Looking for Change

He's probably best known for a pair of mistakes rather than standout moments.

For the University of Alabama offense to keep humming the way it has over the first half of 2005, Ezekial Knight must change that perception.

While he won't be alone, Knight will be receiver Tyrone Prothro's main replacement when the No.6 Crimson Tide (5-0, 3-0) faces Ole Miss at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Fellow sophomores DJ Hall and Keith Brown will have extra responsibilities, but Knight will have much more playing time than he's used to. Prothro, the Tide's leading wideout, is out for the season after suffering an open compound fracture of his left leg in Alabama's rout of Florida.

"They're going to expect more out of me, more of the big catches I should have had in other games," Knight said. "I have to step up and make some catches. I'm getting more playing time."

On the season, Knight has five catches for 43 yards. But a pair of mistakes - a missed downed punt last year at Arkansas and a sure touchdown pass that bounced off his hands this year at South Carolina - have defined his career so far.

Senior quarterback Brodie Croyle said Knight suffered a confidence crisis after the South Carolina drop, but Tide Coach Mike Shula and Dave Rader said Knight was one of the biggest standouts during last week's open date practices.

Knight says he simply has to concentrate harder. "That was one of the biggest (drops),‰ he said of the South Carolina miss. "I should have had it. It was a lack of concentration. I‚m just going to have to focus more, and make some catches, bring the ball in."

Fellow sophomore receiver Matt Caddell (five catches, 83 yards) will also benefit from increased touches without Prothro. Both will play more complete three-down sets instead of spelling a tailback or fullback in long-yardage, third-down situations.

Freshman tight end Nick Walker, junior wideout Marcus McKnight, senior receiver Brandon Brooks and freshman wide receiver Will Oakley also might get more time in the offense. "It's going to take a couple (receivers) to step up," Knight said. "It's not just one person. We have other guys that are working hard, too. Some of them might have a chance, might get some more reps."


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