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December 20, 2012TUSCALOOSA | Alabama defensive backs coach Jeremy Pruitt's career move to become the Florida State defensive coordinator was announced officially on Thursday, but UA coach Nick Saban offered few hints as to his timetable for hiring a replacement.
"We might talk to some people. They might come to practice, watch practice. We don't have a lot of time to talk to them or really interview them, so when we find the right guy we'll hire them," Saban said. "If we find him before Christmas, we'll hire him. If we find him after, we'll hire him. If we find him after the game we'll hire him."
The Crimson Tide will hold two more practices before taking a three-day break for the Christmas holiday, then resume practices on campus before departing for Miami, the BCS title game's host city, on Jan. 2. UA safety Robert Lester said he was happy for Pruitt, who has served as Lester's position coach throughout his career as a starter.
"He's done a lot for me as a player," Lester said. "He got a chance to move on to bigger and better things in his career, and I'm glad for him."
While Saban would not rule out a pre-Christmas hire for the vacancy, he did indicate that full focus on the proper hire could be difficult before the national championship game.
"I don't know that we're going to be able to prepare ourselves and go through the due diligence that we like to go through before thsi game is over," he said.
Pruitt will remain with Alabama through the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame on Jan. 7.
UA linebacker Denzel Devall sprained his knee at Wednesday's practice and did not participate at Thursday's practice. Saban called Devall "day to day" with the injury, and said the freshman linebacker is "by no means" ruled out for the BCS title game against Notre Dame.
"It's really unfortunate the way it happened. I've been coaching for a long time and never really had anybody get hurt on the field goal block," Saban said. "He was playing wing and somebody fell and just hit his leg a little bit and he got a sprained knee."
Saban said Devall likely will not practice again until after the Christmas break. Defensive end D.J. Pettway practiced with outside linebackers on Thursday, though it is unclear whether that move was related to Devall's injury. Defensive end Damion Square said Pettway is well-suited to the Jack position, which Square at one time tried himself.
"He's the kind of guy who could handle that," Square said. "A quick-twitch (muscle) guy who can move his feet well."
Rehab trio looks to spring
Three Alabama players rehabbing season-ending knee injuries -- Jalston Fowler, DeAndrew White and Dee Hart -- should be able to participate in spring practice "to some degree", Saban said.
Each sustained a season-ending knee injury at different points in the regular season.
"You need about four or five months and a guy can be doing just about everything. Not that he's going to be 100 percent ready to play football," Saban said. "For these guys that's going to be when the offseason program starts. They're going to have another month of offseason program to try to get ready for spring practice. I'm sure that each and every one of them to some degree will be ready to participate in spring practice."
Alabama safety Robert Lester and nose guard Jesse Williams confirmed that they have been invited to the Senior Bowl, but while Lester said he has accepted the invitation, Williams is undecided. Center Barrett Jones said he has not yet received an invitation. The Senior Bowl's official twitter feed confirmed that UA linebacker Nico Johnson will play in the game as well.
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.