Mike Shula's one great selling point has been his stability. Well, that and winning the genetic lottery along with causing Warrick Dunn more pain than any human on the planet during his time as OC for the Tampa Bay Bucs. His plays seemed to be designed to maim the tiny back, especially "Jets Trips WD HB Screen Sans Blockers," and "Tango Tight High and Floaty Over The Middle To Warrick Just In Front Of The Safety."
But besides shortening Warrick Dunn's lifespan by two years, Shula has breathed life into the Bama program with his mayonnaise personality, ability to surround himself with savvy veteran coaching, and a nearly complete lack of serious trouble in critical offseasons. He's building a fine bubble for the program, and this isn't a subtle jab at him either, since Shula as a coach has pretty much been defined: a bland, competent administrator-type whose virtues lay in his steady hand and delegating ability.
Picking veteran talent like, man, that danged old Joe Kines has made all the dang difference for that there Shula, man.
(We can hear the hell coming, Bama fans. It's okay. He's boring. We've got a coach who's trying to run a mongrel spread option with the world's greatest flag football quarterback. And to beat you to the punch:
Taht's a lotta smack for someone who lost to the Tide 31-3! ROLL TIDE
There. We've said it so you won't have to. See you September 30th.)
The thrust of this is that Shula's built a nice bubble around the program, and excepting a DUI arrest by John Parker Wilson, everyone's had the common courtesy to avoid getting arrested and befouling the bubble with the fart of serious trouble. Which is what makes Juwan Simpson's arrest over the weekend for marijuana possession, unlicensed handgun possession, and receiving stolen property so aberrant. Simpson is one of the golden boys of the Bama community, a team leader, double degree seeker (um, in financial planning and criminal justice) and the recipient of the Derrick Thomas Award for community involvement. Him getting popped for anything looks worse than a back bencher getting nailed for the same, much less for the cliched marijuana/handgun charges duo with a chaser of stolen property.
Given Simpson's farting up the Shula bubble over the weekend, we herald the arrival of Bama in the Fulmer Cup standings with a solid three point award, one for each misdemeanor charge in Simpson's case. Speaking of bubbles, we were watching an entirely different type of bubble last night in Centennial Park in Atlanta, one containing Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips:
Juwan Simpson got arrested. We got blasted with confetti and balloons. All in a weekend.