Caldwell Expects Work To Pay Off

There never has been a football team that could expect to accomplish a great deal without a lot of sacrifice -- the blood, sweat and tears of practice field rigors. If Alabama is able to succeed in 2007, it probably won't surprise the star center of the Crimson Tide.

Alabama center Antoine Caldwell, who is on the watch list for the Rimington Award given to the nation's best at his position, said, "Everyone has worked hard -- coaches and players. There has been a tremendous amount of work by the offensive line. I think we have the best OL since I've been here."

That offensive line will go on display against the defensive front of the Western Carolina Catamounts when the Crimson Tide opens its season at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Saturday. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. CDT with television coverage on a pay-per-view basis.

Caldwell said there has been improvement by the likes of All-America candidate sophomore tackle Andre Smith, as well as guards Marlon Davis and Justin Britt. "And I've had a lot of things to correct," Caldwell said.

The four are all returning starters. The fifth starter in the offensive line is right tackle Michael Johnson.

Caldwell said, "We want to make sure we make a lot of good plays, that we execute on offense."

Preparation has been good, he said, because "the coaches aren't going to let the guys overlook anyt hing.

"I'm a little biased because of the work we've put in this whole off-season, and how hard everybody's worked, including the coaches."

The 6-3, 292-pound junior said, "We want to be relentless. We've got to fly around. We can't take plays off. Whatever the situation, we're trying to get into the end zone.

"Everybody's gotten settled in now, and Coach Saban's got his plan in order. We've just been following his lead.

"Everybody's playing a lot faster. This team's doing a lot of things that an Alabama football team should do. As you know, we've still got some questions, but we're just ready to get started, and get this thing rolling."

Caldwell said the start of the season is exciting. He said, "We're all on edge right now. Tense, everybody's just ready to go. It's here."

As for the coaching staff?

"Intense, intense, intense," he said. "They take care of the little things. It seems like they never go to sleep. They are here at five in the morning and stay until two the next morning working. That makes us [players] stay alert."


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