(Above left) It takes more than just physical ability to excel at cornerback. Based on his talent many predict Eric Gray (#36) will be Bama's next all-star cornerback, but right now he's adjusting to playing SEC football. Here he chases Brandon Brooks (#5)--a futile proposition--after the veteran receiver got a step on him out of the break.
"Ragged" is probably an accurate word to describe Bama's top offensive linemen right now. Right tackle Kyle Tatum (#58) played defense last year. Right guard Danny Martz (#79) got his first significant playing time just last season--his fourth year on campus. Left guard Evan Mathis has moved from right tackle, where he's played for the past three seasons. And left tackle Chris Capps has never taken a snap in a college game. Only center J.B. Closner (#74) is a returning starter at the same position. But spring is the time to work those kinks out, and that's precisely what the athletes are trying to do.
Taking a break from his preparation for the upcoming NFL draft, Triandos Luke was at practice Tuesday. Here he talks with Cornelius Wortham (#16). Four and a half years ago Luke and Wortham arrived at Alabama together.
Like Spencer Pennington, starting quarterback Brodie Croyle (#12) is also recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. In better shape health-wise now than he was during the season, Croyle has thrown the ball well, showing good touch and improving accuracy. On one 7-on-7 play yesterday, everyone appeared covered, but Croyle hung in and delivered a perfectly thrown bullet to tight end Clint Johnston over the middle in traffic. Johnston really wasn't open, but Croyle made the defense pay anyway.
For Tide fans, there is probably no more welcome sight at practice than big Anthony Bryant. Academic worries almost led him to declare for the NFL draft, but he's still in school and on-track to earn back his final year of eligibility by graduating before the start of the 2004 season. Bryant hasn't yet achieved all-star status, but at worst he's a proven player at defensive tackle for the Tide. At best? The sky's the limit.
Bama's coaches are looking for receivers they can count on to replace the five graduated wideouts off last year's squad. Walk-on Matt Miller (#37) is making the most of his chance this spring, hoping to prove he's capable of contributing. A converted quarterback, Miller provides a fairly big target and good hands. He's being chased by Kyle Bennett (#23), who has run out of one shoe.
The defense turned in several picks Tuesday. Here, Freddie Roach (#8) and Anthony Madison (#9) celebrate one of two turned in by back-up corner Ramzee Robinson. Linebacker Juwan Garth also got his own diving interception.
The new construction on Bama's Football Complex is essentially finished, but that just means that frenzied activity has now shifted to the original structure. Here you can see the previous entrance completely gutted. A new entry way, complete with curved staircase leading upstairs, is being constructed. Look closely and you can see that except for weight-bearing walls, the entire first-floor interior has been torn out.