Loss of Protho was big blow to Tide

Published 7:50 pm Monday, May 28, 2007

One play turned the tide for Alabama's football success over the past few years, former defensive coordinator Joe Kines told members of the Escambia County University of Alabama Alumni Association Tuesday night.
But new head coach Nick Saban is working to refocus the Crimson Tide's efforts, said Kines, who was keynote speaker for the alumni group's annual dinner.
Prothro was a spark for the entire team, Kines said.
Prothro's injury added to other problems for the team, who had a losing season in 2006.
But fans - and the campus - are excited over the arrival of former LSU and Miami Dolphins coach Saban, Kines said. This spring's A-Day football game drew a full house to Bryant-Denny stadium.
&#8220Everybody's so excited about Nick Saban's arrival on campus,” Kines said. &#8220He's one of the most driven people I've ever been around. Twenty-four hours a day he's wound tight and headed in one direction.”
Sabana is committed to the &#8220process” of getting Alabama back on top, Kines said.
While Saban is &#8220not really a chitchat kind of guy,” Kines said, the new coach did reveal that he was touched by the fan support at the spring game.
As for Kines, he is enjoying his new role as special assistant to the athletic director at Alabama. A Jacksonville State University graduate, Kines spent four decades coaching at various college and pro teams before going to Alabama as defensive coordinator. When Mike Shula was fired at the end of the last football season, Kines stepped up as interim coach and led the team through its bowl game.
He retired from coaching after the game.
Kines has stayed at Alabama, where his role includes working in the ticket office.
Plans at Alabama include another expansion of the stadium, Kines said.
In addition to hearing from Kines, the local alumni group also awarded two $1,000 Walter Lewis scholarships to T.R. Miller High School students Kara Smith and Tanner Shehan.
The scholarships are named after Brewton native and former T.R. Miller Tiger Walter Lewis. Lewis, a former quarterback for the Crimson Tide, could not attend the dinner but made a phone call to the club and the students in which he congratulated the students on their achievements.