Catching Up

The "Blame the Internet" crowd (I joke, I joke) had another exhibit to add to its side on Friday, at least according to Alabama Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader, who tried to quash rumors linking him with a head coaching job at Rice.

"I don't know how it started," Rader said. "No one ever called me. One of my former players called and I thought that would be it." Rader said it took a week for the rumor to spread from that former player, who called because he wanted to join Rader's new staff, to get from Texas where the call originated to Alabama. Rader said, "Let me say, officially, no one has called me and I have not been contacted by anyone about a job."

Asked if he would be interested, Rader said, "When they call I will give you my level of interest. This is really, really incredible… Better than some of the other things that have been said."

Peppered as the offensive staff has been with questions about Alabama's line since the Auburn game, Rader was asked what the solution to some of the problem is. "Unfortunately for a lot of them it's time," he said. "When the front six has three players named to the All-SEC freshman team that shows you how young they are."

Shula talked about next year only momentarily, but shared a similar point that the team will be young on the offensive side of the ball, especially the line, once again.

Kyle Tatum will be the only third-year player on the line on next year's offense, including the tight end position. Antoine Caldwell, Chris Capps and B.J. Stabler, assuming they maintain starting roles, will all be in their second year of starting and a first-year player will also have to fill a spot on the line.

It would appear Jimmy Johns is a running back to stay. Johns signed as a quarterback and moved to running back in the fall, hasn't expressed a strong inclination to move back to his original position, and Alabama's coaches have gushed over his potential as a running back.

"I think he's very pleased where he is playing," Rader said. "I'm of the opinion he is going to make a lot of money as a running back. He's really in the embryonic stages of being a running back. He's going to be an excellent running back."

"I like our quarterback situation," Rader said. "Marc is still very sharp if he can get his back to come around. Barnes is young and has learned as good as you can when you're redshirting. We are still going to recruit quarterbacks."

Shula said Johns' future didn't necessarily depend on what happens with quarterback recruiting, and indicated he would like to sign another quarterback. Shula said Johns had "upside and potential at running back that he still has barely tapped into with his talent."

In general recruiting discussion, Shula said he would likely oversign again this year, but not to the extent Alabama has done the past two years. Last year Alabama signed 33 players with an allotment of 25 to enter in August, and two years ago Alabama signed 28 when it was allowed to bring in 19 players.

Alabama will have its three grayshirt players joining the squad tomorrow: Travis Sikes, Sam Burnthall and Cole Harvey. All have been in Tuscaloosa for the fall enrolled part time, but can not officially join the team until the fall semester is over.

Graduation at Alabama is Saturday, and three Tide football players will make the walk. Heralded linebacker DeMeco Ryans, rising senior Juwan Simpson and departing senior Mark Anderson all get their degrees Saturday.

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