First day of Fall Camp: Football Notebook

After reporting in and taking care of their paperwork and medical requirements Wednesday, this morning the veteran Tide players joined the newcomers for the first day of Fall Camp. NCAA rules limit each team to only 105 athletes, and in the case of schools like Alabama that always means some deserving players get left off. Thankfully for Tide fans, defensive end Nautyn McKay-Loescher, who strained his back recently, was able to take part in practice drills.

McKay-Loescher finished spring as a top backup at defensive end and is expected to play a key role in the D-Line rotation for Alabama. Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione said yesterday that McKay-Loescher would be slowed somewhat in early drills, but he should be fine in plenty of time for UCLA.

Other athletes working with McKay-Loescher at defensive end this morning were Kindal Moorehead, Kenny King, Aries Monroe, Antwan Odom, Mark Anderson and T.J. Shaddix.

Safety Tyler Harris

One player that would have been participating were it not for injury was safety Tyler Harris, who unfortunately is nursing a sore shoulder. A speedy safety out of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, Harris has been plagued with shoulder problems since first arriving on campus. Surgery has been required in the past, and he's obviously still having problems. The coaches hope he will be OK after some rest and rehab, but it's not known how much time he will need. At this point no decision has been made on whether or not to replace Harris on the 105-man roster.

Shawn Oglesby last spring.

As Franchione announced yesterday, defensive end Shawn Oglesby was unable to make the progress necessary during summer term to remain eligible. Oglesby was frankly one of those players that got far behind academically last fall, when discipline (especially in regard to class attendance) was ignored by several team members. However, the Owensboro, Kentucky native responded well to the new staff and actually had an excellent spring, emerging as a likely member of the playing rotation.

Oglesby is moving back to California where he attended junior college to be closer to his two small children and take classes. The plan is for him to get his academic house in order and rejoin the Alabama team in 2002. Though he fell just short of maintaining his eligibility, Oglesby's work over the last several months was good enough to impress Franchione. And despite the fact that he will have only one year of football eligibility left, Oglesby will be welcomed back if he becomes academically eligible.

Michael Ziifle punts at A-Day (his jersey number is now #35).

One player participating proudly this morning was redshirt freshman kicker Michael Ziifle. Sporting a new jersey number (35) and a better-conditioned body, Ziifle is one of only two punters on the 105-man roster. Since it was thought he finished spring no worse than No. 2 at the kickoff slot, Ziifle has a chance to be the backup at all three kicking jobs: punter, placekicker and kickoffs.

And of course the former prep soccer star has a better-than-average chance to win the kickoff job outright, which would guarantee him a spot on the traveling squad. Obviously Ziifle's versatility in being able to handle all three jobs could make him quite valuable to the squad.

Defensive tackle Gerard Clark

With Alabama currently thin at defensive tackle, it was interesting to note that former high school all-star Gerard Clark was working with the tackle group. Listed at 6-6, 246 pounds, Clark has the size to play either inside or out along the line. But since the Tide is loaded at defensive end, Clark's best chance for playing time this season probably lies at tackle. Other athletes working on the inside this morning were Jarrett Johnson, David Daniel, Anthony Bryant, Derek Sanders, Allen Hollie and Rhodie Larson.

Franchione said today that every player on scholarship was a part of the 105-man roster, but obviously several walk-ons that were mentioned some during spring had to be left off the list. Assuming they are still enrolled at Alabama, these athletes can join the squad when classes begin. But NCAA rules will force them to wait until that point.

Among the players left off (many of whom were listed on the post-spring depth chart) were placekicker Brian Bostick, cornerbacks Richard Randolph and Ty Tyrus, fullbacks Rob Saucier and Jason Williams, deep snappers David Hardin and Mitch Grissett, defensive tackle David Voyles and wide receiver Stephen Moore.

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