide much more flexibility in scheduling.

 

**–In case you missed it last week, the Head Ball Coach at South Carolina turned 65 years old and, thanks to a workout regimen that would have younger men gasping for air, Steve Spurrier remains in great shape. “If you look at all the magazines you know that it’s got nothing to do with how old you are but how you take care of yourself,” said Spurrier. “I never thought I would coach until I was 60 but all of a sudden it gets here and you feel as good as you did 20 years ago.”

Spurrier said he is proud that he has never been fired as a college head coach and plans to keep it that way. “Hopefully I can coach another 4-5 years and be able to hang it up on my own.”

**–Florida center Maurkice Pouncey was the No. 18 pick in the NFL Draft by Pittsburgh. His brother, Mike, will take over the center spot this season at Florida. Maurkice Pouncey left school early and was a first-round pick. Mike stayed behind because he wanted to play one more year of college football. It is the first time since about the fifth grade that the two twins have been apart. Expect Mike Pouncey to be a first-round choice in the 2011 NFL Draft. “There is no reason he can’t do the same thing,” said interim head coach Steve Addazio, who is also Florida’s offensive coordinator. “I think Mike is the best offensive lineman in the country.”

Head coach Urban Meyer was not on the conference call and Addazio said he was not certain when Meyer would return to his office.

**–Derek Dooley, the new head coach at Tennessee, said that during his first meeting with the Volunteer players he did not ask for them to trust him. “That is something you have to earn over time,” said Dooley, Tennessee’s third head coach in as many seasons. “Trust is built with the consistency of how we treat them and coach them. It’s our job to get them to trust us, not to demand that they trust us.”

Dooley said he does not expect his father, Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley, to be in Sanford Stadium when Tennessee comes to Georgia on Oct. 9.  Vince Dooley told me a couple of weeks ago that he will watch the game from his home in Athens.

“He has a love for Georgia like none other but he also knows that his son will be playing,” said Derek Dooley. “Blood is thicker than water. He may not be wearing orange but at least I hope he’s thinking orange.”

 

Here are a few other notes before we break for the weekend:

**–Auburn’s Ben Tate and Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty were the No. 5 and No. 6 running backs taken in the NFL Draft. They were the first two running backs from the SEC to be selected. What else do they have in common? They were both coached by Eddie Gran, who was the running backs coach at Auburn in 2008 and the Tennessee running backs coach in 2009. Gran decided to join Jimbo Fisher at Florida State when Lane Kiffin bolted for USC in January. This continues a run of good backs for Gran, who is considered one of the best recruiters in the business. He has coached four first round choices: John Avery (Ole Miss), Duece McAllister (Ole Miss), Carnell Williams (Auburn), and Ronnie Brown (Auburn). He has four second round draft choices: Tate, Hardesty, Kenny Irons (Auburn), Brandon Jacobs (Auburn). Just found that interesting.

**–My 790 The Zone buddies Sandra Golden and Mike Bell are starting a new show at noon on Monday on CSS. “The Sports Gig” is being billed as a sports/infotainment show.  It looks like they will the sports equivalent of “Regis and Kelly.” Check them out.

A FINAL PROGRAMMING NOTE: Starting Monday and continuing through next Friday, we will do our Spring football wrap-up for 2010. Here is the schedule:

Monday: SEC East

Tuesday: SEC West

Wednesday: ACC Atlantic

Thursday: ACC Coastal

Friday: Post-Spring Top 25

Have a great weekend.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

144 comments Add your comment

Dawg Dab It

April 30th, 2010
8:53 am

EW

April 30th, 2010
9:04 am

If Bama’s not going to use the schedule as an excuse, then why all the scrambling to change it???

Jim Mora Jr.

April 30th, 2010
9:05 am

Good. I guess everyone that’s crying about this schedule would also like the NCAA to go ahead and give Alabama the National Championship in April while they’re at it, too. Go out and play your schedule, and we’ll see where you are when it’s BCS time.
And seriously…isn’t playing Georgia State in their inaugural year really like a week off?

gdawginkalamazoo

April 30th, 2010
9:07 am

I would think Georgia State could count as an open week. Really. Bama should be able to play its third string the entire game and win easily. So since we are not using the competitor open dates as an excuse for anything we shouldn’t have to hear about them anymore. It is what it is.

JB

April 30th, 2010
9:10 am

Went to hear Mark Richt at the Augusta Spring visit last night…..He’s really pumped about what he saw in the spring on defense. Said the defensive backfield will be fast and very sound and deep.Told the crowd he’d gotten several calls this week from QB’s around the country to walk on or transfer.

McDawg

April 30th, 2010
9:11 am

and i’m sure we will be reminded all year long that the incredibly onerous difficult demanding unfair schedule absolutley positively will NOT be used as an excuse

JB

April 30th, 2010
9:13 am

Georgia State…hum…… I guess the Mississippi prison team was busy that week…Geez.

