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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2006
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UA hopes to have coach by bowl game

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Alabama's coaching search continued Tuesday with administrators sifting through candidates and developing a list of interested coaches.

Sources close to the search are hopeful that Alabama will have a new coach in place before the Dec. 28 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

Many college teams are preparing for bowl games, and if Alabama is interested in coaches whose teams have received postseason berths, that slows the process. In addition, the NFL regular season does not end until Dec. 31, and teams that make the playoffs will play longer.

As for recruiting, getting a new coach quickly may not make a large difference.

Beginning Monday, recruiting hits a slow time when Division I teams face an NCAA-mandated "dead period." Coaches are not allowed in-person contact with recruits and can only telephone or write them.

The dead period lasts until Jan. 4. Another dead period lasts from Jan. 8-11. Schools face a "quiet period" during Jan. 5-7 and 12-13 when they are allowed to meet with recruits but only on the university's campus. No off-campus activity is allowed.

Industry insiders believe that if Alabama waits long enough, it might be able to lure Nick Saban from the Miami Dolphins.

However, Saban has continued to deny interest in the Alabama job.

When asked by NBC-TV reporter Peter King about his interest in the Alabama job on Sunday, Saban said, "When does this become a dead story? I've already said what I said."

When asked again during his Monday press conference, Saban re-iterated his desire to stay with the Dolphins

"I have no intentions of going anywhere," Saban said.

Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga told the Orlando Sentinel that the Saban to Alabama talk is a "dead issue."

A darkhorse Alabama coaching target, Navy coach Paul Johnson, has been reported as a possible candidate at Boston College, which lost Tom O'Brien to North Carolina State, where he will replace Chuck Amato.

Johnson once was considered a finalist for the Wolfpack job.

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