Practice Pace Quickens

Jimmy Johns had his say about whether he will stay or swap back to quarterback in the spring, and the 240 pound freshman came down firmly on the side of doing whatever the coaches asked of him.

Johns said he had been continuously working in at quarterback throughout the season in certain packages, but seemed firmly content as a running back. Johns volunteered to play on special teams back in August, which served as a prelude to his move from quarterback to running back.

Alabama had a total of six graduates from its football team: Mark Anderson, Jake Collins, Juwan Simpson, Greg McLain, DeMeco Ryans, Ryan Saxby and David Steakley. That makes a total of 14 graduates who will be making the bowl trip. The other Tide football graduates are: Brandon Brooks, JB Closner, Brodie Croyle, Rudy Griffin, Anthony Madison, Matt Miller and Charlie Peprah.

Shula said yesterday that the football team's Academic Progress Rating (APR) had risen to a level to avoid contemporaneous penalties from the NCAA, which is good, but not unexpected news. "We're still not where we want to be with our APR. You don't want to be close to that line where something could happen."

Shula said Saturday that Antoine Caldwell is getting a "good look at center" for the bowl game. Taylor Britt could move back the left guard for the bowl game if Caldwell gets the call at center. Caldwell at the very least will be a backup option.

The team will not practice Sunday, but will meet at the complex, rotation groups between workouts and film study for 2-3 hours. The Tide will resume practice Monday morning.

Three grayshirts joined practice Saturday: Cole Harvey, Travis Sikes and Sam Burnthall. Harvey worked on the offensive line at center and guard, despite rumors that he had changed into a fullback position. Shula said Harvey is a lineman, at least for the time being.

"We want to look at them at their natural positions before we make any decisions about moving someone," he said.

Sikes and Burnthall both worked at safety.

Shula said Saturday's practice was very good. "It was physical, guys were competing. The offensive line probably had one of their best days in all drills; in the run drills and against the blitz."

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