Photo credit: nytimes.com
So you watched the College Football Playoff National Championship game about a week ago; the Alabama Crimson Tide trailed 13-0 at the half. The Tide’s offense was sub par, gaining only 94 yards off 24 plays against the Georgia Bulldog defense. Alabama’s defense wasn’t impressive either, giving up 13 first half points; however, I’ll give the defense the benefit of the doubt since it was on the field most of the first half due to the offense’s ineffectiveness. So when the offense can’t score points, who’s to blame? The quarterback of course. Tide starting quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 3 of 8 passes for 21 yards. That’s an average of seven yards for every completed pass and only one completion shy of connecting on half of his pass attempts. These stats aren’t terribly bad, but it’s the small number of stats that doesn’t help Hurts’ case much. During the first half, I saw a quarterback – who’s known for making big plays with his feet – really trying to wait as long as possible for an open receiver, and he made wise choices to throw away the ball when all else failed.
Now, let’s consider some other factors: Hurts doesn’t play defense, so he didn’t give up 13 first-half points, including a one-yard touchdown run with seven seconds left in the second quarter. Hurts also isn’t the team field goal kicker, who couldn’t connect from 40 yards in the first quarter. Considering these factors, the Tide could’ve entered the half down only 6-to-3 instead of the larger 13-0 deficit. If this was the case, does Saban still decide to bench Hurts even with the Tide getting the kickoff to start the second half?
But, trailing 13-to-0 to a former assistant in a national championship game many people felt your team didn’t deserve to be playing in, chasing your fifth national title in nine seasons, trying to tie Paul Bear Bryant’s record for most national championships, what do you do? You do the same thing you did in the 2016 season-opener against USC – replace your starting quarterback with a true freshman. Blake Barnett started the game but was replaced by Hurts who stole the show. He completed 6 of 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 32 yards in 9 carries while notching two touchdowns. But, Barnett did see the field again in the second half and connected on a 45-yard pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. However, he transferred later in the season which was the best option for him in my opinion. Read More
It was that time of year again when some of Alabama’s finest high school basketball coaches came together before official practices began primarily to raise funds for Midfield High School’s boys basketball program, but also to prove they can still ball… Lonzo.
For the sake of this article, I’m going to refer to the guest team as Thomas’ Tribe, since Midfield’s Charles Thomas has been the captain of the visiting squad since the inception of the Coaches vs. Coaches event. The home team will be referred to as Barber’s Bunch, since Darrell Barber is not only team captain but Midfield’s head boys coach and the mastermind behind the fundraiser.
In 2015, it was a battle of point guards between Barber and Minor’s Derrick Williams, but the x-factor would be Hoover’s Charles Burkett. Click link for recap of 2015 game http://wp.me/p4cFCW-iV
Despite the loss, Barber was still thrilled to put on a successful fundraiser and looked forward to the following year.
Although Williams didn’t play in the 2016 game, Burkett put the Tribe on his back, and with the help of teammates like Woodlawn’s Chuck Winters, carried the team to back-to-back victories. Click link for recap of 2016 game http://wp.me/p4cFCW-r5
After two tough losses, Barber and the Bunch were determined to enter the win column in 2017. With a Winters trade from the Tribe to the Bunch and no Williams or Burkett on the Tribe’s roster, a win for Barber and the gang seemed to be in the palm of their hands… enter new Tribe member, Pinson Valley’s Jeremy Bogus; he would be a new burden for the Bunch. Read More
Photo Credits: Don and Nico Collins
Interview Credits: Don and Nico Collins; Robert Nelson Jr.; Kevin Brown (Xtreme Fitness & Performance – 1305 2nd Ave N., Suite 106 Birmingham, Ala. 35203)
Music Credits: Logic – Everybody; Drake – Sacrifices; Nas – The World Is Yours; Biggie – The Sky is the Limit
Sources: Rivals.com; AL.com; espn.com
Photo Credit: espn.com
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, because standing up for what one believes is the right thing to do often times leads to consequences and backlash.
In “History Repeats Itself: The Protest that Began Over Four Decades Ago,” John Carlos, National Track and Field Hall of Famer and Olympic medalist, discusses the consequences he experienced following a humanitarian statement during the 1968 Olympics that was viewed as a protest of the American flag. Carlos and Tommie Smith, Olympic gold medalist, received death threats and were suspended from the U.S. team after standing with gloved fists during the medal ceremony.
