Four days after making the key call that cost Alabama the Iron Bowl, Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was fired along with three other assistants.
Secondary coach Curley Hallman, special teams coach Danny Pearman and receivers coach Woody McCorvey were the others dismissed Wednesday as the aftershocks of a 4-7 season, Alabama’s worst in 40 years, started to hit.
Coach Mike DuBose had been planning changes well before the season ended, and after Alabama’s heartbreaking 18-17 loss to Auburn warned they could come quickly.
In his first year at Alabama, Arians seemed the least likely to go, at least until he called a third-and-eight screen pass late in the Auburn game that will go down in infamy with Alabama fans.
The pass was caught by Ed Scissum, who fumbled, setting up a Jaret Holmes field goal and the one-point Auburn victory. Critics say a running play and a punt could have pinned Auburn deep in its own territory with less than 40 seconds remaining. Arians defended the call, saying he wanted to give the offense a chance to win the game.
DuBose reportedly was unhappy with Arians’ performance even before that call. Brought in to jazz up the offense, Arians guided a unit that slipped from sixth to eighth in the Southeastern Conference in offense, from sixth to ninth in passing offense and from fifth to eighth in scoring offense.
Motor City Bowl planners rescinded an offer to Michigan State after the school refused to accept the local invitation offered last week.
Said George Perles, the bowl’s executive director and a former Spartan coach: “You never want anyone to come to dinner who doesn’t want to come.”
Perles said organizers of the inaugural Motor City Bowl--to be played Dec. 26 in the Pontiac Silverdome--hope to choose within days an at-large opponent against the Mid-America Conference champion, either Toledo or Marshall.
According to bowl officials, other candidates for the at-large berth include Iowa, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Notre Dame, which has a chance, if it defeats Hawaii on Saturday, to improve its record to 7-5.
Michigan State officials had said they were hoping for an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl. No. 24 Air Force accepted a bid to that bowl Wednesday.
Meanwhile, New Mexico Athletic Director Rudy Davalos is angry over what he considers the Las Vegas Bowl’s snub of the Lobos.
New Mexico, the WAC’s Mountain Division winner, meets Colorado State in the league’s championship game in Las Vegas on Dec. 6 and the winner goes on to the Holiday Bowl. But until the Insight.com Bowl said Wednesday it would take the runner-up team from the WAC title game, there was concern within the WAC and in New Mexico that the Lobos might be left out of the bowl picture entirely if they lost to CSU.
“What I am concerned about is how the Las Vegas Bowl could issue an invitation to the Air Force and not make the same invitation to us,” Davalos said. “In other words, to say, whichever one of you two doesn’t make it to the Insight.com Bowl, will be the host for the Western Athletic Conference.”
Davalos also said the Las Vegas Bowl did not send a representative to New Mexico’s game against Tulsa last week in which the Lobos wrapped up the Mountain Division title. The Holiday Bowl sent a representative and an official of the Insight.com planned to attend but was unable to get to Albuquerque in time.
Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards was released from the hospital, one day after undergoing surgery to unclog two arteries in his neck.
Edwards, 67, was doing well but looked tired before his afternoon release, according to Anton Garrity, spokesman for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo.
Dr. Mark Fullmer, who performed the surgery Tuesday, said he anticipates a full recovery.
Tim McGuire, defensive coordinator at Indiana State the past five years, was named to succeed Dennis Raetz as coach. McGuire, 44, was recommended for the job by Raetz, who resigned last week to become associate athletic director.
“I’m not inheriting something I don’t know anything about,” McGuire said. “This is a place I’ve been for five years, and I have invested a lot of time and effort.”
Indiana State plays in the Division I-AA Gateway Conference.