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August 18, 2011TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban said that assistant coach Jeff Stoutland and director of football operations Joe Pannunzio - both named in a Yahoo Sports report about potential NCAA violations at the University of Miami - had been through an NCAA background check before being hired at UA.
Saban also said that "if" an NCAA investigation revealed rules violations by either Stoutland or Pannunzio, he was "sure they'll get the appropriate punishment."
"I'm going to address this and that's it," Saban said following the Crimson Tide's Thursday practice. "All this stuff about Miami, I know nothing about Miami. I don't have time to deal with what's going on in Miami. I know what goes on in this program and that we do things correctly. We do have people in this organization who worked (at Miami). Before those people were ever hired here, we do an NCAA check to make sure that they pass all compliance criteria and don't have any red flags relative to compliance history, and we certainly did that in both of these cases.
"If any of these people had any wrongdoing, I'm sure the NCAA will investigate it in due time and if they did anything wrong, I am sure they'll get the appropriate punishment, which we would do if we had any internal problems in our organization. But we're going to continue to control and manage and monitor what we do in our organization and do it correctly and that's basically all we can be concerned about."
Stoutland was at practice Thursday performing his normal duties coaching the offensive line. UA has said in a release that it is aware of allegations that Stoutland and Pannunzio were named in the Yahoo Sports report but would have no further comment. UA officials also declined comment on whether either of the staff members had been contacted by the NCAA in the course of its investigation.
Two other former Miami assistant coaches named in the Yahoo Sports story, Clint Hurtt (now at Louisville) and Aubrey Hill (Florida), also continue to perform their coaching duties according to media reports from the two schools.
Duron Carter, the former Ohio State wide receiver who transferred to Alabama via Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College was not on the practice field for the Crimson Tide's 14th pre-season practice session on Thursday.
"We're still trying to get transcripts," Saban said. "We're hopeful we'll get them by the end of this week, but the week's running out."
While Duron Carter was absent from the Thursday practice, his father, former NFL wide receiver and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter, was in attendance, watching the practice from the sidelines of the UA indoor facility."
The Crimson Tide practiced indoors to take a break from what Saban called "the cumulative effect" of the August heat in Tuscaloosa.
"Yesterday was particularly hard on the players even though it was not the hottest day," Saban said. "I think it is the cumulative effect, so we decided to go inside today to give them a little better opportunity to be able to recover and not be in the heat. I thought being inside today helped us to improve our mental intensity and our ability to focus and actually practice a little bit better."
Three players missed time due to injuries, Saban said. Defensive lineman Brandon Ivory was out with what Saban called a "non-surgical" sprained knee. Offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio and defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick (leg contusion) are both expected to miss "a couple of days," Saban said.
WILLIAM VLACHOS, the Crimson Tide's senior center, spoke with media after practice, saying he was "looking forward" to Saturday's scheduled scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium because the UA offense "needs to get the running game going."
"I was only in for 60 or 70 percent of the last scrimmage because I was sick, so I'm looking forward to getting a full scrimmage under my belt ."
Vlachos said that teammate Barrett Jones "did a pretty good job" as a replacement center while Vlachos was out with illness.
"To come in on the fly like that, he had a pretty good grasp of the call and fronts," said Vlachos, who added with a laugh, "but not as good as me."
Vlachos was also asked about incoming freshman tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who has attracted much comment in camp.
"He's going to be a really special player," Vlachos said. "Sometimes, he looks like (former Ohio State and NFL star) Orlando Pace out there. And sometimes, he looks like a freshman."