Gilberry Shoots Straight

No one puts a sentence together quite like Wallace Gilberry, and if the print media is searching for a replacement for the always affable, always colorful Roman Harper they will likely find their guy in Gilberry. The rising junior, who will forever be known as a late summer signee who made the big-time, talked with media at a gathering last week.

And while other players tried to tip-toe around questions about what they'd heard or seen from the hobbled Tyrone Prothro, the circumspect absence of DJ Hall for the summer or the criminal charges that were levied against Juwan Simpson, Gilberry wasn't hesitant to answer.

"Prothro is still kicking with that one leg," he said.

Pretty much sums up all the PC talk, doesn't it?

And on the question about Simpson, Gilberry had his teammate's back.

"Everyone makes mistakes," Gilberry said. "I don't know the details of his situation but as far as character, anything you need he's there. As far as at the complex, and on the field, he's been there every day. He knows he messed up and we know he messed up."

And asked to elaborate on Mike Shula's disciplinary measures, Gilberry said, "That's one thing about being the head coach. He makes the decisions. He directs and we follow."

But there were also football questions for Gilberry. For instance, Alabama losing seven starters on defense and the legitimate question about whether he and his fellow upperclassmen, along with the help of some young players, can fill that void.

"It's like that every year," he said. "Some people might be scared of something new, we're not. With (defensive coordinator) Coach Joe Kines you can't go wrong. He is still calling the shots. You won't find a DeMeco Ryans or a Roman Harper but if you can get close to that we'll be okay.

"True enough, we lost a lot from last year, but at the same time we have a lot of guys hungry to make a name for themselves, and looking to be given a chance like I was. I can assure you that (Kines is) going to know how to get it out of them."

It will be particularly on the shoulders of older defensive linemen like Dominic Lee, Jeremy Clark, J.P. Adams, Chris Harris and Gilberry to take more leadership of the defense as the most experienced unit on that side of the ball. In the past two seasons the defensive line has been more youthful than experienced, and was not called upon for leadership much.

"We realize last year that the linebackers were the experienced guys, and before that the defensive backs," Gilberry said. "It's our turn to lead as a unit. If Jeremy Clark is tired, his body might not tell him that but I can see it in his eyes. I need to pump him up… Once fall camp kicks in and the sun gets warm the men will rise."

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