All-Star Classic: 'Team Alabama' Notebook

The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic held the first full day of practice with a morning and afternoon session. is providing Live play-by-play reports from the field, so tune in each day for the action.

Learning the ropes

The first day of practice is all about learning the plays and the calls on the field. Not a tremendous amount of action takes place. The morning practice was pretty much a walk-through on both sides. Coaches worked with individual position groups and worked on special teams. Action did pick up a little bit during the afernoon session. The skill players competed in 7-on-7 while the linemen did one-on-one drills on the opposite side of the field.

Quarterbacks: Rivers vs. Coker

Jacob Coker
'Team Alabama' has two BCS gunslingers on the roster. Stephen Rivers is a commitment to LSU, and Jacob Coker is committed to Florida State. Rivers is the younger brother of Phillip Rivers and received several scholarship offers before committing to the Tigers. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound recruit has the same side-arm throwing motion as his brother, but he is quicker on his feet. He has the ability to make plays with his legs when he needs to.

Coker wasn't a high-profile quarterback recruit, but Florida State will say 'I told you so' when he becomes a star in Tallahassee. He has a big-league arm and a quick release. He was firing the ball throughout the day and impressed a lot of people. He throws a great deep ball and connected with Marvin Shinn for six on more than one occassion. Coker is a great all-around athlete. He can really beat you with his legs. He is 6-foot-5, 210-pounds and fast. It's too early to see a clear-cut a starter for the game, and and even the coaches said hard to tell a difference in the two at this point. Both will likely see a lot of playing time.

Receivers Dominate

Danny Woodson Jr.
The group of receivers for 'Team Alabama' is probably one the best ever assembled for an All-Star Classic. Marvin Shinn demonstrated why he is the No. 1 player in the state. He is a dangerous weapon when the ball is in the air. He dominaed against one of the South's top corners in Jonathan Rose. Not a knock on Rose at all, because he is a great defender. Shinn turned on an extra gear, and made it look easy. He is 6-foot-4, 195-pounds and is silky smooth, soft hands and has really improved his route running skills.

'Team Alabama' has Danny Woodson, Jr., on the other side of Shinn and very similar. Great hands, a solid route runner and is light on his feet. Woodson is very explosivness after the catch. Daryl Collins had a great day catching slants and hitch routes. He didn't drop a pass during 7-on-7.

Auburn commitment Sammie Coates is fresh off a state championship and MVP performance. He certainly is an excellent athlete and can make plays in open space. He didn't get a lot of opportunities to make plays on Monday and had a few drops during 7-on-7.

Dismukes continues to impress

Reese Dismukes
Reese Dismukes has long established himself as the top lineman in the state. He will showcase his talent again in the Under Armour All-America game in January. The Auburn commitment dominated in the Class 5A state final and looking great in Mobile. Dismukes is in great physical shape and has an opportunity to replace Ryan Pugh as the center for the Tigers. He is very quick off the ball, and plays with a mean streak. He is a student of the game and soaked in everything the coaches were teaching him in Mobile.

Florence ready to hit somebody

Erique 'A' Florence has bottled-up energy and ready to start popping his opponent. You can see it in his eyes which should play well for 'Team Alabama' come Saturday. He had a few kill shots, but let up with players going non-contact. Florence is very athletic, has size and a pure football player. He was playing safety in cover 3 and didn't see a lot of action down the middle of the field. He did have a 'scoop and score' fumble recovery.


Ameer Abdullah, Homewood running back, is 5-foot-9, 179-pounds. There is a reason he has double-digit scholarship offers. Abdullah is so dangerous in open space. He made a few linebackers look silly on the first day when catching the ball coming out of the backfield. He is very quick and makes sharp cuts. He will have a tough time running the ball up the middle, but has the ability to take it the distance when on the outside. Abdullah's skills were noticed early by the coaching staff. Kicks and punts are his specialty as well.

Brent Calloway, a safety?

Brent Calloway
No...Brent Calloway didn't practice at safety, but he did play outside linebacker. The Tide commitment rushed for more than 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior and played a limited role on the defensive side of the ball. The 6-foot-3, 227-pounder has been recruited by Alabama to play on the defensive side of the ball, but they have talked with him about playing safety. Calloway plays light on his feet and flies to the football. He is very similiar to Mark Barron coming out of high school and could play that same role at the college level. Calloway showcased his speed and quickness on the field in Mobile and blew up a few plays in the backfield.


Auburn commitment Jaylon Denson, wide receiver from Hoover, was replaced by Stanhope Elmore tight end Kyreek Brown. Denson reported due to personal reasons. Alabama commitment Chris Jones was selected to participate, but he sitting out due to injury. He was replaced by McGill-Toolen defensive back E.J. May. Brown has good size (6-4, 220) and can run. He caught several passes working as a tight end. May struggled on the short routes, but he did a much better job on the deep ball. He had two interceptions in 7-on-7 during the afternoon practice. He plays agressive and very athletic.

Coaches' Quotes

"Right now I am coaching receivers," said Cherokee County head coach Tripp Curry. "It may be the best group of all. We have Danny Woodson, Daryl Collins, Marvin Shinn, Kardeem Poole, Kyreek Brown and Sammie Coates. I tell them you have to rotate yourself in because I don't want to do that. They are doing a good job getting in and getting reps. These guys are great. They can run, they are tall and they have good hands. You tell them what route to run, and they go do it. It's fun to be out here coaching these guys.

Marvin Shinn
"The two quarterbacks we have right now are Stephen Rivers and Jacob Coker. They are about the same. It's hard to tell them apart. If you had to pick a starter right now it would be tough. They are both tall, have good arms and can throw the deep ball well. This afternoon they started throwing the underneath and dig routes better.

"We have 40 guys down here. They increased it from 37 to 40 this year. We have a lot of good athletes. Everyone is going to get playing time. It's not about whether you start and who is the best guy. Everyone is going to get to play a lot. Everyone we have are great athletes."

"I am impressed from a secondary standpoint with all the guys," said Al Pogue Carver-Montgomery head coach. "They have all been very receptive to all the things I am teaching them. I am trying not to mess them up. I am trying to help them with their technique and help them understand the schemes we are running. We have some great receivers down here, so we are getting a lot of good work.

"The receivers are great. I am really impressed with Marvin Shinn. I didn't realize he was that big and fast. He has great ball skills and runs superb routes. He is going to make a receivers coach job in college very easy."


GameDay information
Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 11, at Mobile's Ladd-Pebbles Stadium. Tickets are $10.00 each with purchase available by calling 251-344-2000, or purchase at Greer's locations in Alabama and Mississippi, or by visiting the website at

Support the Red Kettles
The All-Star Classic players from both teams will help raise money for the Salvation Army by participating in the Red Kettles Challenge. Locations throughout Mobile and Baldwin County will have players ringing bells Friday afternoon looking for donations for this worthy cause for the holidays.

Coaching Staff
'Team Alabama' is lead by Briarwood Christian's Fred Yancey as head coach with assistant coaches including Alvin Briggs (Florence), Tripp Curry (Cherokee County), Chris Fancher (Gardendale), Tom Causey (Demopolis), David Lowery (Brantley), Al Pogue (Carver-Montgomery) and Geoff Walters (Briarwood Christian).

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