Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione has often expressed his belief that some sort of exhibition game, similar to a high-school jamboree, would help college coaches evaluate their players. "We don't have the benefit of exhibition games like the NFL," he explained. "High schools have exhibitions against other programs. We don't have that benefit, so Thursday will be valuable."
Georgia Military College will be Bama's JV opponent. The game is slated to begin at 4 pm Thursday, with action taking place at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Admission is free, and the public is definitely invited.
Not that long ago junior varsity games were commonplace in college football. But with NCAA-mandated reductions in the number of scholarshipped players each team can have on its roster, these days most schools find them too much trouble to organize. "It's a little bit difficult to do," Franchione acknowledged, "to make sure that with the people we're redshirting that we can still fit together a squad. But the players have done a nice job responding, and I think they're excited about the game."
Quarterback -- Tailback Starters
|Spencer Pennington, QB||Josh Smith, TB|
In addition to Pennington, Matt Miller (6-2, 180, Fr) will play quarterback. Miller has worked at wide receiver this season, but he played quarterback in high school and practiced at the position last year at Alabama. There also may be a surprise player taking snaps at quarterback.
Ryan Babb, (6-0, 185, Fr) from Phenix City's Central HS and Ezzie Raulls (5-8, 210, Fr) from Tuscaloosa's Central HS will also take snaps at tailback.
Fullback/W -- Tight End Starters
|Nathan Cox, FB||Boone Stutz, TE|
Cox will work at fullback and in Bama's hybrid "W" position. Stutz normally does double duty as a long snapper and offensive tackle, but Thursday he'll work as a blocking tight end.
At tight end Rusty Hill (6-1, 220, Fr) from Hokes Bluff HS will also play.
Main Wide Receiver Playing Rotation
|Thurman Ward||Brandon Brooks||Joel Babb||Tarry Givens|
Josh Averett (6-5, 195, So) from Vance's Brookwood HS, Nick Morgan (5-11, 185, Jr) from Pelham HS, Will Fountain (6-2, 190, Jr) from Thomasville HS, Jay Stubbs (5-8, 178, So), the son of former Tide Quarterbacks Coach Charlie Stubbs, and Kip Williams (6-1, 190, Jr) from Chatom's Washington County HS will also play wide receiver.
In addition to his work at receiver, Brandon Brooks will serve as the Tide's principal kick returner.
Offensive Line Starters
|Matt Lomax, OT||Mark Sanders, OG||J.B. Closner, C||Danny Martz, OG||Von Ewing, OT|
Other offensive linemen on the roster include Justin Gibson (6-3, 260, Fr) from Gilberton's South Choctaw HS and Montre Walker (6-1, 280, Fr) from Hayneville's Central HS.
Main Defensive Line Playing Rotation
|Jonathan Brunson, DE||Bart Raulston, DT||Derek Sanders, DT||Will Hardy, DE||Matt McMullin, DE|
Also playing on the defensive line will be John Paul Bevel (6-2, 252, Jr) from Birmingham's Woodlawn HS, and T.J. Davidson (6-2, 221, Fr) from Foley HS.
|Juke King, ROV||Brandon Dean, MLB||David Simmons, SLB|
The linebacking corps will be deep, including Brad Biehl (5-11, 204, Jr) from Orlando, Florida's Cyprus Creek HS, Carl McInnish (6-1, 195, Sr) from Brewton's T.R. Miller HS, and William Felts (5-11, 211, Fr) from Thomasville HS in Thomasville, Georgia.
Main Secondary Playing Rotation
|Roberto McBride, CB||Hamid Haqq, safety||Eric Moore, safety||Corey Ferguson, CB||Ty Tyrus, CB|
Other defensive backs include Ben Rose (5-9, 180, Fr) from Rochester HS in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Charles Hosea (5-11, 178, So) from Huntsville's St. Marys HS, Corbin Pardue (5-10, 180, Fr) from Stratford HS in Houston, Texas, and Matt Grice (6-0, 191, So) from Tuscaloosa's Hillcrest HS.
Mike Mclaughlin, the only Tide kicker currently on scholarship, will help with placekicking duties. Alex Fox (5-11, 182, So) from Pensacola Catholic HS in Pensacola, Florida and Gabe Giardina (5-6, 160, Jr) from DuPont HS in Centre Hall, Pennsylvannia will also kick.
One of the more versatile athletes on the squad, Will Fountain (6-2, 190, Jr) from Brewton's T.R. Miller HS will punt.