Alabama's Director of Football Operations, Charley North, talked about the plans. ">
Alabama's Director of Football Operations, Charley North, talked about the plans. ">

Junior varsity game added to schedule

Alabama plays six straight games this season, before enjoying an off week after a home contest against Georgia. But for a good portion of the squad, the following week will hardly be "off," as the Tide is scheduled for a junior varsity game against Georgia Military Academy. <br><br>Alabama's Director of Football Operations, Charley North, talked about the plans.

The Alabama coaches see the contest as another way to provide extra opportunities for Tide athletes. "It will give several players the chance to play," North said. "And it's also a chance for the coaches to evaluate those players under game conditions. It's not very much fun to always practice and not play."

NCAA rules allow schools to schedule up to five junior varsity games per year, but there are very few schools that do. In past decades such games were common, but a variety of factors led to their demise. "With expanded schedules, you have fewer open dates," North explained. "And we can't take away from game preparation. The limitations on squad sizes has hurt. We'll only have 135 or so kids this year, and you used to have 180-200 at the big schools. Plus, we're allowed fewer coaches today."

Alabama's last JV game took place 22 years ago at Fort Benning, Georgia. But in previous decades such games were common. Back then the games were normally played on Thursday or Friday, and the exact number of JV games would vary from year to year.

The contest against Georgia Military will mainly feature third- and fourth-stringers, athletes that are not likely to get playing time on Saturdays. Technically, every squad member could participate, but that won't happen. Football players are limited to 12 games (13 for Alabama with the Hawaii trip) this season, and any athlete that competes against Georgia Military will lose a game's worth of eligibility against the regular slate.

Also, a player headed for a redshirt could not participate without burning his season. "We won't jeopardize anyone's eligibility," North said. "No starters or varsity members will compete."

North and Franchione watch practice. Besides evaluation, the Tide coaches view JV games as a chance for athletes down the depth chart to get a chance to play.

The graduate assistants (Woodrow Lowe, offense and Rick LaFavers, defense) will be principally responsible for the game. And while the Tide players will be competing to win, there will not be the same preparation associated with regular games. "It's more for evaluation than anything else," North said. "And it would be hard to game plan, anyway."

"This is mostly for evaluation," North continued. "We'll film it like a regular game, with all the different shots and angles. And it can be a recruiting tool as well. This is an extra chance to see these guys play."

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 pm at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and North says that regular game rules will apply. The contest will be fully officiated, and will count on Georgia Military's record. It's possible that a nominal fee will be charged, but more likely admission will be free.

North said that Georgia Military is an ideal junior varsity opponent. And while there is nothing to prohibit the Tide from renewing JV rivalries with SEC opponents like Ole Miss or Auburn, don't expect that to happen. "Probably not," North stated firmly.

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