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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007
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Castille 'star' in Tide defensive backfield

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Nick Saban is going to turn cornerback Simeon Castille into a star — well, in the more figurative football jargon sense.

As part of coach Saban's defense, the instinctive Castille has been playing a lot of what is called the "star" position, or nickel back.

While it's tough to say whether Castille is liking his positional variation, he is enjoying some success in the scrimmages.

So far, he has had a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown, both at "star."

"The interception, we were playing cover two, and I dropped into the flat, and I was right by the receiver," Castille said. "The fumble recovery was just laying there, and I just got it. Wasn't too complicated."

A senior, Castille is seen as one of the leaders in Alabama's secondary.

Last season, he led the team with six interceptions and displayed potential as a go-to guy on defense. This may be why Saban has been riding Castille hard during spring drills.

"I try to limit my mental mistakes because that is the biggest part to our defense, knowing what to do," Castille said. "Now I'm able to go out there and play and make all the adjustments and make the right calls."

While the defensive playbook is large, new and different from the previous regime's, Castille's ability to soak in Saban's defense rubbed off on his teammates.

"All of us were just lost, and we had to treat (the defense) like it was another class," said fellow cornerback Lionel Mitchell said. "The thing with Simeon, he helped me pick it up. And as I picked it up, everybody else did."

With several position changes in Saban's 3-4 defense, there may be a lot of different contributions from unexpected sources.

Former defensive ends Ezekial Knight and Keith Saunders might flash more skills as outside linebackers.

Former offensive lineman Brian Motley has moved to defensive tackle.

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