AudioHomepage BannerNews By News Highland – January 31, 2019 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows The funeral is taking place of Daniel Scott, the last of four friends killed in a collision near Gortahork on Sunday night to be laid to rest.Earlier this afternoon, the funeral took place of John Harley, whi;e this morning, Micheál Roarty and Shaun Harkin were buried.At John Harkin’s funeral Father James Gillespie spoke of going to the family home just hours after the news broke……………Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/frjames3pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Earlier, speaking at Shaun Harkin’s mass Fr. Sean Gallagher paid tribute to the local community………Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/frgall3pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Publicans in Republic watching closely as North reopens further Facebook Community Enhancement Programme open for applications Twitter Fourth funeral underway following Road tragedy WhatsApp Pinterest WhatsApp Google+ Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Previous articleSeanad told iCare and Bluestacks taken for grantedNext articleMain Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Thursday January 31st News Highland Facebook Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Google+ Twitter Pinterest
“I just have a feeling that I didn’t do a very good job for our team, with our team, giving them the best opportunity to be successful,” Saban said. “I always feel that way, even sometimes when we win, I think there’s things that we could do better that I could do better.”MORE: Alabama begins its next Playoff climbThe time for that started the second Saban uncrossed his arms and walked off the podium.It’s always football season in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide had the usual defections to the NFL Draft and the coaching staff overhaul continues to be a massive undertaking. Saban, who turns 68 on Halloween, will be in his 13th season leading a dynasty that has dominated college football with five national championships in that stretch.Whenever Alabama loses, the initial reaction is to prophesize the beginning of the end of that dynasty. Cecil Hurt, who has covered the Crimson Tide for the Tuscaloosa News since 1982 (the final season of legendary coach Bear Bryant) gets that question whenever the Tide lose on the big stage.”The people who have been around this team a long time have seen the end of a dynasty,” Hurt told Sporting News. “They’ve seen what the signs are. The signs aren’t the same at this point. Maybe five years from now. But not now.”Five years? That might as well be 100 years in social media time. That said, it’s been three weeks since the Tigers routed the Crimson Tide behind an incredible performance from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and those questions are still being asked about a dynasty that has impervious to complacency.Ryan Fowler, host of The Game on Tuscaloosa, Ala., radio station WTID, is Tuscaloosa’s longest-running sports talk show host. He also knows the temperature of that fan base every day on the phone.”There’s some panic, but it’s not inside the building,” Fowler said. “It’s in the fans because a lot of the panic is the unknown.”It was not denial that they got beat,” Fowler said. “It was the style that they got beat. Then you begin to look for excuses why it happened, and the consensus is that from the majority of people is that coaching is what beat Alabama and Nick Saban.”Fowler stops for a second, as if calculating what those fans add up on the air.”Then you take a step back and say, ‘Wait a minute. Nick Saban and his staff got out-coached?'” Fowler asked, as if he was one of his own callers. “That’s been the harder pill to swallow than losing the game.”The coaching staff also been the most-publicized topic of conversation since the loss.MORE: ‘See you next year’? Five things that could stop Bama-Clemson VAlabama coaching changesSaban’s coaching staff has undergone turnover before, but it has been more pronounced than ever following the loss to Clemson.Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took the head coaching job at Maryland, but his potential replacements in quarterbacks coach Dan Enos (Miami) and receivers coach Josh Gattis (Michigan) also left. Offensive line coach Brent Key took the same position at Georgia. On defense, co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi joined Freddie Kitchens’ staff with the Cleveland Browns.Enos’ departure — he reportedly cleared his office out without Saban’s knowledge — was detailed in an article by Bruce Feldman. Gattis said he decided to join Michigan’s staff shortly after a meeting in which he was “chewed out” by Saban. That heightened the speculation around the Saban ship.Fowler believes some of the last few hires Saban made were a result of Georgia’s top-ranked recruiting class in 2018 under Kirby Smart, who served as Alabama’s defensive coordinator from 2008-15.”He saw what Kirby was doing on the recruiting trail,” Fowler said. “The competitor wants to adjust to that. How do you that? He got youth to counter (Georgia) on the recruiting trail. He gambled, and that gamble didn’t pay off in crunch time. Now, he’s going back to the well — the familiar coaches that know his system. There is nobody that’s going to cry when they get chewed out by Nick Saban.”Former offensive analyst Steve Sarkisian, who replaced Lane Kiffin as the offensive coordinator before the 2017 CFP championship game against Clemson, could return as offensive coordinator. Saban also brought back Sal Sunseri as defensive coach. Former Rutgers coach Kyle Flood and Tennessee special teams coach Charles Kelly also were hired, as was Mississippi State running backs coach Charles Huff. Roles have yet to be determined, but the hire that drew the most attention is Sarkisian.Sarkisian could be Alabama’s fourth different full-time offensive coordinator in as many seasons. Where will the Crimson Tide pick up after averaging 45.6 points per game last season?”I would say that starts with having good players,” Hurt said. “If you have talent, then you are just talking about bringing in one guy. Lane’s going to do it one way. Sark’s going to do it another way, and Locksley did it a very different way. But if you have the playmakers and talent, then a good offensive coordinator can make it work.”MORE: SN’s 2018 All-America teamNFL talentAlabama had a school-record seven underclassmen declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. That included Sporting News first-team All-Americans Quinnen Williams, Jonah Williams and Deionte Thompson. Irv Smith, Saivion Smith, Mack Wilson and Josh Jacobs also decided to forgo their remaining eligibility.When asked about that roster attrition, Hurt has an unexpected response.”They’ll have more than seven guys next year leave early, I would suspect,” Hurt said.That includes Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa and Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy. Butkus Award finalist Dylan Moses, who missed the CFP championship game with a broken foot, also returns along with junior running back Najee Harris.”I don’t think there is a coach in the country who wouldn’t take those guys and take his chances,” Hurt said.That’s not counting the developed stars-in-waiting. Quinnen Williams had limited playing experience before the 2018 season. He left as the best defensive player in the country. Alabama also can wrap up the nation’s top recruiting class Feb. 6 on National Signing Day. Backup quarterback Jalen Hurts is now at Oklahoma, but his transfer was expected.”Alabama still has the best roster in college football,” Fowler said. “They have a lot of youth, and there is a No. 1 recruiting class they are going to sign right now. When you look at that talent, that’s what had Nick Saban so confused in that title game. They had more talent than Clemson. It was all scheme-wise.”The challenge for Alabama will be not looking ahead to Clemson — while also keeping an eye on an opponent they’ve faced in the College Football Playoff the last four years.MORE: Bama-Clemson fatigue a tired argument that should be put to restDefending SEC, chasing ClemsonThe Crimson Tide is 34-2 against SEC opponents (including postseason) the last four years, with the only losses coming against Ole Miss in 2015 and Auburn in 2017.The usual challenges in the SEC cannot be overlooked. There are seven ranked SEC teams in Sporting News’ pre-preseason top 25. Alabama plays four of those teams (No. 7 LSU, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 15 Mississippi State, No. 16 Auburn) in the regular season, and LSU is the only home game among the bunch. Georgia led Alabama at halftime in the 2017 CFP championship and 2018 SEC championship. That is not a schedule to take for granted, even with with Tennessee and former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt in the permanent crossover game.”Nobody complained about Alabama having Tennessee as a crossover when Peyton was there and when Jamal Lewis and those teams were there,” Hurt said. “They’ve just had Tennessee in a down cycle.”Clemson, however, presents a different challenge. The Tigers have Lawrence, who will be a Heisman Trophy front runner, leading an offense that features Travis