Defender May Be Running Routes

Is it possible that a well-documented tackle in Columbia, Mo., last fall has done more damage to the perpetrator than to the victim? It's possible that the Alabama defender is going to make a move to offense according to the local rumor mill.

Late in last year's Alabama romp, 42-10, over Missouri, the Crimson Tide had made wholesale substitutions, including LaMichael Fanning at defensive end. The Tigers, too, had back-up players in the game, including tailback Russell Hansbrough.

In what Alabama Coach Nick Saban would call "a bad decision" on the part of Fanning, the 6-7, 270-pound redshirt freshman snatched the 5-9, 185-pound freshman Hansbrough, lifted him up, and slammed him to the turf. Unquestionably, it was a dangerous situation, although there was not an injury on the play.

Fanning did not make another tackle in the season, although he played in a few more games.

Fanning, now an upcoming sophomore, was at defensive end in spring practice, but there have been unsubstantiated reports that he is working with the offense in summer pass skel work – the off-season drills in which quarterbacks work with backs and receivers against defensive backs and linebackers.

Fanning is reportedly getting repetitions with the tight ends.

Saban has reiterated with every experiment that a player working at a new position does not mean that the player is being moved. The Tide coach likes to look at players in different positions in the event help is needed at a later point. If a defensive end needs to move to tight end midway through the season, there is an obvious advantage for that player (and the team) if he has had an introduction to the position earlier.

Alabama summer workouts are not open to the media or the public, so the rumor of Fanning – ranked the nation's 25th best defensive end when he came out of Harris County High in Hamilton, Ga., following the 2010 season – working at tight end is just a rumor.

He made four tackles in eight games last year.

In the A-Day Game, Fanning lined up with the second defense, behind Jeoffrey Pagan (6-4, 290).

Alabama uses a number of tight ends in its offense, including one or two on-the-line types and an H-back/fullback type. Among those in contention for jobs at the tight end positions are Brian Vogler (6-7, 260), Malcolm Faciane (6-5, 267), Kurt Frietag (6-4, 235), O.J. Howard (6-6, 237), Jalston Fowler (6-1, 250), Harrison Jones (6-4, 241), and Corey McCarron (6-2, 238).

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