Warrior Report

Hawaii's Jeremiah Cockheran sprinted past the Alabama bench on his way to a touchdown last night. Cockheran had five catches for 124 yards and two scores.

Shula’s first year
gets worse

Nothing about this season has gone the way Alabama coach Mike Shula would have liked.

As he addressed reporters yesterday following Alabama's 37-29 loss to Hawaii, Shula looked very much like a coach who could not wait for this year to be over. Earlier this week, he indicated as much, saying the Crimson Tide would be behind in recruiting (which begins today) after returning home from this trip.

Shula would have liked to return to Tuscaloosa with a win and a little momentum for spring ball next year. Instead, he takes home a loss that will leave a bad taste in his mouth until next season.

Hawaii's come-from-behind win marred Shula's return to Aloha Stadium. In 1985, he guided the Crimson Tide to a victory over Southern California as a quarterback in the Aloha Bowl but couldn't do the same for his team as a coach.

"We finished up on a sour note after having a lead," Shula said. "It's not a good feeling right now. We obviously have a lot of work to do. Not that we can't get it done.

"Any time we get a little tired in the offseason during the conditioning workouts, I hope they remember how they feel right now."

The Tide (4-9) posted the second-most single-season losses in school history. Alabama was 0-10 in 1955.

It didn't seem like Alabama was going to conclude the season with back-to-back losses early in the game.

In fact, Alabama appeared set for a similar victory to last year's 21-16 win -- the Tide even led by that same score in the third quarter. Tailback Shaud Williams (18 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD) went to work early for the Tide. After his first two rushing attempts were halted for losses, the 5-foot-8, 191-pound senior exploded down the right sideline for a 56-yard gain to get to the Hawaii 4. Three plays later, he was in the end zone as Alabama got on the scoreboard first.

The Crimson Tide went up 14-0 after quarterback Brodie Croyle hooked up with Clint Johnston for a 2-yard TD pass with 12:24 left in the half.

Meanwhile the Crimson Tide defense was as stifling as Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang was sputtering. Last year, Alabama intercepted four Chang passes and sacked him four times.

It did not get the chance this year, as Chang was replaced by Jason Whieldon in the second quarter and again after halftime.

Whieldon was effective in the beginning, leading two TD drives on consecutive possessions.

The Tide defense made up for the ineptitude of its offense in the second quarter. The Warriors had great field position twice, yet came up empty-handed both times.

The Tide led 21-16 in the third quarter after Roman Harper returned a blocked field goal 73 yards for the TD.

"We felt like we were in control of the game," said cornerback Anthony Madison, who blocked the field goal that led to Harper's return. "We all knew that Hawaii could change. They have that high-powered offense. We just had to stay calm and try to play ball."

Alabama had a chance to increase its lead, but Williams fumbled on one drive late in the third quarter and Brian Bostick missed a field goal to open the fourth period.

Hawaii took the lead for good on its next possession. Whieldon completed a 47-yard pass to Jeremiah Cockheran to go up 22-21. Cockheran ran out of bounds before the catch, but officials ruled that he was pushed out and the touchdown stood. Michael Brewster scampered in for the 2-point conversion.

"Clearly the man was out of bounds," Harper said. "Pep(rah) pushed him out of bounds. The ref said if you're forced out of bounds, you can get back in. I've never heard of that rule. I'm not the coach or the referee so he made the call. I thought it was BS, but that's what they get paid for.

"Nobody feels good after a loss. We wanted to send the seniors out on a good note. We didn't do that tonight. We have to give Hawaii credit -- they played great ball."


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