Making the Switch

The double-takes started when Jimmy Johns wasn't wearing the yellow "no contact" jersey donned by the Alabama quarterbacks every day in practice that had been the usual for the Brookhaven, Miss. freshman.

Johns worked with the running backs during the morning session of Thursday two-a-days, and is expected to get more work there and on special teams Thursday evening.

"I'm really excited about it. He can help our team in so many different ways," running backs coach Sparky Woods said.

"He gives us a chance to win whether he can run for a touchdown or tackle a punt returner or something like that. We've got to use him, I think."

Johns told the coaches earlier in the week that he wanted to be on special teams and he has worked on kickoff coverage, punt coverage and kickoff return in practice for the past two days.

"I talked to my parents about it," Johns said. "I talked to the coaches about it. I'm going to do some special teams and some more stuff. It's just getting on the field.

"I feel like I can get on the field on special teams and some other things in addition to it. I might play some receiver, do some cracks (crack-back blocks from the receiver position) on some people."

The decision to keep Johns on offense stemmed from his knowledge of the playbook and each offensive position from his time at quarterback.

"I know the offense real well and that will be the best move for me. I was learning everybody's position. Offense is the best position for me," He said.

Woods said his knowledge of what to do and where to go was beneficial, and the main thing for Johns to pick up on is the steps a running back takes.

"We're off till six o'clock so I'll be up there working hard with the running backs trying to get my steps down," Johns said.

Head Coach Mike Shula was scheduled to talk to the media after Thursday evening's practice.

Whether Johns' move would be temporary or permanent, "that's Coach Shula's call, but I'm going to keep him as long as I can have him," Woods said.

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