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FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2007
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Tide signees eager to play for Saban
All-stars say they like coach’s intensity

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com · 340-2462

MOBILE — By now, the average Alabama fan has heard on the radio and read in the newspaper about the salty personality of new Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban.

Josh Chapman, a standout defensive lineman at Hoover, doesn’t care. Indeed, that’s just how he likes his coaches.

“He’s the same kind of coach as coach (Rush) Propst — high intensity, like to coach every position instead of sitting back, very involved,” said Chapman, who signed a scholarship to play for Saban at Alabama.

Chapman will get one more chance to play for a coach not named Saban on Saturday when he plays for Alabama in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“I can’t wait to report (to Alabama),” Chapman said. “It’s been a long ride for me to get involved in that system.”

Chapman isn’t the only Alabama signee playing in the game. He’s one of team-high nine players going to Alabama. Mississippi State has eight players in the game, Auburn has five.

He’s also not the only high-profile signee in the game who is going to Alabama.

UMS-Wright receiver Brandon Gibson will join him Saturday as well as in the fall. Gibson, who said he didn’t choose Alabama until the very end of the recruiting process, is a two-time first-team all-state selection. In all, he finished with 3,887 all-purpose yards and 31 touchdowns in his career.

And he’s looking forward to playing for Saban.

“I heard he’s intimidating, but I’ve seen him off the field. He’s a really nice guy,” Gibson said. “You’ve got to have different coaching styles. His style seems like it’s one that’s doing a great job.”

Patrick Crump, another Hoover standout, agrees with his high school teammate about Saban’s personality being beneficial to the final product at Alabama. Crump is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound offensive lineman.

“If you’re a soft coach, and you don’t get that rowdy, you’re players won’t respond to that,” he said. “If you get up in my face, I know I respond better the next time.”

The following and positive feelings Saban has created is already restoring some of Alabama’s past glory, Crump said.

He was in attendance at Alabama’s spring game, the one that 92,000-plus fans packed
Bryant-Denny Stadium to
see.

So, he got an up-close and personal view into what will be expected of him come this fall.

“I was like, ‘This is Alabama football,’ ” Crump said. “It just gives you jitters when you see all the people supporting the team and the program and the players.”

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