Justin Woodall Set for Baseball

Justin Woodall will indeed take the mound for the 2008 Alabama baseball team. The backup safety and special teams player confirmed as much during an interview with statewide media Wednesday afternoon. Woodall talks about baseball along with football teammates discussed upcoming bowl game.

"I'll go through the fourth quarter program and all that," Justin Woodall said of off-season football conditioning, and added he'd not miss football practice for baseball practice. While Woodall hasn't yet sat down with Nick Saban and Jim Wells to confirm a schedule, "they both know I'm going to play (both)," he said.

If push comes to shove, though, "I'll be over here," he smiled, and by "here" he meant the Mal M. Moore Football Complex.

Woodall was asked what the best clocking he'd hit with his fastball on the radar gun. "State championship game (in 2006), about 96 (MPH)," he said.

Woodall was a high school baseball standout and was drafted by the New York Mets, but turned down a contract to play for Alabama. He was a two-time All-State, All-Division and All-Area selection. He batted .421 his junior season. He said the mound was his likely destination but if asked, he'd try center field for Wells.

Woodall and his Tide football teammates continued their preparation for the PetroSun Independence Bowl Dec, 30 in Shreveport Wednesday, and once again the Tide offensive line was the one Bama opened the seasson with: Andre Smith and Mike Johnson at tackles, Justin Britt and Marlon Davis at guards, and Antoine Caldwell at center.

"I don't think it's a real big deal getting the starting five back," Johnson said. "I think that maybe we're in better (natural) positions for ourselves. I think certain guys work better together. Obviously, we went through spring, and all fall camp, with that starting lineup. We've had a lot more time together. I've had a lot more time next to Marlon (Davis), and the tight ends, so I know exactly what's going on, what's going through their heads, and exactly what steps they're taking."

"There's a little bit of a chemistry thing, but I think we can plug pretty much anybody in there and try to be successful."

Wallace Gilberry showed up with a support boot on his left foot. "It's a precautionary show. Nike just made it, and I'm trying it out," he joked. "Big Andre Smith stepped on me (Tuesday), and kind of bruised it, but its fine."

Gilberry said the bruise was on his instep.

Gilberry got his first look at Colorado on film Wednesday, and was impressed with the footage.

"They're definitely a quick group," he said of the Buffalos' offense. "They definitely have a great running back (in Hugh Charles), a good receiving corps, and a strong offensive line. You see them against opponents that they've really man-handled, and that's something we're aware of, and we'll spend some extra days in the weight room, so we can physically prepare for them."

"They play together, and moreso like us, their 6-6 record does not reflect the amount of talent that they have on their team. It's going to be a good game. It's going to be a good game for the city of Shreveport."

Quarterback Cody Hawkins, son of Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins, caught Gilberry's eye on tape.

"If you (didn't) know he was a freshman, then just watching him on film you wouldn't think that he was," Gilberrry said. "He makes some pretty good reads. He's quick, and he can get outside and hit the tight end or the wide receiver coming across. He does a lot of good things, and we're going to have to contain him."

Hawkins is 239-424 for 2,693 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he's been intercepted 15 times.

Both Johnson and Gilberry said being a college football player often means not spending Thanksgiving or Christmas with the family, and Gilberry said his family in Bay Minette will carry on Dec. 25 after he's left for Shreveport.

"One monkey don't stop no show," he said.. "Hopefully everybody will be together Christmas Eve, but tradition is tradition. I stopped getting presents about 15 years ago."

Johnson said, "It's something you learn to deal with. Last year, we had to be in Shreveport on Christmas Eve. My family at home, they know what's the deal. It's tough, but you only get five years to spend here, so make the most of it."

The Tide will practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday on campus before breaking until Christmas Day in Shreveport.

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