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February 21, 2013

Groh out, Napier in

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama wide receivers coach Mike Groh has accepted a position coaching with the NFL's Chicago Bears, Tidesports.com has confirmed, and Florida State assistant coach Billy Napier is expected to be named as his replacement.

UA has not confirmed either Groh's departure, or the addition of Napier.

Groh had been Alabama's wide receivers coach for two seasons. Napier's time with Florida State was far shorter, having just been hired to coach the Seminoles' tight ends a month ago. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator at Colorado State under former UA offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

Napier worked under McElwain in 2011 at Alabama as an offensive quality control assistant.

Last season under Napier, Colorado State's offense averaged 339 yards per game, ranking 100th in the nation in McElwain's first season as coach of a struggling program.

It is unclear whether Napier will inherit Groh's exact role, or if UA coach Nick Saban will shuffle duties on his staff. Bobby Williams has been Alabama's tight ends coach since 2008.

Alabama enters the 2013 season with three new assistants: Napier, newly-hired offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, and defensive backs coach Greg Brown.

In 2010 at Clemson, Napier became college football's youngest offensive coordinator at age 31, but was dismissed after the season by Tigers coach Dabo Swinney, a former Alabama player. He had been a Clemson assistant since 2006.

Rivals.com named Groh its 2013 Recruiter of the Year among assistant coaches after national signing day. Bears coach Marc Trestman's only staff vacancy is for a wide receivers coach.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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