#8216;Fear the Thumb#039; to #8216;Fear the Dumb#8221;

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

After last season's 28-18 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville was seen holding up four fingers for the Tigers' fourth straight win over the Tide and then photographed weeks later with a shirt sporting the phrase, ‘Fear the Thumb.”

When The New York Times story broke about the academic scandal at Auburn, many ‘Bama fans felt that was their chance to get back at the Auburn faithful and proclaimed to Auburn fans, ‘Fear the Dumb.'

Of course nothing happened with the Times' story and the Tigers cruised to their fifth straight Iron Bowl victory Saturday night, 22-15.

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It is uncanny to watch as one of the most storied football programs in America has reduced itself to worrying about other coaches instead of worrying about their own.

The program that Paul ‘Bear' Bryant built into a national powerhouse was reduced to its fans throwing objects at the opposing players as they exited the field Saturday.

It's truly sad.

In a place where national championships are expected and not dreamed of, the setting has been reduced to a atmosphere of accepting mediocrity.

Following the loss to Mississippi State a few weeks back, many of the ‘Bama faithful began abandoning ship and began calling for head coach Mike Shula's job, although many held out for the result of the Auburn game.

As the Auburn game played out a week ago and Shula dropped his fourth straight Iron Bowl, the first Alabama coach to do so, there has still been no definitive statement from Athletics Director Mal Moore or President Robert Witt, leaving Alabama fans to wonder if things can ever be like they once were.

The only way to move forward is to move away from the past, which means moving away from Moore and Shula.

To President Witt: Mike Price didn't get a second chance, so why should Shula get a fifth?

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor. He can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 382-7104 or by e-mail at austin.phillips@greenvilleadvcate.com.