Castille's role set to increase

With the emergence last week of Tim Castille as a running threat, both fans and coaches feel better about Bama's offensive future. <br><br>"We gave Tim the ball twice, so that was different," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said. "Other than Le'Ron McClain's one carry (earlier in the year), those were the first fullback runs."

Castille has played in eight of Bama's nine games this season, but prior to Saturday he was used exclusive as a blocker and receiver. Against Tennessee he carried the football twice, scoring one touchdown on a 12-yard run.

"We put that play in last week," Castille explained. "Previously we hadn't run the ball out of that formation. Tennessee had the linebacker up close. There was nothing behind him. Le' Ron gave me a clue. On my run earlier in the game, he said that if I had cut right I would have scored then, too.

"I took the handoff, hit the hole and cut right. And it was a touchdown."

Tim Castille leaps over a would-be tackler in Saturday's game. (Barry Fikes photo)

A star tailback in high school, Castille has been playing fullback this season to help the team. So Mike Shula knew he could carry the football.

"It was just a draw," Shula said of the formation. "We ran the same play twice. It was just a draw play out of a passing set. Tim carried the ball a lot in high school and was very productive as a halfback. And he was a receiver when he first started in high school."

Alabama's offense continues to be a work in progress, but clearly Castille's role is set to increase. "We put a couple of running plays in for me last week," Castille revealed. "You never know how that's going to go. The coaches called the plays (Saturday) and they worked. I got my first two carries in college. That was fun, but I just wish I could have contributed a little bit more and helped get the ‘W.'"

For the season Castille now has 15 yards rushing from his two carries Saturday. He's also caught 16 passes for 104 yards, fourth-best on the squad.

"Saturday was probably the best we've seen from Tim," Shula said. "He's had a couple of other good games. He played well early before he got hurt. Him carrying the ball was a good changeup. Now he'll have more confidence, and we do, too."

Generally considered the top tailback prospect in the state last year, Castille had 1,183 rushing/receiving yards as a senior, scoring 10 touchdowns. With Saturday's performance he hopes the Tide coaches are planning a larger role for him in the offense.

"I believe the coaches are trusting me more," Castille said. "Now I'm getting the ball in my hands a little more. I'm trying to just have fun."

"We're going to be able to use him in more ways than just as a blocking fullback or a guy catching the ball," Shula promised. "Maybe not now, but eventually when Tim gets real familiar with what we're doing."

Playing for Briarwood Christian in high school, Castille didn't experience many losses. This season has been tough on him, especially Saturday's five-overtime affair.

"There were three or four times at least I thought ‘We're going to win this game,'" Castille said. "We pinned them back late in the fourth (quarter), then they drove down and scored. When Tyrone Prothro had his great return, I though we were going to kick the field goal. We had a lot of chances. We've just got to finish.

"We've got to learn how to finish."

With his father Jeremiah Castille watching in the left background, Tim carries the football against UT. (Barry Fikes photo)

Before the season Castille knew that Tennessee was a rivalry game, but actual experience has shown him its importance. "I have a different perspective now," he admitted. "They played ‘Rocky Top' at practice. You really learn not to like that team. The players are okay, but as a team you don't like Tennessee coming in. It hurt to lose to them."

How do you recover from such a tough loss?

"You just go to sleep and try to get over it," Castille replied. "We didn't have a game this week, so the loss motivated us to work hard in practice. We used the loss as motivation to get ready for Mississippi State."

Despite Saturday's disappointing result, Shula knows he's got a player he can count on in future seasons.

"It'll be interesting to see if there is a ever a more mature freshman that I'll coach," Shula said of Castille. "That's been the biggest thing. He's a quiet guy, who just goes about his job. He's been a leader."

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