”It won’t be very long,” Shula said. “And we’ll have a couple of things geared towards South Florida.”
Alabama is nearing its season-opening game, which is a week from Saturday, August 30, against South Florida at Legion Field in Birmingham. Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. CDT with television coverage by ESPN.
Although Shula avoided the question, it’s likely that Alabama will use the West sidelines at its home games this year. Former Coach Dennis Franchione experimented with that in Birmingham against Middle Tennessee State last year and wanted to move to the West on all home games. Asked which sideline Alabama would use, Shula said, “The home team sideline.” He admitted he never thought about which sideline Alabama used when he was a player.
Alabama’s squad is getting a little larger. Bama had 105 in practices prior to the beginning of classes Wednesday. The squad is expected to grow to 125, probably by the middle of next week. Tailback Nic Luke, who many thought would transfer, and placekicker Mike McLaughlin were among those not brought in with the 105 who were on the field Thursday. Another kicker, Michael Ziifle, is in Tuscaloosa, but has not yet been added to the practice roster.
Luke and McLaughlin are scholarshipped players and Bama now has 79 players who are on scholarship. Because of NCAA sanctions Alabama is limited to 80 scholarshipped players. It is possible the final scholarship will be issued to a player currently working out.
Shula said, “We’re looking for guys who can help us win regardless of their role.” He said most of the added walk-ons would be on the scout team in the early going.
Shula said he has had much assistance from three members of his staff who are former college head coaches–Joe Kines, Dave Rader, and Sparky Woods. “I’d be foolish if I didn’t utilize the resources I have,” he said. “As an example, we have talked about what they did in their mock games. We talk a lot about Xs and Os, but we talk about a lot of little things, too. I had planned to talk to a lot of people this summer about these details, and I didn’t have to do as much of that because of Joe and Dave and Sparky.
Bama was out in full gear for about two hours Thursday. Fullback Greg McLain, who has missed some work, was dressed out. However, wide receiver Antonio Carter, offensive lineman Travis West, and defensive tackles Ahmad Childress and Kyle Tatum were held out.