News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Tide practices as search lingers
Spurrier receives $500,000 pay hike

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Joe Kines took a deep breath, and then walked out onto the practice field Saturday.

The interim head football coach at Alabama was all over the place, barking at players to keep their hands out of their pockets, yelling at managers to fix a strap on Prince Hall’s helmet.

It was back to football again for the Crimson Tide and away from the hoopla.

While the team is unsure to which bowl it is headed, it was just back to basics and fun for a team that had been hit with the firing of coach Mike Shula.

“These guys had a nice little practice,” Kines said. “I don’t know who we’re playing or what we’re playing. It’s just football 1952 and that wasn’t a bad year. We’re just trying to get off blocks, throw the ball, catch the ball, make pass plays.”

With a lot of the teams playing with rumored head coaching candidates, there was a lot of silence.

Some kind of announcement is expected Monday with the wheels going to restart today with the search.

Reportedly, Alabama is in talks with several candidates and has not zeroed in on one person.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that potential coaching candidate Steve Spurrier accepted a hefty pay raise from the University of South Carolina.

The university will pay him an extra $500,000 per year, boosting his contract to $1.75 million per year.

“Hopefully, this announcement will really clear the air that I’m going to be here a long time,” Spurrier was quoted in the article. “I’m locked into South Carolina.”

Paul Johnson’s Navy Midshipmen defeated Army, 26-14 to retain the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the fourth straight season. Johnson has been mentioned as a possible replacement in Tuscaloosa.

Wake Forest defeated Georgia Tech 9-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship to win its conference for the first time since 1970 and second overall.

Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe was not asked about other jobs after the game and concentrated on his team’s meteoric rise to being a national power.

“I think it will kind of hit us tomorrow, maybe Monday,” Grobe said. “We’ve done some pretty good things here the last four or five weeks. We just never had time to think about it. Because we always had a game the following Saturday. So this will probably start to sink in some time later in the evening or tomorrow.”

Louisville handed it to Connecticut on Saturday, winning 48-17 to try to cement its Bowl Championship Series chances.

“We missed on the national championship opportunity,” said coach Bobby Petrino, who is considered an Alabama target. “But we hope a BCS bowl is out there for us.”

After West Virginia’s 41-39 triple overtime win Saturday, coach Rich Rodriguez was asked about his possible departure. Rodriguez was again non-committal. “I’m the coach of West Virginia, I’m excited to be here and I’m excited for our seniors,” Rodriguez said. “We have great fans, great coaching staff, great environment, a lot of people to hold the ropes for West Virginia football.

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