Saban Could Have Many Happy Returns

Javier Arenas was an outstanding cornerback for Alabama, but almost no one (coaches don't count) seems worried about replacing Arenas in the secondary. Somewhat surprising, the one coach in Alabama's camp who might be worried about replacing Arenas on special teams seems content with his choices.

Javier Arenas was not just a good punt and kickoff return man for Alabama the past four years. He was a record-breaker. The only reason he didn't set the national record for punt returns is that opponents finally learned that discretion is the better part of valor. They didn't kick to him.

Now Arenas has taken his skills both as a cornerback and kick return man to the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. Back in Tuscaloosa, Coach Nick Saban evaluated the kick return corps.

"We've got more guys right now than the law allows," Saban said.

There are some pretty good names he throws out as kickoff return men.

"We feel really good about Trent Richardson, who is areally a good kickoff return guy," Saban said. "We feel really good about Julio (Julio Jones) being the "off" returner because he's a really good blocker and that's what he played all last year.

"But then we have Marquis Maze, we have Darius Hanks, we have Mark Ingram who can do it. We have a lot of young guys. We have DeAndrew White, Keiwone Malone; we have a lot of skill guys. DeMarcus Milliner has a chance to do it. There are a lot of guys we're looking at."

Saban said that Alabama coaches are looking for certain skills. "Who can catch the ball, he said. "Who has the natural running instincts. It's really the same on punt returns. Julio is really good on punt returns. It's a different style (from Arenas). Several guys are working on that. We're happy with the first guys. We are still working to develop depth."

BamaMag Top Stories