Photo report: Athletes back on the job

The calendar said late February, but the weather was more like mid-April. Under a bright sun that warmed the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields, the 2004 Crimson Tide officially began Spring Practice with a spirited workout. <br><br>A total of 104 athletes were on hand for Saturday's session.

(Above left) Even though Mike Shula is a veteran of one SEC campaign already, this marks his first spring practice as head coach at Alabama. After Saturday's workout, he pronounced himself pleased with his squad's effort, but he said that they had a long way to go in becoming a practiced team.


One of Alabama's newest athletes, Damien Jones catches the pass and turns upfield. After spending five seasons in Minor League Baseball, Jones is back in college, determined to make a place for himself on the Tide team. He was a star quarterback in high school, but Jones will work at receiver in college.


Redshirt sophomore Dominic Lee shows off some of his natural speed. One of several athletes to play as true freshmen last year, Lee is being counted on to be one of Bama's primary defensive tackles this spring.


Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader directs traffic. Also the Quarterbacks Coach, Rader is working with five athletes this spring: Spencer Pennington (#13, left), Brodie Croyle (#12 to Rader's right), Zac Golson (#17 to the far right) and (not pictured) Marc Guillon and Mike Machen.


Forced to sit out last season after dislocating his elbow, linebacker Cornelius Wortham was as anxious as anyone to get back to football Saturday. During his final season he'll work primarily at middle linebacker, though the Tide coaches plan to get him reps on the strongside as well.


As quarterback Spencer Pennington takes the "snap" in the background and turns to make the handoff, tight end David Cavan fires off the line. Both Pennington and Cavan are recovering from off-season surgery, Pennington on his shoulder and Cavan on his knee. Both will be limited during spring but will take part in as many non-contact drills as possible.


Two veteran stars won't be practicing this spring, but both Wesley Britt (#70) and Antonio Carter (#2) plan to be back at full speed in the fall. Carter and Britt have been helping out as unofficial coaches at practice. Here they get their conditioning in on the exercise bike under the supervision of Assistant Strength Coach Terry Jones.


The managers didn't get his helmet decal changed until after practice started, but quickly fullback/halfback Tim Castille was proudly sporting his new #19 at practice. Castille, who wore #29 last season as a true freshman, is wearing the number in honor of his father, Jeremiah Castille who starred at cornerback for the Tide.



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