Photo report: Newcomers' 1st Bama practice

Totaling only 20 athletes in all (including walk-ons), Dennis Franchione's first group of Tide newcomers isn't the largest class around, but to a man they're determined to make the most of their opportunity. With players like Freddie Roach, Charlie Peprah, Todd Bates, Spencer Pennington, Clint Johnston, Mike McLaughlin and Donald Clarke; the numbers may not be high, but the athletic ability is clearly there.

Spencer Pennington (#13) fakes the hand off to Marquez Dupree (#22). Pennington, who reported several weeks ago to begin working out early, has impressed both coaches and teammates with his ability. With all the veteran talent ahead of him, it's still thought likely that the multi-sport star will redshirt this season, but he has shown excellent size, a strong arm and what Franchione calls a 'Quarterback's Presence.'

Roman Harper (#41) works on his backpedal under the watchful eye of Cornerbacks Coach Chris Thurmond as Anthony Madison (#38) and Charlie Peprah (#26) look on. Coach Franchione noted that Harper and Madison will probablly stay at corner, while the versatile Peprah should work extensively at safety as well.

Donald Clarke (#93) waits for the snap with Shaud Williams (#21) lined up to his left. Clarke is a junior college transfer who redshirted last season, leaving the big tight end with three years of eligibility left at Alabama. For his part, Williams transferred in from Texas Tech (he had been the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year). Due to NCAA rules, Williams must sit out this season, but Franchione wanted him to report right away to become a member of the squad as quickly as possible.

Dennis Franchione confers with Charley North during practice. The new Tide Head Coach was clearly anxious to get practice underway, explaining that he and his staff had only just begun the teaching process with the team. In the background are strong linebacker Matt McMullin (#50) and defensive end Mark Anderson (#47).

If the photo gives you the idea that Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Carl Torbush spent a lot of time teaching and coaching Freddie Roach, you'd be correct. Torbush has said that the freshman out of Killen is as good a linebacking prospect as he has scouted, and Roach is expected to get every chance to work his way into the playing rotation as a true freshman.

The rest of the squad doesn't officially report until Wednesday, but with summer school still in session several veteran players were on hand to check out their new teammates. If it's possible, sophomore Dennis Alexander (pointing) appears to have gotten even bigger shoulder-to-shoulder as a result of the off-season strength program, while at the same time dropping weight around his waist. Looking on are junior Atlas Herrion and O-Line Coach Jim Bob Helduser.

As the only wide receiver reporting in this freshman class, Brandon Brooks (#83) got far more than his share of individual attention from Receivers Coach Kenny Pope. At 5-4, Brooks is undersized at wideout, but his speed and quickness could be ideally suited for the role of kick returner.

Along with the scholarshipped athletes, three invited walk-ons also took part in their first Tide practice Monday. Here, deep snapper Boone Stutz (#61) out of Arlington, Texas works with Graduate Assistant Mike Bloomgren on his technique for getting off the line and down the field as quickly as possible to cover the punt.

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