Suspensions Over
Juwan Simpson was one of seven suspended
Juwan Simpson was one of seven suspended

Posted Sep 16, 2006


Alabama Coach Mike Shula's policy of not discussing disciplinary actions with the media was breached just a bit Saturday night as the Crimson Tide coach explained his suspensions of seven players in Bama's first three games.

Alabama in general and Shula in particular have had a fair share of criticism from those not aware of all circumstances. Specifically, many of those with incomplete information had been distressed that Bama linebacker Juwan Simpson had not been suspended for the Crimson Tide's season-opening win over Hawaii two weeks ago.

On Saturday night Alabama ran its record to 3-0 with a 41-7 win over Louisiana Monroe and Simpson was among three Crimson Tide players not in action.

Although the specific rules violations of Simpson, cornerback Lionel Mitchell, and halfback Jimmy Johns were not disclosed, Simpson was arrested during the summer on a variety of charges, which were reduced to him agreeing to attend a school for drug awareness and paying a fine for having an unregistered pistol.

Shula said that seven players had been guilty of off-season violations of team rules. He said they were suspended in the order of their transgressions.

Wide receiver D.J. Hall and an undisclosed player were suspended for the Hawaii game.

Kyle Tatum and another undisclosed player were suspecded for the Vanderbilt game.

Shula said, "Six guys that nobody knew about were going to miss games. The last guy, everbody knew about."

Shula said, "We didn't think it would be fair to our football team to suspend all seven for the same game."

He said, "We deal with each individually. It's disappointing when it happens, but you have to have accountability and be consistent. It's difficult when we have to discipline them."

Shula said, "We don't talk about it. It's personal between us and the athlete and his family. And it's a disadvantage to our football team when players don't play and we don't want to make it more of a disadvantage by announcing it.

"We'll move on from here."

Simpson's spot in the starting lineup was taken by Demarcus Waldrop, who made his second career start and had three primary tackles and three assists.

Johns is the back-up halfback to Kenneth Darby. Roy Upchurch got his first offensive action of the year replacing Johns and responded with 12 carries for 37 yards and two touchdowns.

Mitchell had been a starting cornerback in a five-man secondary against Vanderbilt. The starting nickel back against ULM was Rashad Johnson, who had started in that spot in the opener against Hawaii.He was in on two tackles.

Following the game, Johns said, "I've just been thinking about how much I can't wait to get back to practice on Tuesday. If you take something from a person that they love, it hurts them. I just can't wait to get back to practice.

"Our coaches do a great job with handling problems and I think everything went fine. It's behind me and I'm ready for practice on Tuesday. I'm ready for Arkansas next Saturday."

Hall, who had been suspended for the opener and had a touchdown reception Saturday night, said, "It's already behind us. We came out and won with the guys not playing, so that's already behind us. We're looking for Arkansas now. We've got those guys back and see what a difference it makes."

Johns said he understood that suspensions had been a major topic among fans and others. He said, "It doesn't bother me because that's what fans are supposed to do. When you've got players who aren't playing, they want to know what's going on. It was something that happened and we have to move on for the best of the team."


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