Saban announces schollys, position changes

Julio Jones

After reviewing the film of Saturday's second full-scale scrimmage, Alabama coach Nick Saban was happy, for the most part. He said corrections have been made on the mistakes made during the workout and said another position change is being tried experimentally.


"We made a list position by position on what needed improving. I think we were more aggressive. We were more physical on both sides of the ball," said coach Saban. "We played with more toughness."

"I was pleased with the effort, the intensity and the improvement we made from the first scrimmage to the second. I was pleased with the way the young players improved. I think a lot of it (early on) was anxiety."

Coach Saban added that the team will continue fundamental work through Wednesday, and that Thursday, the focus will move to Clemson, which Alabama opens with August 30.

On the injury front, sophomore linebacker Charlie Higgenbotham is still out with a groin pull.

Position-wise, redshirt freshman defensive end Alfred McCullough is getting work at offensive guard.

"We see him as maybe one of the top 50 or 60 guys on the team," said coach Saban. "He's an instinctive football player. He's got explosive quickness. This is strictly experimental."

Coach Saban cited center Brian Motley as an example of a defensive player who has successfully switched to the offensive line.

Freshman Chris Jordan is still at linebacker after starting out as a running back. Pre-practice observers noted LB Corey Reamer was back on the inside. Coach Saban said the junior from Hoover will get work at both the Sam and Will linebacker slots for the rest of camp.

"I think we've got to play our best 11 players. He did a nice job (at Sam) Saturday, and it gave us a chance to get our best 11 players on the field," he said.

Three Crimson Tide walk-on players have earned full athletic scholarships, coach Saban said, naming defensive back Tyrone King, kicker Leigh Tiffin and punter P.J. Fitzgerald.

"(King) played a lot last year on special teams He's been second team in the secondary all through spring and also in the fall," he said. "This is a message to all players who want to walk on. We are happy and pleased that we were able to reward these guys for their effort and contributions to the team."

One aspect of the scrimmage that Saban liked was the continued development of Jack linebacker Brandon Fanney, who had four sacks Saturday.

"I think that position is a position that we'd like to have a feature player for," said coach Saban, who noted that All-Pro Jason Taylor manned that slot the two years Saban spent in Miami.

"Fanney's got size. He's got a much better understanding of what he's got to do. He was very productive in the scrimmage. We hope that he continues his development," he explained.

Injured receiver Will Oakley will return with the team Wednesday when the squad expands by another 20 or so players. Coach Saban reiterated it was better for Oakley to rehab while the team had another set of legs to run routes.

"We'll take the next month and see how he develops, before we make a decision on how we are going to handle him.. We want him to be a part of our team," he stated.

With Oakley back, how many receivers will make up Alabama's rotation on game day?

"I think Mike McCoy and Julio Jones have probably played the most consistently," coach Saban said. "Marquis Maze flashes great speed and is a playmaker. B.J. Scott is right there with him."

Coach Saban said he is looking for more consistency from Darius Hanks and Earl Alexander.

Saturday, Saban mentioned that Jordan was one freshman who would likely have a role on kick coverage. Are there others?

"We're going to have to determine eight to 10 freshmen who will have some kind of role on our team," he said. "If these guys are back-up players, we're probably going to play them on special teams. We're going to have to make that determination."

"They may make some mistakes early, but in the long run it will help our team."

Coach Saban said no decision has been made on the number of players who will travel to the Clemson game.

Asked about the video from Saturday's closed workout that leaked to the internet of a Julio Jones touchdown catch, coach Saban said, "Maybe you ought to ask the guy that leaked them out. We got on the internet to see if we could see some plays from Clemson's scrimmage, and we didn't see any. You don't want to advertise on the internet, which is just like TV, what you're doing."

Coach Saban added that he felt the video leak was an honest mistake.

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