For one night only, Dave Rader will be calling the shots on offense.

Rader, a former head coach at Tulsa from 1988-99, has been Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past four seasons, but head coach Mike Shula always handled the play-calling responsibility.

Shula was fired on Nov. 26 — leaving the offensive playbook in Rader’s hands Thursday as the Crimson Tide faces Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Rader said at last week’s media luncheon that he hasn’t been in charge of play-calling since his Golden Hurricane days.

“It’s going to be different because (Shula) is not here,” Rader added. “He was excellent — I’m telling you, excellent — at setting things up and following through. But now, all the plays are going to be coming across my sheet of paper and I want to be an excellent play-caller for this team.”

With Rader leading the charge, one has to wonder: what changes will occur in the plan of attack?

“We’re adding a little more to our running schemes now,” said UA running back Kenneth Darby. “(Rader) can change his mind all of a sudden, but as far as I can see, we’re going to run more.”

The Crimson Tide (6-6) ranked eighth in the Southeastern Conference in rushing this year, gaining 124.3 yards per game. Darby has started in all 12 games at tailback and leads UA with 68.3 yards per contest, but hasn’t scored a touchdown all season.

The passing game has been Alabama’s bread and butter. Sophomore quarterback John Parker Wilson has a 57.2 completion rate and has thrown for 2,539 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, making him the fourth-leading passer in the SEC.

The Crimson Tide put up 216.6 yards in the air per game — which ranks sixth in the conference. Wilson’s main target has been junior receiver D.J. Hall, who has caught 57 passes for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Hall sprained the AC joint in his shoulder while diving for a ball against then-No. 5 Florida on Oct. 1, and despite the injury, he recorded 100-yard receiving games in the six of the last eight weeks of the regular season.

Will Rader’s game plan Thursday involve an adequate amount of passing?

“We have to throw it some, but we can’t throw it a whole lot,” Rader said. “We have to really consider how we are with our quarterback situation and how (the Cowboys) hit the quarterback. We can’t expose (Wilson) a lot.”

Wilson added, “We’ve still got the same playbook, the same philosophy I guess. This is the first time Coach Rader will be calling the plays since he got (to Tuscaloosa). It will be interesting to see ... I can’t wait to get out there and run what he’s calling.”

It is unlikely that Rader will remain at Alabama once a new head coach is hired, and he said he has no reason to hold anything back against O-State (6-6).

“There is no next week,” Rader added. “You can pretty much do what you want to do. We are who we are, and we know the plays we know. But it’s always fun to see the plays we can come up with. I like how we’re going to attack.”

Hall added, “Coach Rader’s a big-play kind of guy. You can guarantee some big plays are going to be called (Thursday).”

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