When cornerback Simeon Castille was declared academically ineligible, it dropped by one the number of Alabama players with bowl experience who had been expected to play against Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. On the other hand, the dismissal of running back Aaron Johns did not have an effect on the number of Bama bowl veterans expected to play against the Red Raiders because Johns had been held out of action this year. Johns actually started in last year's Music City Bowl.
In last year's Music City Bowl, Alabama played 56 players, including 15 men who completed their eligibility following last season. The Tide returns 14 healthy men who started in the Music City Bowl, and 13 of those are expected to start in the Cotton Bowl.
Returning offensive starters are right tackle Kyle Tatum, wide receivers D.J. Hall and Matt Caddell, fullback Le'Ron McClain, and tight end Greg McLain. J.B. Closner started at center and is on the team, but will not play because he suffered a broken leg during the season.
McClain scored a touchdown on the Tide's first play of the Music City Bowl against Minnesota, catching a two-yard pass from Spencer Pennington. He later scored on a one-yard run for the other Tide touchdown and is the only Alabama player who has scored in a bowl game.
Nine men who started on defense against Minnesota in the Music City Bowl in Nashville are expected to start for Bama in the Cotton Bowl against Texas Tech. They are end Mark Anderson, tackles Rudy Griffin and Jeremy Clark, linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Freddie Roach, cornerbacks Ramzee Robinson and Anthony Madison, strong safety Charlie Peprah, and safety Roman Harper.
Tyrone Prothro played in last year's bowl game, but will not participate this year because he, too, suffered a broken leg during the season. Defensive tackle Justin Britt played last yer, but is out after having undergone post-season shoulder surgery. Tight end Trent Davidson played against Minnesota, but has not played this season as he continues to mend from foot surgery.
Others on this year's squad who played in last year's Music City Bowl and who are expected to play against Texas Tech are halfback Kenneth Darby; wide receivers Keith Brown, Ezekial Knight, and Matt Miller; fullback Kyle Bennett; defensive ends Wallace Gilberry, Chris Harris, and Keith Saunders; linebackers Juwan Simpson, Terrence Jones, Demarcus Waldrop, Matt Collins, Juke King, and Marcel Stamps; defensive backs Eric Gray, Marcus Carter, Justin Ballard, and Jeffrey Dukes; placekicker Jamie Christensen; punter Jeremy Schatz; and snapper Drew Lane.
Key Tiders on last year's roster who were unable to play in the Music City Bowl because of injuries included quarterback Brodie Croyle and fullback Tim Castille, both of whom will play this season. Starting left tackle Chris Capps was suspended last year, when he was ticketed to back up Wesley Britt at left tackle.
Alabama and Texas Tech will meet for the first time when the Crimson Tide and Red Raiders square off in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on January 2, 2006. Kickoff will be at 10 a.m. CST with national television coverage by Fox.