7th

April 30th, 2010
9:13 am

Can You Dig It

April 30th, 2010
9:28 am

Why does Alabama deserve everyone trying to bend over backwards to help them with thier schedule?……does anyone honestly think that Saban would change anything if the shoe was on the other foot?….I don’t think so…..but rest assured if Bama loses to some of those teams during their last six games the Bama fans will be the first one’s to cry like a baby….and so will Saban. Can You Dig It!

BAMA STAN

April 30th, 2010
9:33 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Georgia State? Are you kidding me? We should use this game to work on fundlementals – and play depth. The schedule is what the schedule is – let’s go play football!!!

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!

RipperIII

April 30th, 2010
9:34 am

All you clowns who are deriding BAMA for attempting to right a seriously flawed schedule, remember this,…BAMA had the same situation last season…bet you guys would be singing the blues if BAMA had an off week before each of your schools…not that it would matter in the least.

Ted

April 30th, 2010
9:35 am

EW,
Since when did trying to change some thing that is entirely not fair and making an excuse become the same thing? I sure if your college team had 6 opponets with open weeks before they were scheduled to play you you would be very happy. But I would like to hear your excuse on why you’re so ignorant?

Bottom-line I dont see anything changing but what goes around comes around in this conference.
Teddy

Ted

April 30th, 2010
9:36 am

Can you dig it…can you spell?

RipperIII

April 30th, 2010
9:38 am

Georgia State was scheduled as a Favor to Bill Curry and Georgia State’s football program,…no other program in the Country could bring as much National exposure to the Georgia State program than BAMA…especially not UGA.

RipperIII

April 30th, 2010
9:41 am

“Can you dig it?” ….why does BAMA deserve everyone trying to” bend over backwards to help them with their schedule…” you said it yourself…BAMA earned it…your chump school did not…

bo

April 30th, 2010
9:43 am

1. too late, AL has already used it as an excuse

2. I am sick of the Dooley love affair. GA fans better have no illusions about where this kid’s potential success lies

MMA is stupid

April 30th, 2010
9:47 am

Please, a game against Georgia State??!?!?!?!?! Give me a break. Bama could play their thrid string and with only 7 on the field and still win. Cant wait to hear all the excuses.

Can You Dig It

April 30th, 2010
9:49 am

Hey Ted …I can spell a lot better than you can put a grammatically correct sentence together.

Ripperhill…show me where I said Alabama earned the right for everyone to help them with their schedule.You are really fooling yourself if you think Saban would change his schedule if another school had the sme problem….what a tool you are…..Can You Dig It!

Crystal Ball

April 30th, 2010
9:50 am

Don’t knock GA State, there is a reason GA State started a football program at the same time the SEC is talking conference expansion. How about it Mr. College Football? GState gives the SEC an anchor in the ATL.

Miles

April 30th, 2010
9:53 am

Not to worry…Roll Tide…to hell with the bye week issue…the Nick Saban “no excuse” approach is the way to go….the Tide will meet Ohio State in the National Championship…

Dooley’s got his hands full at UT…what a mess Kiffin left at Rocky Top…

Nobody is talking about Florida right now…interestingly, they’re the second best team in the SEC…plenty of talent…an upset in Tuscaloosa will put them at #1 in the country…

Happy Friday everyone…

JB

April 30th, 2010
9:57 am

Georgia State and the SEC…really…..I guess Obama is gonna park Air Force One and start taking Greyhound..LOL…………..Being in the SEC is an honor and historical event every Saturday in the Fall.
An Urban School with used equipment is NOT on their radar.

Football Fan

April 30th, 2010
10:03 am

Your article indicates that Eddie Gran went to FSU rather than following Lane Kiffin to USC. Actually Jimbo Fisher had hired Eddie Gran away from Lane Kiffin well in advance of Lane taking the USC job.

SecIsFootball

April 30th, 2010
10:11 am

gdawginkalamazoo …. I dont think is so much who we play as much as it is the shorter amount of prep time we will have in implementing the game plan against the cow college.

The schedule will ultimately not be an excuse as we played 5 teams last year who had a bye week before they played us and 5 or 6 the year before. The biggest thing is making the schedule fair. After the 2010 season, BAMA will have played 3 times as many teams who had a bye week prior to their game with us than any other SEC school. Regardless of anyone’s opinion of UA, something is wrong with that.

SecIsFootball

April 30th, 2010
10:15 am

Can You Dig It….This should have never happened to begin with as far as the schedule goes. It should not be up to the coaches or AD’s to say whether they will or not make this right. The SEC needs to do it but at this point there is little that can be done.

help, I live in Ga

April 30th, 2010
10:16 am

TB–Mad Men? Should have guessed. You’re old school. Good show.

