Tide Receivers Are a Hot Topic

Redshirt freshman Will Roach went through Alabama spring football practice relatively unnoticed at receiver, and for good reason. Roach was going through spring drills with a ligament tear in his shoulder. He said that his injury was much like Brodie Croyle's shoulder injury. Roach said he underwent surgery on Monday after the Tide's A-Day game.

"I'm healed and about to get back into pass skel by the end of July (or) first of August," he said. Will Roach also said that he his currently lifting weights and participating in workouts with the Alabama squad. Roach will have to work hard to catch up with the other receivers, but he has no plans to change positions.

Antonio Carter's unyielding optimism over the past two seasons just might pay off for the sixth-year senior this coming fall. Carter has indeed been running routes full speed on a limited basis this summer.

"A.C." is taking a slow but steady approach in his return bid after missing two full seasons with complications resulting from a broken leg, and almost no one would suggest that Carter will return to the form he showed when healthy three years ago. But any significant on-the-field contributions from Carter this season will make his amazing comeback story complete.

Junior Matt Miller is a good "sleeper" pick to see a lot of action in Alabama's receiving rotation this year. At 6-3, 195, Miller looks to be in the best shape of his career. He runs precise routes and has shown soft hands in the spring and summer.

Redshirt freshman Matt Caddell echoed the comments of many of his fellow players regarding off-season workouts. "I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been in," he said. "I'm just trying to become a complete player and be someone the coaching staff can count on in a game. I'm getting better in the weight room and working on running routes. I'm more confident in myself."

Caddell has seen incoming freshmen receivers Keith Brown and D.J. Hall in action running routes since their recent arrival on campus. "They're really good," he said. "They just have to work on the little things like everyone else." Brown's biggest challenge will be to add strength so he doesn't get dominated by a more physical cornerback.

Fellow newcomer Will Oakley has been in Tuscaloosa getting a jump on academics and athletics before the official August report date. Oakley, a Ponte Vedra, Fla. Native, had over 1,300 receiving yards for Nease High School in his senior year.

Oakley is a bit smaller than Hall and Brown, but he might be every bit as athletic as the other two Florida receivers, and with a nose for finding the ball.

Brown, Hall and Oakley will have to overcome the steep learning curve before they're ready to play, however, much like Tyrone Prothro faced as a true freshman a year ago. Prothro's first playing time came in the Tide's fifth game a year ago versus Arkansas before he became a contributor at receiver.

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