In some cases, people may even be blackballed for standing up (or kneeling down) and speaking out. Former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who spearheaded a national protest by choosing to kneel during the singing of the national anthem during the 2016-17 NFL season, has yet to be signed by an NFL team for the upcoming season. While Kaepernick isn’t the best quarterback on the market, he’s not the worst; therefore, there’s a strong chance he’s being blackballed. http://wp.me/p4cFCW-qw
In a 2013 AL.com article, former Ensley and Jackson Olin High School girls head basketball coach Roderick Jackson suggests he’s been “permanently blackballed” from coaching in the Birmingham city school system. In 2001, as the girls head coach of then Ensley High School, Jackson complained the girls didn’t receive the same treatment as the boys team: the girls practiced in the old gym with wooden backboards, bent rims and no heat, had old uniforms and no budget for shoes, weren’t able to keep any money generated from admission and concessions and had to car pool to games while the boys used buses.
According to espn.com, Jackson spent $700 out of his own pocket to supply his players with shoes in his second season as head coach. He asked to review the athletic department’s books but was told they weren’t any of his business. Jackson complained to the athletic director and principal and they ignored him. Players even met with the principle to complain about the car pooling and practice facility; she told the players she would change it but never did. To make matters worse, the girls junior varsity program was cut.
Now that University of Connecticut head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has given his perspective of the game, allow me to add my two cents…
In his recent song “False Prophets,” rapper J.Cole makes a statement “always worried about the critics who aint never freaking did it, I write what’s in my heart, don’t really care who messing with it. But in a sense, I can relate, the need to be great turns into an obsession that keeps a brother up late writing words, hoping people observe the dedication that stirs in you constantly, but intentions get blurred.” That’s the clean version.
Well, I always write what’s in my heart, whether readers agree or not. And in this case, I am a critic, but the difference is I have done it.
I’ve had the perspective of an athlete, a coach and now a fan and a writer. But, it’s tough to be a fan and a writer and not be critical. So, as I critique the game and the players who play it, I have to remind myself I was once a player being talked, written, tweeted and posted about, good and bad. It annoys me to sit in the stands at a basketball game and fans make comments when they don’t even know the game or down-talk a player when they couldn’t do any better themselves. Although I’m entitled to my perspective, I try to be as honest and respectful as possible. Read More
In the summer of 2015, Jen Welter took the sports world by storm becoming the first woman coach in NFL history. Welter was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason to work with inside linebackers. But once her month-long internship with the Cardinals concluded, Welter didn’t land a full-time coaching job in the NFL.
This begs the question if Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians had any intentions of hiring Welter full-time or whether it was a publicity stunt for the Cardinal organization to be the first to give a woman a chance to coach in the NFL. A little less than a year prior to Welter being hired, Becky Hammon became the first full-time, paid woman coach in the NBA, working as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. Even with her reputable collegiate and professional basketball resume and future Hall of Fame likelihood, it’s likely Hammon did have to intern with the Spurs to see if she would be a good fit. However, the groundbreaking news was that Hammon was actually hired as a full-time assistant coach… meaning the internship was private and the announcement of her being hired was made public; the complete opposite of Jen Welter’s situation. Read More
Hoover’s Charles Burkett picked up where he left off from last year’s “Coaches vs. Coaches” basketball game leading his visiting team to a 70-66 victory.
In the first ever “Coaches Got Game Too” matchup in 2015, Burkett finished with 17 points and the only dunk of the game that was the cherry on top of a sweet, comeback victory for his ball club.
Click link to see highlights of 2015 game.
This time around, Burkett and company led the entire first half, entering the break with a 36-31 advantage. However, similar to the previous year, the home squad didn’t go down without a fight. Led by Restoration Academy Demetrius Coates’ eight second-half points, the home team would go on a 17-to-9 run to take a 48-45 edge entering the fourth quarter.
Leading with just under five minutes left to play, home-team captain and event host Darrell Barber of Midfield said his team needed to continue to take care of the ball, play together and limit Burkett. Read More
Photo credit: thespun.com
Following University of Alabama redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Barnett’s decision to transfer last month, there was a lot of controversy surrounding his choice to leave four games into the season.
Regarding midseason transfers, head coach Nick Saban says, “There’s certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think If I’d come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he’d have kicked me out of the house.”
Barnett, a five-star recruit from California, started Alabama’s season opener against the University of Southern California before he was pulled in favor of freshman Jalen Hurts. Maybe it’s the timing in which Barnett left rather than the point of him leaving that has upset many supporters of the Crimson Tide. However, since Barnett decided to leave when he did, he will be eligible to play at another FBS program during this time next year if he meets the minimum credits and GPA, and graduates from the junior college he will currently attend.
On the other hand, it seems hypocritical of Coach Saban to criticize players transferring midseason when he left the Miami Dolphins – with three seasons remaining on his contract – in January 2007 to coach at Alabama. His departure was probably most shocking because of the statement he made in December 2006, amid a 6-10 Dolphins season: “I guess I have to say it: I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” Read More