Dooley will need two years to build. Rest easy Dawg fans–for two years anyway. Year three will be the one to worry about. If Coach DD can find some O-line, he will have a very potent passing game and be dangerous.

College football writers. Mad Men. I guess I can see that.

Kirby Smart

April 30th, 2010
10:18 am

Saban is going to crush the Barners come November in T-town.

rocketide

April 30th, 2010
10:27 am

WITH THE AL

with the talent and more importantly player development the schedule really doesn’t matter for Alabama
Schedule wise SC has the only true advantage

I just wish we could play GA again before Richt is fired

McDawg

April 30th, 2010
10:32 am

If V. Dooley wears orange or roots for UT against UGA he should shave his head and leave town

G8R GRAD

April 30th, 2010
10:33 am

Crimeny!
Coach Fisher’s staff are studs!
Looks like ol’ half-a$$-U will be back sooner, rather than later.
So the Thanksgiving regular season finale returns to its former prominence.
C’est la vie!

gdawginkalamazoo

April 30th, 2010
10:34 am

Good post Bama Stan.

Reptiles Rule

April 30th, 2010
10:34 am

Bama will get NO sympathy in regards to their schedule this year. That’s just the way it is when you are on top. And I wouldn’t expect teams to try to adjust their schedules to accomidate them either. It is what it is. With that being said, I still see Bama rolling into the SECCG at 11-1 vs a 10-2 Florida.

Otto

April 30th, 2010
10:35 am

Ga. St isn’t SEC material but they could be in the Big East giving Northeast schools exposure to SEC talent and turning on Southeast TV sets take a look at USF.

Gen Neyland

April 30th, 2010
10:36 am

Miles, et al : You (all) may want to invest 5 minutes or less in the below recap on the Orange and White game before you consider Kiffin’s errant ways. LK did some rebuilding before he went west :

http://www.secrivals.com/sec-east/tennessee/tennessee-volunteers-orange-and-white-game-2010.html

CNS is doing the right and honorable thing in minimizing the scheduling issues. It will be as tough a year as last for all Alabama’s opponents and with Alabama’s depth, they’ll be ok. The players looking to next level will appreciate the grind. for in the NFL there really aren’t too many cupcake weeks to lay back and relax…

Coach Vince will be wearing a White G polo shirt, Silver britches and tennis shoes when UT goes to Athens. Barbara will make him put on White socks and Orange Under Armour. I’m hoping I can get tickets to the game, but please, don’t spit on me or hit me with a beer bottle. That goes for the fans, too…

Kennesaw Dawg

April 30th, 2010
10:37 am

Saban would not change a thing for anyone else for sure. So deal with it. But it does give the over the top Bama fans an excuse to fall back on. Georgia had a number of key games after the opposition had a bye last year, and it just was what it was. We lost because we couldn’t play fundementally sound football on either side of the ball, not because of the bye weeks. We will right that wrong this year, for sure. If Bama plays like they did last year, and has a couple of lucky breaks like they did last year (Tennessee game), then they will win those games. If they don’t they won’t. It is called SEC football. Go big or go home.

Otto

April 30th, 2010
10:38 am

Bama should have been looking at this several seasons ago but they didn’t. As Stan said lets play ball.

EW: If Bama’s not going to use the schedule as an excuse, then why all the scrambling to change it???

Lame…. Classic coach speak. Of course Saban will lobby for an easier schedule and if they drop a game no coach will blame it on the schedule.

Charles

April 30th, 2010
10:40 am

The Georgia State game is an off-week. I’ve never heard so much griping about a schedule. Man up and play it.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 30th, 2010
10:42 am

SecIsFootball, you use the pratice time for the GSU game on your second string. Put your first string praticing and game planing for Auburn for two weeks. I would think the physical defense that Bama’s second string could play would be more than enough to clean the clocks of GSU. Have the first string O put up two or three quick scores then focus on Auburn while the second team gets some reps.

McDawg

April 30th, 2010
10:48 am

5IML

April 30th, 2010
10:50 am

BAMA is not making a big deal of the schedule.

The media is making a big deal of it because we are the BCS champions and SEC champions and own a 14-game winning streak and have the current Heisman winner and appeared on the cover of SI four times last year and will be pre-season #1 and several other reasons.

I’m not sure why the media would do such a thing. Judging by the number of BAMA-related posts on this story, noone has any interest in BAMA. lol

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2010
10:52 am

rocketide
Be careful what you wish for.

Reptiles Rule

April 30th, 2010
10:54 am

Neyland, I think UT really struggles this year and probably next just to become bowl eligible. In spite of all of his crowing, Kiffin’s initial recruiting class was not very fruitful when you consider that the two most highly regarded prospects, Bryce Brown and Nu’keese Richardson, are no longer with the program. Kiffin left scars and blemishes on that program that will take years to heal (good luck recruiting some of the most furtile grounds in Fla for awhile). However, I DO think the guy up there now can bring them back if given the necessary time (5 years) to do it.

