Notes From Bama Football Camp

One of the interesting, albeit brief, stories of the summer off-season was the report that Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops had flown to Tuscaloosa to meet with Alabama Coach Nick Saban. Following practice Friday, Saban was asked about that meeting and his relationship with Stoops.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that both he and Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops have quality control systems and had frequently talked about getting together to discuss coaching matters. Saban said his relationship with the Stoops family went back to his early coaching days, and particularly to Stoops' uncle Bobby Stoops, a famous high school coach who was in Saban's recruiting area.

Saban said he and Stoops had talked about getting together for several years. This year they set a day. "We did it and it was beneficial to us," Saban said.

Saban was pleased to announce that three current Crimson Tide players were scheduled to take part in University summer graduation exercises Saturday. They are quarterback Greg McElroy, defensive end Lorenzo Washington, and wide receiver Travis Sikes. " We certainly want to congratulate them," Saban said. Alabama will have 11 players on this year's team who have already earned undergraduate degrees. Another 10 are expected to graduate in December.

McElroy will finish his undergraduate degree in three years with a 3.85 grade point average and graduate magna cum laude. "It is a great feeling to get this first degree finished," McElroy said. "I made it a priority of mine to graduate in as short of an amount of time as possible, so I can focus on football and getting my masters degree in something that interests me."

Saban also congratulated three players named to the Playboy Pre-Season All-America team—linebacker Rolando McClain, wide receiver Julio Jones, and return specialist/cornerback Javier Arenas.

"That's a great honor, very much deserved by each one of those guys relative to the kind of careers they've had and hopefully they'll be able to continue to improve and to play even better this coming year," Saban said.

Alabama has Fan Day Sunday. Alabama fans can enter Bryant-Denny Stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. CDT Saturday and watch the Crimson Tide practice, which is scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Following practice, players and coaches will be available for autographs. Concession stands will be open in the stadium.

"We're looking forward to Fan Day on Sunday," Saban said. "We like to open practice to the fans so they get a chance to watch our players. I know there's a lot of interest here. Our coaches and players alike enjoy and appreciate the support that our fans give us and we're happy to spend a little time sort of trying to give back something to them and rewarding them and sign some things and spend some time with them."

Freshman defensive lineman Kerry Murphy is dealing with the tragedy of his brother, Terrory, having been shot and killed this week in Bessemer. Saban said members of his staff have been in contact with the Tide player. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Saban said. "It's a shame what happened. We certainly are concerned about him and his family's well being. It's up to him as to whether he comes back here for a few days or stays home. He's been home for two days and we're just kind of going day to day with him. But our entire organization is very sorry about what the Murphy family has had to go through."

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