Etienne, Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. The Tigers and Crimson Tide have identical 55-4 records since 2015.”I think you can go ahead and put them on the schedule,” Fowler said. “They’re going to be playing whether it’s the semifinals or the final game in New Orleans next year.”While there’s no way either Saban or Clemson coach Dabo Swinney will ever say it in a public forum, Alabama’s challenge will be matching what the Tigers did this season. Swinney went to Lawrence midseason as a response to a 24-6 loss to the Crimson Tide in the 2018 Sugar Bowl.”You’ve got to start thinking like Dabo,” Fowler said. “The gamble paid off. He had to get Trevor Lawrence ready because he knew Kelly Bryant couldn’t beat Alabama, so he moved his chess piece back in September. Nick Saban may be moving his now.”While the immediate impact of the loss to Clemson is over, the Tigers will be on the Tide’s minds all season.”The expectation is to immediately get back and play Clemson for a fifth straight year,” Hurt said. “The game is over. There is much more focus on everything being in place now.”MORE: 19 questions for 2019 seasonDynasty over?No, the dynasty is not over yet. That’s the most simple answer in the short term.”They’ve made every single Playoff since there’s been a Playoff,” Hurt said. “Until they miss a couple those, I wouldn’t say the dynasty is over. Just like it used be with the classical Yankees teams of the past or the Golden State Warriors now, people like dynasties but they like to pull against the dynasties.”The question that will get answered about Alabama in 2019 is whether the changes in the coaching staff and subsequent turnover will pull at the Crimson Tide dynasty from within. Saban is a coach that has evolved over those 13 seasons, and not every decision has panned out.”Sometimes you feel like you have to patch up the holes, and the holes are not there,” Fowler said. “Let’s go back to Lane Kiffin (after the Peach Bowl against Washington). That move cost Nick Saban a championship. So, is Nick Saban is overreacting now? That’s a question, not a statement, but it’s fair to ask.”That’s really where the question begins and ends. Saban, arguably the greatest coach in college football history, has a chance to pass Bryant with a seventh national championship if Alabama wins another one during his tenure. That’s the dynasty to which Saban’s is most often compared, and it’s one Hurt remembers seeing end.”Coach Bryant’s last three years, he wasn’t particularly healthy, recruiting declined and suddenly they didn’t have better players to go out and beat the other team,” Hurt said. “Other teams in the SEC stepped up and wanted to go out and compete. Coach Bryant would have told you this at the time of his retirement. He just couldn’t physically keep up with the demands.”To that point, Alabama had a 27-8-1 record in Bryant’s last seasons. Alabama is 41-3 the last three seasons under Saban, the second-oldest coach in the Power 5 behind UNC’s Mack Brown. The talent is still in place for another Playoff and championship run.”Nick is nowhere near that point,” Hurt said. “He’s the most energetic looking guy for his age. He’s constantly on the road.”Saban, meanwhile, closed his news conference after the loss to Clemson with an inward look at what went wrong. “We really never got comfortable with what we needed to do to win this game, especially on defense, especially the matchups we had in our secondary vs. their receivers,” Saban said. “That was something that was kind of bothering me going into the game, and as the game unfolded, it worked out that those matchups were a big difference.”That doesn’t sound like a coach anywhere near retirement. It sounds like a coach who’s moving those chess pieces — coaches and players included — to make it sure it doesn’t happen again. When that process — “The Process” — ends, then it will be over, more than likely two or three years after his retirement. Like Hurt said, that might be not come until five years from now.”People can take a microscope and look for cracks, but when there are really cracks in the foundation you can see them,” Hurt said. “You could see them with Coach Bryant, but he also knew the time had come.” Nick Saban clutched the sleeves of his white pullover and offered reasons why Clemson beat Alabama in the 2019 College Football Playoff national title game in Levi’s Stadium.The final 44-16 score stood in stark contrast to every single game Saban had coached for the Crimson Tide since taking over in 2007. Never before had his team lost by more than 14 points, making this his worst loss as Alabama coach, and making it Alabama’s worst loss since 1998.