News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — Defensive back Justin Woodall looks to be following in the footsteps of his coach.

Woodall has decided to take up baseball when the spring semester rolls around. And coach Nick Saban, a two-sport athlete in football and baseball at Kent State, is all for it.

“Coach Saban said I could play,” Woodall said. “He thinks I needed to play.”

A left-handed pitcher at Lafayette County High in Oxford, Miss., Woodall was a 19th-round pick of the New York Mets in the 2006 draft but opted for college.

According to Baseball America, Woodall was the top-rated draft prospect in Mississippi that year but slipped because of signability concerns.

Woodall says that on good days in high school he was throwing 96 mph.

“I miss baseball, so I am going to try to pitch,” Woodall said. “(Coach Saban) would have let me play last year, but all the playbook and learning the new system made it tough.”

? When asked which player on offense he felt has improved the most, defensive end Wallace Gilberry said without hesitation that it is right tackle Mike Johnson.

“He is light years better,” Gilberry said. “Down in the locker room, I told him, ‘You got better.’ It is tough to get around him.”

A 6-foot-6, 298-pound sophomore, Johnson saw most of his time last season against Louisiana-Monroe, Florida International and Hawaii. Now, he appears to be having most of his snaps with the first team.

Added Gilberry, “I’m not saying I am the best, but when I’m at my best, he is tough to get around.”

? It was another hot day in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday with temperatures hovering near triple digits again. Perfect for two-a-days.

The Tide practiced in the morning, starting at 9:30, and in the evening at 7:30.

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


AUBURN — Senior quarterback Brandon Cox has been named to the 2007 Manning Award Watch List, which honors the nation’s top quarterback.

Cox, who joined 35 quarterbacks from across the nation on the list, has a 19-5 record in three years as a starter with Auburn. He ranks second in Auburn history in passing efficiency (137.90), third in yards per attempt (8.0), fourth in completion percentage (.592), and fifth with 33 touchdown passes.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, and will be presented to the recipient following the bowl season.

The winner will be determined by a selected panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings. The three previous winners of the Manning Award were Matt Leinart of USC in 2004, Vince Young of Texas in 2005 and JaMarcus Russell of LSU in 2006.

Ross Dellenger, Daily Sports Writer


OXFORD, Miss. — Former Mississippi starting quarterback Brent Schaeffer has been moved to wide receiver, offensive coordinator Dan Werner said Wednesday.

The move clears the way for Seth Adams to take over as the Rebels’ starting quarterback. Adams, Schaeffer and Michael Herrick have been competing for the job since the start of preseason practice last week. Werner said in an article at that Schaeffer’s move was voluntary.

Coach Ed Orgeron gave Schaeffer the starting job last year the day he signed with Ole Miss in February 2006. He had been a part-time starter at Tennessee before leaving the team for a California junior college.

Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State football coach Sylvester Croom didn’t like what he saw Wednesday during the team’s morning practice.

He walked off the practice field, approached a group of reporters and delivered a few words that said plenty.

“Short conversation, gentlemen. There was nothing good at practice today. Any questions?”

Croom said there weren’t any major injuries to be concerned with, but the good news ended there.

Croom said he was “more worried about the injury to their character.”


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas freshman defensive tackle Andre Jones has posted bail and been released from jail after his arrest Aug. 3 on a felony robbery charge.

Jones is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He is accused of participating in a holdup in an Austin apartment where cash, video game equipment and cell phones were stolen.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, witnesses said they Jones acting as if he were reaching for a gun.

His attorney, Ariel Payan, said Jones is a victim of mistaken identity and was not at the apartment. Jones was held on $40,000 bond until he was released Tuesday.


BIRMINGHAM It was another steamy afternoon at the Alabama-Birmingham practice fields Wednesday afternoon as the Blazer football team worked through its second consecutive day of 100-plus degree temperatures in shoulder pads and helmets. On Thursday, the team will practice in full pads for the first time in preparation for its first two-a-day Friday, which will be followed by the squads first scrimmage Saturday.

With the season opener at Michigan State 23 days away, head coach Neil Callaway saw improved intensity on the practice field Wednesday.

“We were a little more spirited and emotional on both sides of the ball today,” Callaway said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in every area. I can’t say that one player on this team has a job locked down, it’s all wide open, so we’ll let them compete and see what happens.”

From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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