John

April 30th, 2010
10:55 am

If Alabama wanted an open date the week before Auburn, then Alabama should never have scheduled Georgia State that week to begin with. Auburn was perfectly content to play Alabama the Saturday before Thanksgiving as it had for the last 15 years until the SEC decreed that no school could have an open date the Saturday before the SEC championship game. Alabama’s scheduling problems are totally the fault of Alabama.

SecIsFootball

April 30th, 2010
11:01 am

gdawginkalamazoo….completely understandy your logic there and would agree 100% had we not lost to ULM 3 years ago! LOL :)

KR

April 30th, 2010
11:04 am

I really don’t think the schedule (in regards to bye weeks) is as bad a some Bama fans are portraying it. After all, these same fans are the ones who suggest that the Tide is in a league all by themselves when it comes to talent and depth. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s going to have much impact on their season.

Frankly, I have to wonder whether Auburn has taken a more difficult approach. They play 11 straight games, take the bye week, then finish up the regular season against Bama on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Around weeks 9, 10 & 11, they will probably be pretty beat up and tired and really ready for a week off.

Typical Gator Fan

April 30th, 2010
11:05 am

Expectations of being number 1, a tough schedule and players looking towards the NFL can be tough. Ask Coach Meyer about how much of a toll last year took on him.

JB

April 30th, 2010
11:06 am

The mess Fulmer and Kiffin left in Knoxville will be a long faded memory after DD goes say 10-14 his first two years. The hillbilly’s will be screaming we’ve hired the wrong guy.etc….look what Saban did in two years at Bama they’ll say yada yada and his firing will set them back another 3-4 years. Tennessee needs to remember that 3 or 4 recognizable names turned that job down because they knew what was in store and losing big there for two years could taint their career.
Good luck to the Vols, but they need to be patient. No offensive line and it takes a couple of years to mature one. lot’s of holes on that team

Otto

April 30th, 2010
11:16 am

JB agreed, and Shula is not thanked enough for giving Saban a jump with some quality talent on campus, much more than DD has to work with.

Bryant

April 30th, 2010
11:17 am

We will be OK. I think it is quite a compliment that so many teams want an open date before they play us. Two regular seasons in a row 0 losses dont hate the player hate the game!!

Reptiles Rule

April 30th, 2010
11:21 am

Typical Gator Fan…that was all part of it for sure, but the biggest factor was the unbelievable week to week drama that unfolded during the season and it never stopped. The Lane Liffin game build-up, the Tim Tebow concussion, the referee thing and SEC fine, the Spikes eye-gouge incident, the Dunlap arrest, the shocking letdown (and stellar Bama play) in the SECCG game…it was one thing after another. By the time it came to play a tremendous Bama team in Atlanta, the Gators just seemed like they had run out of gas. And I think that’s what happened to Urban…there was nothing left in the tank. But with a month off and the pressure off, Florida played one of the finest bowl games in its history, even when you consider the competition (sorry Cincy). And that was the spark for the renewal and resurgence and a direct catalyst for the recruiting class that was yet to come.

DP

April 30th, 2010
11:27 am

No John, Alabama’s scheduling problems relate to 6 SEC opponents having open dates before playing Alabama. That’s not Alabama’s fault, it is the fault of the SEC which puts together the league schedule that gave so many teams an open week before Alabama. 6 of the teams chose to keep that date open and schedule their nonconference opponents for their other open dates. I don’t blame the other SEC schools for taking advantage of that opportunity or for not being willing to change their schedule to accomodate Alabama, I blame the SEC for being asleep at the switch when they put together the schedule.

If Alabama had scheduled Georgia State or somebody else on their current open date of October 31, they would still be playing their last 6 SEC games against teams coming off open dates. Alabama and LSU are both open before their November 6 game, so Alabama would go from a preparation disadvantage against Auburn to one against LSU.

Tony, when you went through all those potential moves that would allow Alabama to move the Georgia State game a week earlier, you stopped one step short of a solution. If Alabama-Ga State was moved to November 13 and Mississippi State was willing to move the MSU-Alabama game to November 6, Alabama-LSU could be moved from November 6 to October 31 since both are idle that week.

If I was Saban I’d rather leave it like it is and take the bye week in midseason rather than before Auburn. Alabama should be able to spend the week of the Georgia State game planning for Auburn and shouldn’t need to play the starters for more than a half, if that much.

For anybody who thinks having an open week is no big deal, look at the winning percentage for SEC teams in conference games after a bye week, and consider how LSU and Iowa used the extra time they had before their bowl games with Georgia Tech figuring out how to stuff Paul Johnson’s offense that gave defenses so much trouble during the regular season when they only had a week to prepare for it.