Huber Feels He Has Gone Home

Baron Huber was playing Jack linebacker Saturday when the quarterback went to the opposite side and put the ball in the belly of the tailback. The quarterback then peeled back towards Huber, who saw the handoff had been a fake.

"I played to his outside hip and made the sack," Baron Huber said of his big scrimmage play.

"Coach Saban asked me if it was my first sack," Huber said. "I guess I celebrated a little.

"I said, ‘Actually, it was.' He said 'Go make another one.'"

Huber said his father counseled him to act like he had been there before.

Earlier this year Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that Huber was going to get a look at linebacker. "Just an experiment," the coach emphasized. It is one of several spring experiments.

Huber, who came to Alabama prior to the 2006 season expecting to be a linebacker, is treating the move as though it's permanent. "I don't want to short-change myself," he said. "I'm working every day like I'm going to be a linebacker."

Huber was an outstanding linebacker in high school in Knoxville, Tenn., starting his career at Central and finishing at Powell. He came to Alabama prior to the 2005 season expecting to be a linebacker. After redshirting his first year, s a freshman in 2006 he got most of his playing time on special teams, although he did catch one pass. With Tim Castille and LeRon McClain moving on from fullback duties after that season, Huber saw the move to offense as a good one.

But when the Tide offense de-emphasized the fullback in 2007, Huber had only limited playing time. He did play in every game and started one game at fullback (against Vanderbilt). Even when the fullback was in the game, his job was to block. He continued his play on special teams.

Huber said that Saban approached him about giving defense a try. With fullback "looking about like last year" Huber "thought it would be great to go back to defense. I think it's a good opportunity with our depth situation."

Huber was a middle linebacker in high school and has been getting most of his work weakside linebacker this spring. Weakside is an inside linebacker spot, manned last year by Darren Mustin. Huber said he had been working "mostly with the Twos (second team)" this spring.

Huber confessed that his scrimmage sack did not come against the first offense. "It wasn't against Andre," he said, speaking of Bama All-America left tackle Andre Smith. "In fact, I think I was at a disadvantage when I moved over to defense because I was going against Andre on nearly every play."

Huber, a 6-3, 245-pound upcoming junior, said the difficulty is in the mental part. His defensive teammate, tackle Lorenzo Washington, said, "He's picking it up pretty well. Our linebackers have to know a lot."

"I study the playbook," he said. "You have to learn and retain. Once the ball is snapped, I think I do pretty good. It's find the ball and make the tackle."

Huber is getting some work at Jack linebacker. "It's sort of a hybrid end," he said. "Jack is a little easier from a mental standpoint because you always line up opposite the end. At weakside you have a lot of different pre-snap situations and then you've got run, coverage and blitz responsibilities."

He said he thinks he has a defensive mentality, which helped him at fullback. "Fullbacks and linebackers are a lot alike," he said. "Maybe because we're hitting each other on every play."

Huber said the Alabama defense is "aggressive. The mentality is attack mode."

He said he did "pretty good" in Alabama's second scrimmage last Saturday.

Huber said the Fourth Quarter Program, Alabama's winter off-season program of strength and conditioning, was easier this year than last year. "We did more this year, but we were in better condition when we started," he said. "It's easy to go from Fourth Quarter to (spring) practice because of the way it's structured."

Huber and his Alabama teammates will be on public display Saturday when the A-Day Game is held at Bryant-Denny Stadium beginning at 2 p.m. CDT.

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