A Few Changes

Alabama spring football practice begins in just over a week, on Friday, February 24. The athletics department has a depth chart available, though it is called a "tentative" depth chart, as well it should There is no time like the spring for experimentation.

Alabama Coach Mike Shula is reluctant to discuss possible position changes, particularly during recruiting. That is understandable. If Joe Hotshot was a flanker on the fall roster and the staff plans to work him at safety in the spring, coaches don't want that information out. That's because recruiting opponents will show prospective flankers that Joe Hotshot is coming back and the recruiters at other schools will show safety prospects that Joe Hotshot is on the depth chart at safety.

But with recruiting safely concluded for another year, there are a few notable changes.

There had been some talk about Ezekial Knight being moved. The former split end is still at end. But now he's at right defensive end, behind Bobby Greenwood and Keith Saunders.

Earlier Shula had said that Baron Huber might be a linebacker or he might be a defensive lineman. Would you believe fullback? He's behind Le'Ron McClain and Tim Castille.

Antoine Caldwell started at left guard last season until the Cotton Bowl, when he moved to center to replace J.B. Closner (injured late in the season and now graduated). There had been speculation that Caldwell might go back to guard, but he's listed at center, ahead of Evan Cardwell.

Marlon Davis, who started at right guard against Southern Miss but who was mostly a back-up to B.J. Stabler at that position in 2005, has shifted over to Caldwell's old left guard spot. Justin Moon is the back-up at left guard and Scott Deaton is the number two left guard.

Cody Davis was the number two left tackle most of last season and made a push on starter Chris Capps. But Davis is out this spring with a shoulder injury and Mike Johnson, a redshirt freshman, has moved from right tackle to left tackle behind Capps. Kyle Tatum returns as the starter at right tackle with Drew Davis the back-up.

At tight end, Travis McCall–the Cotton Bowl starter–is still number one, ahead of Nick Walker, who started there most of the season. Trent Davidson, who missed last year with an injury after being a regular as a freshman in 2004, is still at tight end, but maybe growing quickly towards a tackle spot. The 270-pounder is listed sixth on the depth chart, ahead of only Cole Harvey, a grayshirt who was expected to be in the offensive line after a brief flirtation with fullback.

Roy Upchurch is listed at running back, although he is expected to be limited after having had surgery to repair a foot injury last fall. Not listed at running back, but expected to participate, is Max Martin, who transferred from Michigan. Martin will have to sit out next season. Keznneth Darby, who may be held out of most contact work in the spring, is number one at halfback, followed by Glen Coffee, Jimmy Johns, and Ali Sharrief.

Keith Brown and D.J. Hall are listed as the top wide receivers. Newcomer Nikita Stover is listed third at one receiving spot behind Hall and Will Oakley. Matt Caddell is second to Brown.

John Parker Wilson is listed ahead of Marc Guillon and Jimmy Barnes at quarterback.

Aaron McDaniel has moved from safety to wide receiver and Trent Dean, a scout team quarterback in the past, has moved to safety. Grayshirt Sam Burnthall is the number two safety behind Jeffrey Dukes. Safety candidate Cory Reamer is out for the spring with a knee injury. Chris Keys, who was expected to move from safety to linebacker, is out with an ankle injury. At the other safety, Marcus Carter is ahead of walk-on special teams star Rashad Johnson, Bryant Kilpatrick, and Travis Sikes.

Starters out with injuries are wide receiver Tyrone Prothro and defensive tackle Justin Britt.

Although Ramzee Robinson "limited" in spring, he's listed number one at left cornerback, ahead of redshirt freshman Chris Rogers. At left cornerback, Eric Gray is ahead of Simeon Castille, who missed the Cotton Bowl because of academic deficiencies. Lionel Mitchell, who missed the last half of the season with a head injury, is listed third.

The pre-spring depth chart shows the Tide at least three deep at each of the four defensive line and three linebacker positions. At left end it's Wallace Gilberry, Chris Harris and Brandon Deaderick. At left tackle, Jeremy Clark, Lorenzo Washington, and Brandon Fanney. At right tackle, Dominic Lee, J.P. Adams, Byron Walton. At right end Bobby Greenwood, Keith Sanders, Zeke Knight.

Weakside linebackers are Juwan Simpson, Demarcus Waldrop, and Marcel Stamps. In the middle, Matt Collins leads Prince Hall, transfer Darrell Mustain, and Kenneth Vandervoort. Terrence Jones is number one at strongside linebacker, followed by Zach Schreiber and Eryk Anders.

Jamie Christensen is back as placekicker after his Cotton Bowl heroics, although Andrew Friedman will push him. P.J. Fitzgerald is expected to be ahead of Jeff Aul at punter. Luke Spauldding is the snapper.

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