News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — Alabama defensive back Trent Dean, a former Decatur High standout, is planning to play for the Crimson Tide for his senior season. He is just going to have to wait until school starts in order to practice.

A walk-on, Dean was not listed on the 105-man roster to start preseason practice. The NCAA doesn't allow programs to have more than 105 players in preseason practice until school starts. Classes at Alabama begin Aug. 22.

Last season, Dean was listed as Alabama's third-string quarterback for the Independence Bowl after then-backup Jimmy Barnes suffered a torn ligament in practice.

  • Wide receiver Nikita Stover was limited in drills Tuesday but was wearing a white jersey instead of a black non-contact jersey.

    The Hartselle High graduate came down awkwardly during a passing drill in Sunday's practice and walked off the field slowly with what head coach Nick Saban said was a hip pointer.

  • Saban said that freshman defensive back Chris Lett has not practiced for a few days and that he has a pre-existing medical condition.

    According to, Lett's high school coach Mike Bennett said that he has diabetes and is receiving treatment.

    Lett was a four-star recruit, according to rated him a three-star recruit.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — After four concussions, two bad knees and a bad thigh, Auburn linebacker Steve Gandy has given up football.

    On Tuesday, Coach Tommy Tuberville said that Gandy, who emerged from spring as second team at linebacker behind Merrill Johnson, will remain with the Tigers as a student-coach.

    "When you've gone through what he's gone through, it's tough," Tuberville said. "It's time to start evaluating the next 50, 60 years and stop worrying about football."

    Gandy, a junior, met with coaches and doctors late Monday. He said after Tuesday's practice that he deals with constant headaches.

    "Words can't explain it because you put so much in it and do it for so long," Gandy said. "It just means so much. I've been playing since I was 5, so it will be hard to go through a season without a ball."

    The Waynesboro, Miss., native started the last five games of the 2005 season, amassing 31 tackles. He started only once last year.

  • Receiver Chris Slaughter will have plenty of catching up to do after missing the first six days of preseason practice, coaches said Tuesday.

    Slaughter, who finally got clearance from the NCAA on Monday, practiced without pads Tuesday, but for him to have an immediate effect on the team seems unlikely.

    "You won't see much of him for a while," Tuberville said after practice. "He's got a lot to learn."

    Slaughter, a member of the 2006 Auburn recruiting class, attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia after he failed to qualify last year. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder set a Georgia high school record his senior season by catching 23 touchdown passes.

    "We're going to take baby steps with him," receivers coach Greg Knox said. "He was just out here today watching. He ran a few routes."

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily Sports Writer


    ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia's competition at tailback is intense as coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that Thomas Brown has made a strong return from a knee injury.

    Brown was the starter before missing the final six games of the 2006 season with the injury.

    Richt said Brown and another senior, Kregg Lumpkin, and redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno appear to be ready to play.

    "Thomas has showed no signs of fear or being tentative," Richt said. "He is going full-speed."

    Richt also said true freshman Caleb King is picking up the offense after four days of practice.

    Georgia worked Tuesday in helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys and shorts in the intense heat.

    The team's first practice in full pads is scheduled for Thursday.

    Georgia will open its season Sept. 1 against Oklahoma State.


    COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Jordan Steffy has played in only seven games since arriving at Maryland in 2004. He has completed fewer than a third of his 37 passes, been intercepted twice and hasn't thrown for a touchdown.

    Given those unsightly numbers — and the fact that Steffy has minus-31 yards on 24 carries — and it becomes clear there must be some other reason why the 6-foot-1 junior stood atop the depth chart when the Terrapins opened practice.

    Steffy's advantage over transfer Josh Portis and redshirt sophomore Chris Turner can be summed up in one word: experience. Steffy doesn't have impressive statistics, but he's the only guy in the bunch to throw a pass in a Maryland uniform.

    "My time here has definitely helped me," Steffy said. "It's put me in the position I'm in today."

    Yes, Steffy is the front-runner to be the starting quarterback in the Sept. 1 opener against Villanova. But coach Ralph Friedgen has yet to formally name a successor to Sam Hollenbach, who last season led Maryland to a 9-4 record and a 24-7 victory over Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl.

    Northern Colorado

    GREELEY, Colo. — The defense rested Tuesday after calling only three witnesses in the trial of a former Northern Colorado backup punter accused of trying to kill the starter.

    Mitch Cozad, who did not testify, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault in the attack on Rafael Mendoza on Sept. 11. Police and prosecutors have said it was a bid to get the starter's job.

    The prosecution rested its case earlier Tuesday.

    Defense attorney Joseph Gavaldon asked the judge to dismiss the attempted murder charge, saying prosecutors did not prove their case. The judge refused.


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee tailback LaMarcus Coker, the team's leader in rushing last season, has been suspended indefinitely, coach Phillip Fulmer said Tuesday.

    Fulmer did not say what kind of violation Coker had committed, but referred to an unspecified medical condition.

    "LaMarcus is a good person and has been diligent working with a medical situation," Fulmer read from a prepared statement after the team's first practice in full pads. "We've worked with him through it, but that doesn't excuse where we are at this point."

    "He must fulfill some obligations to the program and to me before he can return," Fulmer said. "I have tried, as has the administration, to work with him, but at this time he must help himself."

    The sophomore from the Antioch area of Nashville led the Vols with 696 rushing yards his freshman year, even though he was sidelined for two games by an injured knee.

    He was competing for playing time with junior Arian Foster and sophomore Montario Hardesty.

    "It takes a good player out of the rotation," Fulmer said. "Arian has established himself as the No. 1 guy, and unfortunately, Montario (Hardesty) is a little bit hurt with a hamstring right now."

    "We have our program and no one person is bigger than the program," Fulmer said.

    "We are going to treat each individual case on its own, but there are policies and procedures they must follow. If they don't follow them, they're not going to be a part of the program, whether it be indefinitely or permanently."

  • Wide receivers Kenny O'Neal and Austin Rodgers both missed practice due to nagging injuries. O'Neal, a junior college transfer out of California, left practice on a golf cart yesterday after injuring his hamstring.

    The Associated Press

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

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