After the Jimmy Johns arrest at Alabama this past week an email went out to all Coaches Hot Seat members with the following questions:
Is Nick Saban now on the Hot Seat?
If Nick Saban is on the Hot Seat where would you rank him on the Coaches Hot Seat Rankings?
Before we reveal the answers to those questions, let us be clear on how we believe coaches get onto the Hot Seat. We rank the coaches higher or lower on our Coaches Hot Seat Rankings with four criteria, in order:
1. The amount of pressure on the coach from external (fans, alumni, boosters, the media) and internal (the pressure the coach puts on himself, and the pressure from his immediate bosses: AD, college president, and school trustees) forces.
2. The expectations at the school. Expectations have a lot to do with the amount of pressure on a coach, and a coach’s position on our Coaches Hot Seat Rankings has a lot to do with expectations at his school.
3. The coach’s record at his current school, in the conference, out of the conference, and against their main rival(s).
4. The likelihood that the coach will be fired during or after the current season.
Answers to above questions:
Yes (unanimously, by the way), Nick Saban is now on the Hot Seat.
Average Ranking: 4.3 (we round down)
With those answers from Coaches Hot Seat members we have now moved Nick Saban into the No.4 Hot Seat position on the Coaches Hot Seat Rankings.
Many Coaches Hot Seat members were flabbergasted that Jimmy Johns could have been arrested for selling cocaine on 5 different occasions, one of those times just outside the Alabama football complex, and that Johns behavior was a complete surprise to Saban and his staff. If there is one thing that Nick Saban is known for it is being a micromanager, and we are told that he has his hands into everything at Alabama that has anything to do with football. How can it possibly be that a “control freak” like Saban has no idea of what one of his most troubled players in Jimmy Johns is up to? The one thing that could put the Alabama football team into jeopardy and put Saban’s future at risk, is Alabama football players getting into trouble with the law, but it seems everyone at Alabama was “shocked and surprised” by the arrest of Jimmy Johns. That just strikes us as very odd.
Many Coaches Hot Seat members also juxtaposed how Les Miles handled the Ryan Perriolloux situation at LSU and how Saban has handled Johns, and several other players at Alabama. Les Miles was faced with his starting quarterback in Perrilloux (the only QB on his team with any experience at the I-A level) breaking team rules on several different occasions, but Miles decided that Ryan Perrilloux was not bigger than the LSU football team. Whatever has transpired between Johns and Saban in the past 18 months, it has been very clear to anyone that has been paying attention that Johns was not living up to the standards of someone that deserves to wear the Alabama football jersey. Jimmy Johns by his alleged actions in the selling of drugs not only showed that he has no respect for the school that awarded him an athletic scholarship, but he also displayed his disdain and lack of respect for Nick Saban. This is not the first time that Alabama players have displayed a lack of respect for Saban, as anyone that took the time to watch the Alabama sidelines during football games last year, where you could see many players that were often fooling around, talking with fans in the stands, and generally not paying attention or caring about what was going on in the game. The Louisiana Monroe game in particular last season was a very troubling sign for Saban, because there were many Alabama players in that game that were hardly playing, or even (gasp) not playing at all. Alabama had at least 10 times the talent of La. Monroe, and it is not a stretch to say that there was not a player on the La. Monroe roster that would have ever gotten even a first look by Alabama recruiters. That Alabama lost to a team like La. Monroe, at home in Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of 92,000+ fans, shows the lack of respect that the Tide players have for their head coach. In that La. Monroe game Nick Saban may have even broken the very rules that he says he cares so much about when he lifted the game suspension of starting receiver DJ Hall in the second half in hopes of sparking a comeback win. Saban was asked after the game if DJ Hall was suspended for the entire game or for a half and he answered, “It is what it is.” (Does Saban have the same attorney as Bill Clinton, because he seems to be trying to define the word “is.”) The problem is that “It is what it is” is the approach that Saban has taken to discipline since he arrived at Alabama, and if he continues to allow individual players to undermine the Alabama football program, it will end his coaching career.
Alabama is perhaps the perfect example of what a bizarro world that we live in when the very people that are supposed to be looking after the Tide football program, are the very people that have done it the most damage. Going back to the mid-1990s, the retirement (no, actually the firing) of Gene Stallings, the disastrous hiring of Mike Dubose which led to the latest NCAA sanctions, the hiring of Dennis Franchione in the face of those impending NCAA sanctions, Franchione’s departure to A&M after a botched contract negotiation, and the unexplainable hirings of Mike Price and Mike Shula were all inflicted on Alabama by athletic directors, university presidents, and school trustees. If this was a business, the leadership at Alabama would have been cleared out long ago, but the people that made some of those foolish decisions are still in power in Tuscaloosa. Of course, all of this was supposed to be brought to an end with the arrival of Nick Saban, but for some reason there have been a number of Alabama players that have chosen to not only disrespect their university, but their head coach as well. Anyone that has seen Nick Saban close-up in practice, can certainly imagine what he might have told his team and individual players after each episode of arrests or suspensions, but for some reason what Saban is saying is not being taken seriously. If it was, an Alabama player would not have been arrested for selling cocaine outside of the Alabama football complex.
