Back At Practice

Joe Kines wasn't going to a prom in 1952, but the interim head football coach at Alabama referred to both as the Crimson Tide was back on the practice field for the first time since its last game and since Bama's Mike Shula was fired.

Alabama won't know until Sunday if there is another football game for the 2006 Crimson Tide. That's when bowl bids go out. But because Alabama had a 6-6 record, the Tide is eligible for a bowl game and therefore could have a football practice Saturday. Bama was out for a little over two hours Saturday morning.

"It was like Football 1952," Kines said. "We don't have a (bowl opponent) team to prepare for. We were running and passing. We had some team work. We had a little fun."

Most projections have Alabama getting the final Southeastern Conference-affiliated bowl, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport on December 28. The most likely opponent is expected to be either Oklahoma State or Kansas State from the Big 12. The pairings will filter out Sunday after the BCS bowls are announced.

"It's like when the prom is coming up and you don't have a date," Kines said. "Now maybe we'll find out what girl we might be going with."

Kines said, "The best thing about today was we got to work again. It seems like it's been a month. The guys came to work every day (in strength and conditioning workouts last week). Coach Colburn (Strength and Conditioning Coach Rocky Colburn) and his staff kept things going.

"We have to go day-to-day going forward. If you don't, you're going backwards. These guys want to go forward."

Kines said bowl practice would be "like it always is. We'll work on skills, work on Alabama. Then we'll work on the other team (the game plan for the bowl). Then we'll work on Alabama again for the future.

"That's why a bowl game is so important. Some teams have already put the pads up. Today, we had two or three guys get better. We'll have that every day, a few guys getting better. Every day you have that happen, and soon the team is better."

Although post-season all-star squads have not been announced, Kines said that 11 of 12 Alabama seniors who started for the Tide this year have been selected for games such as the Senior Bowl, East-West Game, and Hula Bowl. "That's pretty good for those guys, and now we need to have another game for the team," he said.

He also had praise for freshmen Prince Hall, who was selected as SEC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year by the Sporting News.

Kines noted another advantage of being on the practice field. "There are no rumors out here," he said. "Out here you have to do your job."

There wasn't a lot of talk about individual players, but Kines said that defensive end Ezekiel Knight, who has missed more than the last half of the season with "dizziness," was participating. And he said that running back Jimmy Johns, who appeared to have a cast on his hand and wrist, participated. "He scored a couple of touchdowns unless there was someone else out there in number 10," Kines said.

Kines has been a head coach in the past. Does he prefer head coach or defensive coordinator? "It's the same," he said. "Just a different outlook. Responsible for different guys."

He said he would continue to work with linebackers. "We haven't got time to retread," he said.

Kines also said that he expected Offensive Coordinator David Rader to call the plays in the bowl game. "The offense will do what they need to do," he said.

Kines said that a critical area in the next couple of weeks would be academics with The University having dead week for final examinations preparation and then finals beginning the week of December 15.

As for his future, he refused to address reports that following bowl games he'll be the defensive coordinator at Texas. "I know a lot of those guys and they're great guys," he said. He also said he would prefer to stay at Alabama.

Kines was enthusiastic about the state of Bama recruiting. "We're recruiting hard," he said. "It has been amazing. Recruiting has held firm. Alabama is Alabama. Some of them have wanted to play for Alabama since they were in the first grade. But those further out that we've talked to are also saying they are still in."

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