(Above left) Pursuing his main summer goal of losing weight and increasing his conditioning, Ahmad Childress puts in extra work every day on the exercise bike and several other "torture" machines in the Alabama weight room. Childress finished spring practice as Bama's most effective defensive tackle.
With the departure of Alonzo Ephraim to pro football, J.B. Closner becomes one of the most important young players on the squad. He worked last year in a backup role, but in 2003 Closner will take over the crucial center position. Responsible for calling the blocking schemes on every down, the center has to be smart. But according to his coach Closner is also one of the most competitive players on the squad.
With depth at a premium on the offensive line, senior Atlas Herrion simply must stay healthy. Herrion redshirted in 2002, which now looks to have been a wise decision. He'll enter fall as Alabama's first man off the bench at both guard and tackle. But don't be surprised if Herrion claims one of the starting jobs for himself.
Demeco Ryans (right) and Leslie Williams (left) share a joke in the weight room. One of only two true freshmen to see action last season, Ryans earned the Iron Man Trophy as the strongest player pound-for-pound in his weight class. He can play any of the three linebacker positions, but Ryans will enter fall as the principal backup on the strongside. Williams, of course, will be one of the first players off the bench at defensive end.
Mark Anderson works on the flat bench press. Having moved from linebacker to defensive end this spring, adding strength and bulk is Anderson's main goal this summer. Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines called the move "the best decision we made all spring." Anderson, Williams, Chris Harris and Jonathan Brunson will be Bama's reserve D-Ends this season.
Closner (left), Wesley Britt (center left) and Justin Smiley (center right) talk with Head Strength Coach Ben Pollard. Heading into the season many pundits rate the Tide O-Line as the best in the conference.