Press Conference Quotes
University of Alabama
November 27, 2006
Alabama Interim Head Coach Joe Kines
From our perspective, the way we are going to approach this now is to be completely focused on the student-athlete. Some of this staff have sat on the couch with their mother, their father, their grandmother or someone and assured them that we were going to take care of their child academically, physically and that the football part would come last. Now we are going to uphold that commitment. We are only about two weeks away from exams. We are not going to let any child fall through the cracks. We are not going to let any player miss a class and we are not going to lose our focus on academics. These players came to the University of Alabama to get a degree, and we are going to do that.
We are going to do it to the very best of our ability. We are going to handle the academic part up front and foremost. We are really blessed at Alabama to have (strength & conditioning coach) Rocky Colburn here, so we are going to handle the physical part of it. The only thing we know to do right now to help this team is to go to work. We are fortunate enough to have a guy (Colburn) who is so knowledgeable. We were talking to the seniors a while ago, and all across the country this month seniors are going to leave a team and then they are going to go hire somebody to work them out, and Rocky has assured them that he is going to do it for free. We are going to work them good and get everything back on track and make sure we are headed in the right direction there.
Football wise, we are hoping and praying that we get to go to a bowl game. This group wants to go. For the seniors it’s one more chance to perform and to do the thing they have done all their lives. It’s important to this program. If you look at the teams that go to bowls, they go every year. Once you get left out, you lose spring practice. You lose the connecting point between the fall, winter and the spring. The bowl season is probably the highlight of the year. So it’s really important that if we get to go, we do that right. There is a plan in place for practice and to get done what we need to get done. We are going to work and work diligently to do that.
I just met with those young men, and there is probably every emotion known to man going through their minds. The one thing about young people is that they are real resilient. They will go where the leadership takes them. They came here for a purpose and the great thing about Alabama is that those guys came here for the right reasons. Those guys that chose to come to Alabama chose Alabama for the right reasons and those reasons are still here. We are going to work and make sure we handle everything that has to do with the student-athlete, that’s what we are going to focus on in a nutshell. It’s not very complicated. We are going to do that and let everyone else handle what they need to handle.
On other assistant coaches’ status:
We have two coaches who haven’t come back in because they have been in the homes of top prospects. We are not going to let that get left undone. We have been asked to stay on top of that, so we have a plan in place to hit each of the prospects that we have offered a scholarship to. There has been a letter sent out assuring them that our commitment is there and that our focus is not going to change. We are going to work 16 or 17-hour days just like we have been doing.
On his authority to deal with players:
Dealing with the players, that’s what we talked about today. Those guys know right from wrong. We are going to look them in the eye and do the things we promised their mothers sitting on that couch that we were going to do. We are going to make sure they go to class, attend workouts and go to study hall. They are still going to do the things they came here to do.
All I know is what we are going to do right now. We are not going to try to get philosophical about all of this or get in to a realm that we can’t handle. We are going to try to get it right, right now, and that’s what we are going to focus on.
On if he had spoke to former head coach Mike Shula:
I spoke to Coach (Shula) last night. This is a great game, the greatest game in America. But sometimes it’s not a very good business. That’s just the way it works out sometimes. We are not going to try to get into all of that, what we are trying to focus on is the players and how we can help them day-to-day. We don’t want them to get lost or fall through the cracks on a day-to-day basis. That’s where you get in trouble. You look up and you haven’t been to class for three or four days, you wonder how you are going to pass that chemistry test. You look up and you haven’t worked out for three or four days, how are you going to play as well as you can? We are going to stay on top of that day-to-day, and the things we have no control over we will leave to the folks who do.