News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — The career of Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro appears to be over.

Alabama coach Nick Saban placed Prothro on medical hardship, which means he will continue to receive his scholarship but won’t count against the Crimson Tide’s limit.

Prothro was a star receiver until suffering a compound fracture of his leg against Florida in a 31-3 win in 2005. He has not played since then and has undergone at least three surgeries, with the latest coming in March.

“He was not medically ready to play last season,” Saban said. “We do have a plan to try to further continue his rehabilitation and (are) hopeful that he can come back and play football someday.”

Saban said Thursday he recognizes Prothro’s contributions.

“The guy had tremendous spirit and he is a fine young man,” said Saban, who is in his first season at Alabama. “I think he is going to be successful in life. I can’t do it justice because I wasn’t here. I do understand what kind of inspiration he had for this team and have a tremendous amount of respect for it and appreciate it.”

  • Saban said Thursday that he is for lottery systems funding scholarships for in-state students.

    Louisiana has the TOPS program, and Georgia has the HOPE scholarship for state residents as long as they meet certain requirements

    “Some schools that have an advantage, because if you have a state scholarship, it helps you recruit those kind of guys,” Saban said. “It helps all sports, and it helps the ones that don’t have the numbers and have to split up scholarships.”

    The state lottery was on the ballot in 1999, but Alabama voters shot down the proposal.

  • Former Boston College starter Ross Applegate was listed on Alabama’s 105-man roster. A freshman last year for the Eagles, the 6-foot-5, 197-pound Applegate did not play.

    He came to Boston College from Walton High in Marietta, Ga.

    - Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Auburn’s search for a backup to quarterback Brandon Cox continues.

    Offensive coordinator Al Borges said Thursday that the position is “still an open competition.”

    Junior Blake Field and redshirt freshman Neil Caudle are battling for the position and both practiced in the afternoon with the veterans. The underclassmen worked out in the morning.

    Coach Tommy Tuberville said last week at Southeastern Conference media days that the race was close, but that Caudle moved to the No. 2 spot “because he didn’t make as many mistakes” during spring practice.

    Caudle was surprised about Tuberville publicly giving him the edge over Field, but he’s not convinced.

    “I’m not going to get complacent about anything,” Caudle said. “We’re still battling for the No. 2 spot. It’s going to come down to the wire.”

    Field saw action in five games in 2006, hitting 8 of 9 pass attempts for 47 yards and an interception. Caudle has not played.

  • Linebacker Tray Blackmon, who was suspended for seven games last season, including the Cotton Bowl, is prepared to play in the Sept. 1 opener against Kansas State.

    “I feel like everything is on track right now,” Blackmon said Thursday evening after finishing practice, where he played middle linebacker with the first-stringers.

    “I’m on track to succeed right now.”

    Besides the suspensions, Blackmon, who is 6-foot-0 and 223 pounds, left school for the spring semester and then re-enrolled. He missed all of spring practice.

    “He has a lot of work to do until we figure out what we’re going to do with him,” Tuberville said. “He’s doing everything we ask, got everything going for him. We’re just glad to have him out here.”

    Blackmon had 18 tackles in six games last season. He had six tackles against Alabama and five against Ole Miss.

  • Signees Chris Slaughter and Nick Fairley have not been cleared to play by the NCAA and the university.

    When asked about the situation at the end of Thursday’s practice, Tuberville said, “I have no clue.”

    Slaughter, a member of the 2006 Auburn recruiting class, attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia after he failed to qualify academically last year.

    The Mobile Press-Register reported that seven grades were changed on Fairley’s transcript, leading to the lengthy investigation.

    - Ross Dellenger,
    Daily Sports Writer


    LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas is saying goodbye to another Springdale product.

    Wide receiver Andrew Norman was given his release to transfer Thursday, becoming the third player from Springdale High to ask out of his scholarship with the Razorbacks recently. Norman redshirted in 2006, his first season at Arkansas. University compliance director Marvin Caston said Norman received a “full, complete release” that will not restrict where he can transfer.

    The Razorbacks reported to preseason practice Thursday. Practice starts Saturday.

    Coach Houston Nutt said he wishes Norman well.

    “Him and his father called me last night. They just decided that they wanted to make a move,” Nutt said. “We had a good conversation last night, and he just felt like it was in his best interests to move to a different program right now.”

    Robert Norman, the receiver’s father, told The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday that Norman had requested a transfer, but that Nutt had asked the player to sleep on it.

    “We have nothing but great things to say about the Razorbacks,” Robert Norman told the paper.

    Northern Colorado

    GREELEY, Colo. — A college punter who was attacked by a knife-wielding man testified Thursday he once considered sharing his apartment with the teammate accused of the assault.

    Rafael Mendoza, a starting punter for Northern Colorado, was left with a deep wound in his kicking leg in the attack last Sept. 11.

    Police and prosecutors allege Mitch Cozad, the backup punter at the time, stabbed Mendoza in a bid to get the starter’s job.

    Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., is on trial on charges of attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault. His attorney, Joseph Gavaldon, has said another student attacked Mendoza.

    Questioned by Gavaldon, Mendoza said Cozad — who lived in a dorm — once told him “he was thinking about moving out, and I had an extra bedroom” in an off-campus apartment.

    Asked if he was considering offering the room to Cozad, Mendoza said, “That’s right.”

    - The Associated Press

    Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
    AP contributed to this report.

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