News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

College Football Notebook


TUSCALOOSA — For Alabama fans hoping to know how the Crimson Tide lineup stacks up, head coach Nick Saban said the team has no depth chart for now.

Keeping thoughts of who’s where on the list under wraps is Saban’s plan. He wants players competing for positions in hopes that it will make them better players.

“Competition at any position makes us a better team,” Saban said. “That benefits them and their motivation. But they should keep in mind in terms of being supportive as a team. You want to win your battles based on your execution. That is what a great competitor and a mature competitor can do.”

When asked what he had seen of former Decatur High linebacker Rolando McClain, Saban said he will have a chance to compete like anyone else but refused to comment on the depth at the linebacker position.

McClain wore No. 25 as he worked out on the practice field Saturday, though it was not clear if he was with the first team or the second team.

The same goes for Athens High grad and Alabama defensive tackle Alfred McCullough, wearing No. 52 while practicing with the defensive front.

? Saban displayed his good luck charm during a gathering with reporters Saturday when he knocked on the wooden podium. This was in response to a question about the status of cornerback Eric Gray, a West Morgan High alum

Saban said Gray is not showing any ill effects from chronic hamstring problems that have limited him during his three seasons at Alabama.

“It’s hard to play corner when you can’t run fast, and it’s hard to practice at corner when you don’t run fast,” Saban said.

“He did look OK, and we are hopeful that he can continue.”

Demetrius Goode, a freshman from Hargrave Military Academy, has what Saban described as a ligament problem. Goode underwent an MRI on Saturday, but Saban did not release the results.

? Alabama’ recruiting haul for 2008 continued Saturday when the Tide landed another prospect.

Norcross, Ga., native Devonta Bolton, a three-star “athlete” according to both and, publicly committed to Alabama over Auburn, Boston College, Georgia and Florida.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bolton played safety and wide receiver in high school. The Tide recruited him as a wide out. He was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds.

“I’ve been feeling Alabama since I went to their spring game and there were 92,000 people there,” Bolton told

“That was amazing. It shows how hungry their fans are for their football. They don’t have professional teams,
so it’s college and high school for them.”

Bolton’s decision gives Alabama 14 public commitments.

Josh Cooper, Daily Sports Writer


AUBURN — Auburn’s football team worked out in separate groups Saturday for the third straight day.

Freshmen and select veterans practice for 90 minutes in the morning, then gave way to the rest of the team for an afternoon workout. The team worked out in shoulder pads and helmets for the first time in preseason.

This marked the end of separate workouts for the Tigers, who will go with combined workouts for the rest of preseason.

“We had a little contact in pads and we will get in more work tomorrow,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. “When we start working out as a group, we’ll have more rest between reps for some guys. We’ve just about run out of gas the last couple of days.

“It’s pretty hard when you have to go almost every rep. But we made it through.”

Auburn seniors Tez Doolittle and Zach Gilbert did not practice because they were going through graduation.

Arkansas State

JONESBORO, Ark. — Corey Leonard says it is not his improvement that will make a big difference for the Arkansas State Indians this season. It is the guys in front of the sophomore Leonard, who is expected to be the Indians’ starting quarterback.

“I really think our offensive line is going to be good,” he said.

“They had a great spring and I think they are really coming together. They are very good.”

Junior Matt Mandrich, the Indians’ two-time all-conference tackle, agrees.

“I think so,” he said. “We lost a lot of seniors but we still have guys who have played. I expect our first five to do well. We just don’t have the experience that we’ve had.”

Aside from Mandrich, the Indians begin training camp with Kyle Koets, Matt Reibe, Vincent Thrower and Heath Lockley as the offensive line starters. ASU returns 14 starters from its second straight 6-6 team.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Ryan Perrilloux, the sophomore quarterback who was once a prized recruit but who’s made most of his headlines by getting in trouble with the law, was due to report for practice at LSU on Friday after head coach Les Miles reinstated him.

During an informal news conference with reporters at Friday, two hours after players were due at the West Campus Apartments, Miles had no answer to a question about how LSU players received Perrilloux as a player in good standing again.

“We’ve not yet reported,” Miles said five hours before a team meeting he said would mark that milestone. “It’s hard for me to represent welcoming him back. It’s tough for me to say.”

Miles said Perrilloux would be “no longer serving a suspension as of 8 o’clock” Friday night, when Miles planned to hold his first team meeting of preseason camp.

“We expect him in camp,” Miles said. “We expect him to perform and understand the premise with which he reports. I think he’ll be fine.”

The only conversation Miles said he had Friday with Perrilloux was about the reserve quarterback’s “approach (to) make sure he’s doing the right things. That’s all.”

Perrilloux was considered the top high school quarterback prospect in the country when then-LSU coach Nick Saban persuaded him to join the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Perrilloux has been listed by federal authorities as a person of interest in the counterfeiting probe and was arrested for trying to illegally enter a riverboat casino using his older brother’s ID.

Perrilloux’s reinstatement provides Miles with more flexibility to redshirt Jarrett Lee, a quarterback recruit out of Texas.

Senior Matt Flynn is expected to start this season.

Also competing for the second quarterback job is walk-on Jimmy Welker, a 6-3, 229-pound senior.

Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The reminders of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech are still plentiful around town, and around the football program. The names of 32 victims are printed in the team’s media guide, and game jerseys feature a memorial patch.

As they work through their first week of practice for a season in which they feel they are playing for more than just themselves, the Hokies hope their performance — win or lose — honors the memory of those killed in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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