Legal troubles and arrests are nothing new to the college football landscape, however, the frequency that you see them is growing at an alarming rate. Gone are the days when the head coach could simply drive to the station and have the player released into his custody. Gone are the days of running stadium steps to right whatever wrong was done the weekend before. Gone are the "wink and a handshake" way of dealing with things. In the days of Bear Bryant, Shug Jordan, Pat Dye and Gene Stallings, student athletes could make a mistake without the entire world knowing about it. There was no Internet, no chat rooms, no message boards, no youtube, only word of mouth and an unwavering trust that the head coach knew how to handle things. The thing is that in those days, mommas ALWAYS sided with the coach, and daddy's doubled the dose of discipline based on the infraction. I know we are talking college football here and not elementary school, but are things that different? I don't think so.
With all of this said, there seems to be a stark and glaring contrast between the two discipline styles at the two universities currently. Nick Saban has tried the "you better not screw up" approach, the problem with that is that if you aren't willing to follow thru with your threats, you are soon exposed to be soft and easy. No different than if I tell my kids to have a good report card or they will lose television privileges, only to waffle on that and not follow through. Pretty soon they realize that their actions have no consequence and they choose to do whatever it is that they wish to do. Nick Saban is at that point right now, and instead of trying to fix the problem by getting tough on discipline, he talks down to the media, and scorns the police department. Nick Saban should look no further than about 180 miles east at the precedence set by his counterpart, Thomas Hawley Tuberville. You can count on one hand the number of team problems that Tuberville has had to publicly explain in his nine years at Auburn. There have been a couple of repeat offenders, but that list is way shorter than the first. The Alabama faithful love to throw out the name of Trey Blackmon. For argument sake, lets give them that one. After him, name another repeat offender. Name someone else that he has had to make understand who was in charge time and time again.
Recently, Jason Campbell was on the Paul Finebaum show, and when poked and prodded about the discipline of one Tommy Tuberville, Campbell responded definitively, by saying that you were lucky if you got a second chance. That if you caused Auburn University to have to get the egg off of their face, then it would be the athlete to pay the price, and it didn't matter if the player in question was a starter or a scout teamer. Without hesitation and with complete confidence, Jason Campbell said that it was both the players and coaches that kept the good discipline and order.
We'll have to see how the latest recruiting class pans out. No doubt that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have gotten themselves some blue chippers, time will tell if they turn into orange jumpsuits.
Enjoy the video of my fiance' and me at the Chick Fil A Bowl... The irony is that she is an Alabama fan!!! But she looks sexy in orange and blue!!!!