Kines Focused on the Interim

Joe Kines introduced what could be called his own version of the No Child Left Behind program Monday as Alabama's interim head football coach, saying his focus would be on the day-to-day operation of the football program in regards to academics, strength and conditioning, recruiting and bowl preparation.

Kines, who was named interim head coach until a replacement for Mike Shula is found, took only a handful of questions in the short affair in front of scores of news reporters in the Naylor Stone Media Suite of the Mal Moore athletic complex on Monday. He said he spoke to Shula after Shula's dismissal Sunday night, and met with players at the Bryant Hall Academic Center earlier Monday.

"I spoke with Coach (Shula) last night," Kines said. "This is the greatest game in America. Sometimes it's not a very good business."

Kines said the staff of Alabama assistants would continue to go on the road recruiting, and would see to the well-being of the current players. He said his time as interim head coach would be "completely focused on the student athlete."

"We don't want them to get lost or fall through the crack on a day-to-day basis," Kines said. "That focus is not going to change, and the staff, we're going to work 16-17 hours a day like we've been doing."

Two Alabama players made available for media interviews on Monday were supportive of Kines as the interim leader of the Tide football program as athletics director Mal Moore searches for a replacement.

"It's just going to be a matter of us convincing ourselves and telling ourselves Coach Kines has been here before," junior defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "He knows what he's talking about and he knows what it's going to take to get the team back in a positive direction."

Alabama starting center Antoine Caldwell said, "Guys are going to follow his lead and his direction. I ain't no fool, just like the rest of them, when Coach Kines talks you listen. Guys know that and he's going to have us on the right track."

Kines refused to speculate on his own future or discuss the emotions surrounding the dismissal of Shula, who promoted Kines to assistant head coach after taking over the Alabama program in May of 2003.

"I'll leave that to somebody else. All I know is what we're going to do right now. We're not going to get philosophical about this."

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