Freshmen & more, photo report

There is no doubt that continuing NCAA sanctions have hurt, but so far at least the Tide coaches have managed to minimize their effects. <br><br>Despite sporting plenty of raw talent, most--though not all--of this year's signing class will be able to redshirt.

(Above left) Running backs coach Sparky Woods hands the ball off during practice drills. A former head coach and offensive coordinator, Woods is more than qualified for his current position on the Tide staff. Head Coach Mike Shula has often mentioned Woods as a man whose advice is valued.


Punter Patrick Eades (#14) talks to defensive tackle Dominic Lee (#96). Eades has shown very good potential, but he'll probably redshirt this season. Of course Lee has shown more than just potential, often holding his own versus Bama's best O-Linemen. The smart money says Lee will play this season.


Eric Johnson poses after practice. When he qualified late, Johnson was Bama's last signee this summer. Position Coach Chris Ball says Johnson is definitely a strong safety. Johnson played several sports in high school and was one of the top sprinters in the state, but with Bama's depth in the secondary he'll almost certainly redshirt.


Eric Gray (#36) stretches during squad warmups. Gray was rated the top pure cornerback prospect in the state last season, and his fall camp has borne that assessment out. Special Teams Coordinator Dave Ungerer would love to use Gray on several kicking game units, but the Tide staff may decide to hold him out due to the depth at defensive back.


Wallace Gilberry (#92) talks to Chris Harris (#91) during a break in practice. Gilberry did very well early on, and his coaches say there is little doubt he's going to be a good one. But he needs to develop physically and work on his technique versus the run, so a redshirt year is likely. For his part, Harris was limited by a bad ankle for much of fall camp. But he'll get a chance to earn playing time this season.


Another true freshman who could play if needed, Matt Caddell leaves the practice field after a particularly hot and brutal workout. Caddell could help at either receiver or in the return game, but depth at both positions point to a probable redshirt season.


Based on this photo at least, there is little doubt that Joe Kines is one of the most intense coaches on the Tide staff. As Defensive Coordinator Kines has had to shuffle his personnel, adjusting to the loss of linebackers Brooks Daniels and (temporarily) Cornelius Wortham.



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