Football staff & recruiting notes

Passing along a few notes regarding the football program, including a huge weekend in recruiting, the uncertain status of a former signee, anxious graduate assistants and the blue prints for Bama's future.

Mark this date down

Tim Castille is a Bama commitment.

There are various philosophies that staffs follow in regard to official visits. Some coaches like to spread things out, bringing in four to five prospects each weekend from December through January.

Next year things may change, but with the new staff not due to be complete until the end of this week, Coach Price has decided on the "Big Bang" theory. Friday, January 17th is the date, and Alabama coaches are working to get as many of the Tide's commitments and prime prospects on campus that weekend as possible.

Mainly because the new staff is still not completely in place, there will probably not be any athletes on campus this weekend (10th-12th) for official visits.

If the blue prints exist…

Football fans have been talking about a new weight room for years--with some cynics wondering if the new facility would ever be built.

"Help build Alabama's new weight room," read incessant e-mail solicitations from Bama's now departed head coaching huckster, but still fans waited for a definite sign that the project would actually be built.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard

Well, the first bulldozer has yet to make an appearance, but Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard has a new ornament to his office. Taking up part of the wall to the right of his overcrowded desk, an architect's blue print shows in detail what the new facility will look like.

It won't be the Taj Mahal--it is, after all, a weight room. But vaulted ceilings rising above floor-length windows looking out on the Drew-Thomas Practice Fields (not to mention a short indoor track) indicate that Tide athletes will finally be enjoying a state-of-the-art facility.

As for Pollard, he'll be happy to get his own office. (Right now he shares a space no bigger than a dorm room with four other coaches)

Nance's status remains uncertain

Earnest Nance

Earnest Nance, a 6-3, 210 pound linebacker/tailback, first signed with Alabama last winter, but he and the Tide coaches agreed that he would not enter school with the rest of the 2002 class. Heading into his senior season, Nance was considered one of the top prospects in the state. But a torn ACL in the fifth game of his season dealt a serious setback to his athletic plans, forcing Nance to undergo surgery and an arduous rehab to get back to 100 percent.

Last year's class numbers are full, meaning that Nance would have to resign with Alabama and be counted against 2003 scholarship totals. Due to NCAA sanctions, the Tide can only bring in 18 new scholarshipped athletes this fall.

At this point the new staff have not had a chance to assess Nance's status. However, if he is resigned by the Tide, Nance is not expected to report until next August.

GA's also waiting

The staff turnover also involves graduate assistants, and two young men with deep Tide ties are hoping to be a part of Coach Price's staff. Graduate assistants are basically intern positions, with the student/coaches enrolled in school working toward a degree. NCAA rules allow each school two on-the-field, coaching GAs, but there on no limits on staff slots. Last season Alabama also employed two video assistants, responsible for breaking down film, and a graduate assistant to help with recruiting.

Ben Pollard talks with Woodrow Lowe Jr..

Woodrow Lowe, Jr., the son of Alabama All-America Woodrow Lowe Sr., served last season as the Tide's on-the-field graduate assistant for offense. Having worked at several jobs in high school and lower-level professional coaching, Lowe has very good experience for the job. Lowe of course grew up around football (Alabama and the San Diego Chargers variety), and he hopes to stay on in the same capacity.

After earning All-SEC honors twice as a center for Alabama, Paul Hogan first pursued an NFL career and then worked briefly at Georgia before returning to The Capstone. Last season Hogan handled one of the video assisstant slots, but he is hoping to move into the other on-the-field position with the new staff.

Bama's other two graduate assistants last season, Rick LaFavers and David Bobo, both accepted jobs at Texas A&M. Bobo is expected to be a graduate assistant for the Aggies, while LaFavers was reportedly offered a position similar to the Director of High School Relations job previously held by Randy Ross at Alabama.

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