Kines and Staff Came Through Tough Time

Alabama didn't make it to the Promise Land in terms of winning the football game Thursday night, but the effort might have placed a seed in the minds of Alabama decision-makers, inspiring some confidence in interim coach Joe Kines if more roadblocks pop up in Alabama's search for a permanent head coach.

"Moses wandered in the desert for 40 years," Kines said. "He never did make it to the Promise Land, but God let him get on that mountaintop and look at it. It looked pretty good."

Kines' best chance to become permanent head coach Joe Kines probably came and went a long time ago when Mike Price was fired in mid-May of 2003 and Alabama was in a unique hiring situation with a deficit of quality candidates as well as the most difficult of circumstances imaginable facing the man who was brought in.

Then, Kines could have conceivably been named interim coach for a year and gained the confidence of the University administration for a permanent assignment. Now, it would take more than a handful of unexpected turns for Kines to get the job, but Alabama's showing in its 34-31 loss only raised Kines stature.

"I would give anything to be the head coach at Alabama," Kines said after Thursday night's game. "But I've also got enough common sense to realize where this is going. This ain't no election. The decision, it's way over me."

Kines said he hoped to stay at Alabama in some capacity. He has children and grandchildren living in Tuscaloosa, and said he would not accept a position elsewhere. Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore issued a statement commending Kines for the job he has done as interim coach, but Moore's statements since firing Mike Shula have maintained he intends to hire a proven head coach.

There's also the possibility that Kines could stay on as defensive coordinator, or in a non-coaching role.

"From the front chair to the back chair it don't make no difference," he said. "I'm not going to go to East Idaho State Teacher's College and coach defensive ends."

Bama's fourth quarter comeback to tie the game before losing on a last-second field goal should also serve as an attention-getter to college football head coaches with staff openings. There are eight coaches at Alabama who sent an unmistakable message that they have more than a few good years of coaching still in them.

Offensive coordinator Dave Rader didn't re-invent the wheel, but he did shift the paradigm on what was not a technically unsound system, but without question an unimaginative set of plays under Mike Shula. And Alabama entered the red zone four times and came away with three touchdowns and a field goal.

Sparky Woods, Dave Ungerer, Bob Connelly, David Turner, Charlie Harbison and Chris Ball all deserve for hanging in with the Crimson Tide in preparing this team to play and trying to hold down the fort in recruiting despite knowing they will almost certainly not be receiving a paycheck from the University of Alabama next season. It appeared Thursday night that this staff had indeed put Alabama in a position to move forward under the next coach.

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