Johns' Return Heightens 'Bama's Tailback Competition

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - For Alabama fans waiting to see who the starting tailback is, Glen Coffee has some advice.

Be patient.

Coffee is among the contenders to replace Kenneth Darby as the Crimson Tide's top runner but said it's possible the starter will remain unknown "until the first play of the first game."

Coach Nick Saban said after last Friday's scrimmage the race was "wide open," and there are several potential winners.

Jimmy Johns, Darby's top backup last season, returned to practice Tuesday after missing two workouts, including the scrimmage, for academic reasons.

Johns, who remained unable to participate in full-contact work with a wrist injury, rejoined Coffee, Terry Grant, Roy Upchurch and freshman Jamar Taylor in the backfield.

Coffee and Grant both said they like having all the competition because it motivates them to play their best.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)