Probably more troubling than the Jimmy Johns arrest, is the Alabama fans reaction to the string of off-field problems as discussed in columnist/talk-show radio host Paul Finebaum’s latest, Alabama fans hold rope for Saban (Mobile Press-Register). Finebaum wrote:
“The real question concerns where the program is going. I’ve heard fans say repeatedly that as soon as Saban gets his players into the system, things will change. Is there any guarantee?
But should it matter that Saban took another bad gamble and lost? Should it matter that the most recent and vivid image of Alabama football nationally is a well-known player outside of Saban’s office window — in the parking lot — being videotaped during an alleged drug deal? The predictable comments can’t clean up this mess now for Saban. Only patience and success can.
Right now, after yet another disastrous week in recent Alabama football history, patience is wearing thin. And success can’t arrive soon enough.”
One would hope that patience is wearing thin among Alabama fans, because since 1983 the Bama fans are the one’s that have been subjected to perhaps the worst management of a football program in the history of the game. Now, just when Alabama fans think they have a sure-fire winner and disciplinarian in Nick Saban, Alabama looks more and more like the Miami Hurricanes of the 1980s and 90s. Anywhere else and there would be mass firings of the people responsible for the current mess, but at Alabama the people behind the scenes that have driven the Tide football program into a deep hole just keep coming to work everyday, while the Bama fans just yawn and take another shot to the gut. “Thank you sir, may I have another? Thank you sir, may I have another?……” One day the Alabama fans are going to wake up and realize that they are paying the bills, that Nick Saban works for them, not the other way around, and that it is Nick Saban’s job to have a modicum of control of the football players in his charge. That is not a day that Nick Saban or anyone else at Alabama wants to arrive anytime soon, but if Saban puts up another mediocre record in ’08, and (don’t even say it!) loses to Auburn in Tuscaloosa this fall, Saban will be on the Hottest Seat since Gerry Faust in his last year at Notre Dame. As for any more off-field incidents from his players, Saban cannot afford any more, and with the media attention that this Johns incident has gotten, it would be telling of what the Alabama players think of Saban if any of them went out and got into trouble from this point forward. If another Alabama player does show up on the police blotter then you can start writing the story on Saban’s firing, because it will only be a matter of time, not if he will be able to keep his job at Alabama.
One thing that we neglected to mention in our last post on the Jimmy Johns arrest at Alabama was that if you are doing, or taking, or dealing illegal drugs don’t believe for a second that because you are involved in illegal drugs on the sheltered environment of a college campus that you are not creating untold amount of destruction in our society, because you are. Those illegal drugs did not magically appear on your college campus, and all along the dastardly route that got those drugs into your hands one would find violence and death. Yes, those illegal drugs that you are so stupidly ingesting into your body have caused the death of children, the destruction of communities, and are ripping at the very fabric of our society. Very simply, if you are doing illegal drugs, you are evil, as evil as anything that slithers around our Republic, and you should realize that the blood from the people killed so that you could have those illegal drugs will always be on your hands. If Jimmy Johns is guilty of dealing cocaine then he will pay the appropriate price by giving up a big chunk of his life, but Johns was not the beginning nor the end of this story. Someone on the Alabama campus was probably buying that cocaine, and to those people there is no corner of hell hot enough for the evils you inflict upon our country. If there are students of “means” or from good families that clearly know better at Alabama or on any other college campus that are doing illegal drugs then you should be ashamed to call yourselves Americans. You are the problem and you are responsible for the innocent deaths of children that get caught up in the drug trade that wreaks havoc across our Republic. You are in short, as evil as anything that lives and breathes on this planet.
If you are so stupid, do your illegal drugs if you must, but don’t be blind or unaware of the damage that your actions inflict upon this world.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. Hosea 8:7
As John Donne reminded us long ago:
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
If you are doing illegal drugs that bell will toll for you one day. Count on it. In the meantime don’t forget that for you to get those illegal drugs into your now blood-stained hands, children and innocent people had to die. If you can still do illegal drugs with that thought in your head you are not worthy to be a member of the human race.