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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2006
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Alabama search goes into silent mode

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaurdaily.com∑ 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — There were no armed guards Tuesday in front of the Alabama football offices in Tuscaloosa.

In fact, it seems business as usual for the Crimson Tide as it continued its coaching search.

When asked when a new coach would be named, one Alabama official jokingly answered, ďDonít hold your breath.Ē

After the public scrutiny following West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez turning down the Crimson Tide last week, itís been quieter than usual at Alabama.

With several reports about the Tideís interest in Rodriguez, Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier leaking out, it appears that Mal Moore has put the athletic department on silent mode.

Sources close to the search believe that Colorado-based consultant Chuck Neinas is looking around the country to determine the interest in other candidates. Alabama has hired Neinas to help conduct its coaching search.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alabama contacted Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett about the Tide job. Haslett reportedly said he was not interested.

Moore has said from the beginning that he has no timetable for hiring a coach, which has led to speculation that Alabama might try to wait for Saban or another qualified NFL coach, such as the Tampa Bay Bucsí John Gruden.

Speculation about possible candidates also includes Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, Navyís Paul Johnson, Wake Forestís Jim Grobe and Calís Jeff Tedford.

With the NFL regular season not ending until Dec. 31 and college bowl games running into early January, Alabama is expected to wait until after the new year to find a new coach.

No clear front-runner has emerged, but Alabama is reportedly still hopeful that it can land Saban.

But no matter how unhappy Saban might be with the Dolphins, he would come with a hefty price tag — Saban makes close to $5 million a year.

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