Alabama Football

FAYETTEVILLE -- The first question Alabama cornerback Simeon Castille was asked during his brief stop at the Southeastern Conference football media days late last month was about crime and punishment.



More specifically, several reporters were curious to find out how new Alabama coach Nick Saban had punished three players who had been arrested over the summer for minor offenses.

So they asked Castille.

One reporter, in particular, asked the All-SEC cornerback if he was looking forward to finding out what type of disciplinarian Saban was.

"Hopefully, you don't want it to ever come to that," Castille said. "And you definitely don't want to be the person it happens to."

Little did he know that he'd find out sooner than later.

At this moment, Castille should be preparing for his senior season at Alabama, where there is a renewed sense of excitement thanks to Saban and his pledge to rejuvenate a once proud football program.

At the same time, the headlines on Castille should be about his place as one of the SEC's best cornerbacks -- not his distinction as the latest Crimson Tide player arrested in the offseason.

Castille was arrested early Sunday morning for disorderly conduct following an incident outside the Tuscaloosa strip. Saban said this week that he will punish the senior, though he hinted that a suspension seems unlikely.

"If you're not disciplined, you're not going to be great at what you do," Jeremiah Castille, Simeon's father, said at the SEC media days.

Like his father, Simeon Castille has developed into a star defensive back at Alabama, the type capable of making big plays when the football gets near him.

The Birmingham native tied for the third in the SEC last season with six interceptions, and his three fumble recoveries were the most by any Crimson Tide player in 2006.

And assuming he can put the arrest behind him and avoid any further incidents, Castille should provide senior leadership to an Alabama team itching to regain its place among the nation's elite programs.

"I think we're going to surprise some people," Castille said.

Nothing about the cornerback, though, should surprise opposing SEC coaches. Castille is simply keeping up the family tradition of playing for the Crimson Tide.

Tim Castille, Simeon's brother, played running back at Alabama over the past four years, and their father was a star defensive back on Bear Bryant's final team in 1982. In fact, Jeremiah Castille served as a pallbearer at Bryant's funeral in 1983.

As one might expect, Castille learned some lessons about playing defense from his father, who was an All-American at Alabama before spending six seasons in the NFL.

"My dad always taught me (to) find the nearest sideline (after intercepting a pass)," Castille said. "So I try to find the nearest sideline and run."

But Jeremiah Castille said last month that the biggest lesson he taught his son about the game of football was having class. That's perhaps even more important considering the recent event involving his son.

"People are always watching, especially younger players that are looking to idolize and say, 'Hey, I want to be like a Simeon Castille,'" his father said. "How you carry yourself is very important."



Alabama

* Head coach: Nick Saban, 12th year

* Record last year: 6-7, 2-6 SEC

* Returning offensive starters: 9

* Returning defensive starters: 5

* Offensive formation: Multiple

* Defensive formation: 4-3

* Impact players: Quarterback John Parker Wilson; offensive tackle Andre Smith; wide receiver DJ Hall; cornerback Simeon Castille

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