Simeon Castille Ineligible

Alabama defensive back Simeon Castille did not meet the academic requirements required by football players on Southeastern Conference teams in order to participate in bowl games. As a result, the sophomore defensive back will not make the trip to Dallas for Bama's Cotton Bowl game against Texas Tech.

Alabama Coach Mike Shula announced following the Crimson Tide's Thursday practice that "Simeon Castille is not eligible by conference rules. Everyone else should make the trip."

Shula acknowledged that it is bad to lose a defensive back when preparing for a team like Texas Tech which has a diversified offense. In last year's bowl game, the Red Raiders threw 60 passes. "The other guys have to step up and play," Shula said. He said that would include a player like Eric Gray getting more repetitions.

Gray, a sophomore cornerback, had been counted on for much playing time in 2005, but suffered an injury midway through the season. Shula said Gray (5-11, 188) has been healthy for several weeks and "is going pretty good."

Jeffrey Dukes, a 6-2, 205-pound junior strong safety, is also projected for more work, particularly as a nickel back. Castille had been used much of the year as the nickel. In 2004, Dukes and Castille split time at nickel.

Shula also noted that Lionel Mitchell, a freshman cornerback who missed the last half of the season with severe headaches, is back working out, but said he would not play in the Cotton Bowl.

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