Castille Gets A Lesson

Mike Shula gave Tim Castille a little lesson in "Be careful what you wish for" at Alabama's football practice Tuesday. Castille, who was Bama's starting fullback as a freshman last fall, had been a tailback before coming to Alabama and longs to return to that glamour running position. Shula said Castille got some work at tailback Tuesday. "And then," Shula said with a laugh, "we called a play where the ball went to the fullback, and Le'Ron McClain got the carry."

The workout was the second of 15 spring practice dates and also the second mandated non-contact day to start spring training. The Tide worked for a little over two hours, including a rigorous final period of conditioning in the indoor facility. "The rain held off so we were able to get in Day Two with our practice outdoors," Alabama Coach Mike Shula said."We'll continue to look for more consistency. It's particularly important in the spring to have consistency in the fundamentals when we have these individual periods."

Alabama returns to the practice field Thursday in full gear and will also practice Friday in shorts and shoulder pads and Saturday in full gear. However, there will be no scrimmage this week, although there will be some 11-on-11 work during the practices. Spring practice will conclude with the annual A-Day Game on March 20.

Shula said that Tim Castille (5-11, 231) is getting a good look at fullback. "He's got some power, more size than Ray Hudson and Kenneth Darby (both 5-10, 202). We think Tim is going to be one of our best 22 players and we've got to find a place for him. If (fullback) Le'Ron McClain is one of the top 22, then we may play them together in a big backfield."

Castille had only eight carries last season as he played almost exclusively at fullback. He gained 33 yards, and scored two touchdowns on those few carries. He also caught 21 passes for 129 yards.

The Tide coach said that Nic Luke (6-1, 224) had "a good off-season, and he's getting a look at tailback and at fullback."

Hudson and Castille were players who came in for praise following the practice. Shula mentioned quarterback Brodie Croyle, wide receiver Tyrone Prothro, and Hudson and Castille on offense and cornerback Ramzee Robinson ("He had two interceptions") and linebacker Juwan Garth on defense. He said, "Juwan is so talented, and now he's getting into good shape and his comfort level is higher."

Shula said that when full contact work begins, "We'll have to be smart with Brodie. But like everyone, he's got a lot to do. At that position you have to have consistency, and there is so much to learn."

Tight end David Cavan, who had late-season knee surgery, and middle linebacker Earnest Nance, who has not played since suffered a knee injury in his senior year of high school in 2001, are participating in individual work, but will not take part in team contact drills. Shula announced that tight end Greg McLain, who has missed work over the past couple of years with concussion problems, will miss spring practice. However, the reason is not related to his previous injuries. He injured his elbow and underwent surgery. Offensive tackle Justin Moon missed Tuesday's practice because of illness.

Shula said that defensive end Todd Bates has shown great leadership over the past few months. Bates was forced to miss a season of competition because of his use of a health store product containing a banned substance. "He knew he couldn't play, but he came to work every day and did a great job of giving the offense a look," Shula said. "That's great leadership. The young guys really looked up to him for that. And now he's getting ready to play, and you can tell he's hungry."

The offensive line has had a shakeup this spring with a few offensive linemen changing positions and a couple of defensive linemen moving to the offensive front. Shula indicated this could be a tough spring for that group with those changes and because "we've added some more stuff."


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