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TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2007
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Tide's Saban, 3 assistants examine recruiting

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — According to sources, new Alabama coach Nick Saban has had three assistant coaches join his staff.

Whoever else will join the trio is a mystery as Saban has worked on filling out his staff since his Wednesday hiring.

Former Florida State linebackers coach Kevin Steele, former Central Florida defensive coordinator Lance Thompson and former Miami Dolphins safeties coach Kirby Smart have joined Saban in examining the CrimsonTide's recruiting options.

Published reports have indicated that former Michigan State coach and Miami Dolphins running backs coach Bobby Williams has accepted a position with Alabama, though a source said that he was not working with Alabama as of Monday.

Sources also indicate that Saban is moving toward hiring former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Joe Pendry and Rice Owls offensive coordinator Major Applewhite in a dual offensive role.

The thinking is that Applewhite, 27, a former Texas quarterback, will learn from Pendry and then eventually take over the reigns himself as coordinator.

The move toward this new double position comes shortly after former LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher decided to take a job as Florida State's offensive coordinator.

As recently as Saturday night, FSU head coach Bobby Bowden was quoted as saying that Fisher would not join his staff.

Reports also indicate that Mississippi State running backs coach Shane Beamer has pulled out of the running to join Alabama.

According to sources and published reports, former Ohio State Program Assistant Todd Alles has accepted a position with Alabama as head of football operations.

It is unclear whether Randy Ross, a part of the athletics department at Alabama for 17 years, will remain.

Ross held Alles' position for the last four years.

Saban also has not hired anybody from former coach Mike Shula's group of assistants.

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