A New QB?

One of the biggest topics of the past week at Alabama has been replacing Tyrone Prothro's myriad impacts on opposing defensive coordinators' game plans.

Prothro, out for the season with a broken left leg suffered against Florida, did a little of everything - caught passes, returned punts and kicks and took snaps at quarterback and tailback.

Ezekial Knight and DJ Hall will replace him in the receiving rotation, while Hall and Brandon Brooks will fill his role in the return game. But it's unclear who, if anyone, will give defenses fits out of the backfield.

One possibility, Tide Coach Mike Shula acknowledged Tuesday, is freshman tailback Jimmy Johns - a quarterback by trade before moving deeper in the backfield during preseason practice.

"Tyrone Prothro has got some really big shoes to fill," Johns said. "There are a lot of things to see, but I don't know right now. If the coaches feel like I can make plays like he did, then they'll put me in for some plays where I was at."

The athletic Johns was Mississippi's Mr. Football last fall at Brookhaven High School, rolling up 2,173 passing yards and 1,394 rushing yards while accounting for 44 total touchdowns.

But he isn't letting thoughts of signalcalling - or at least signalcalling and scurrying on a quarterback draw - enter his mind.

"You can't think about that," he said. "College ball is a lot different than high school, you've got to get in there, study your opponent. I don't have time to miss it. I've got to worry about my job right now - and that's playing quarterback."

Johns says he's fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery, which gave him problems early in the season and led to his departure from the kickoff return team. Now, he's ready to play anywhere, as long as his coaches agree.

"It really doesn't matter where I play at," he said. "I'm a role player on Alabama's team, and whatever role they want me to play, linebacker, running back, kicker, whatever, I'm going to play my role."


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