News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

College Football Notebook


TUSCALOOSA — Running back Jonathan Lowe is supposed to return to the Crimson Tide lineup, according to head coach Nick Saban.

Saban said Lowe was not on the initial 105-man roster because of academic issues, but Saban added that he expects Lowe to be eligible. Anyone not on the 105-man roster cannot practice with the team until school starts.

Wednesday was the first day of classes. Receiver Chris Pugh, a Lawrence County High graduate, and defensive back Trent Dean, a former Decatur High standout, were listed as additions.

“We’ll probably have 128 or 129 players out there,” Saban said. “I might be off by one. We’re not going to have more than 130.”

Last season, Dean was switched to third-string quarterback for the Independence Bowl, but he is expected to be a defensive back again for this season.

? The number that jumped out from the stat sheet after Alabama’s scrimmage Saturday was nine. That was the number of tackles senior linebacker Marcel Stamps had. He also added one sack.

While the digit was surprising to reporters, it was even more bizarre to Stamps. But the 6-foot-2, 198-pounder will take it.

“I was (surprised) because I didn’t know that I had that in me,” Stamps said. “I was just playing one down at a time and one play at a time and just letting it go from there.”

Last season, Stamps was credited with two tackles.

? On the hallway outside the Naylor Stone Media Suite in the Mal Moore Athletic Complex is a line of Sports Illustrated covers that include the Crimson Tide.

They may need to add another one. Nick Saban is featured in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated. The story is written by Rick Bragg, a journalism professor at The University of Alabama.

? An attorney for Alabama football players Roy Upchurch and Brandon Fanney entered not guilty pleas on their behalf to disorderly conduct charges Wednesday in Tuscaloosa District Court, according to The Associated Press.

Neither player attended the hearing, held on the first day of classes.

Upchurch, a tailback, and Fanney, a linebacker, were arrested early in the morning of July 15 outside an off-campus bar.

Defensive end Brandon Deaderick, who was also arrested in the incident, has applied for youthful offender status on charges of criminal mischief, resisting arrest and providing a false name.

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


AUBURN — Two backup receivers have a chance to take starting spots, according to Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Borges said when Montez Billings fully recovers from a hamstring injury he may compete for a starting spot.

“He may be pushing the first tier of receivers,” he said.

Borges said the same for junior receiver James Swinton.

“The one thing about James is he is faster than grease lighting,” he said. “If he shows some consistency with his route running and with his receiving — he’s catching the ball better now than I’ve ever seen — he could be a major factor. He could push the first tier too.”

Earlier in the week, receiver coach Greg Knox said that Prechae Rodriguez, Rod Smith and Robert Dunn are the top three wide-outs, but there is a host of players competing for the No. 2 spots. Knox said only the first six receivers will be in the playing rotation this season.

? Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said fullback Carl Stewart (hamstring) and Billings (hamstring) played only half of Wednesday’s practice. Tuberville is hoping the two will return to full-practice action by Sunday.

Quarterback Neil Caudle (shoulder), defensive back John Douglas (ankle), guard Leon Hart (ankle), running back Tristan Davis (toe) and Billings rode the stationary bikes. Tuberville said Hart could be back in “a couple of days.”

Running back Mario Fannin, who also serves as kickoff returner, is suffering from a groin injury but played at half speed Wednesday. Tuberville said receiver Tim Hawthorne, who has been suffering from an ankle injury, scrimmaged at full speed. Linebacker Bo Harris has fully recovered from a shoulder bruise and is back at full speed.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily Sports Writer

Mississippi State

JACKSON, Miss. — The NCAA requested additional information from Mississippi defensive tackle Jerrell Powe’s attorney Wednesday, delaying a decision on his eligibility.

Officials said in a statement sent to the Associated Press by a spokeswoman that if the NCAA receives the requested information by Monday, a decision would be made on Powe’s academic eligibility in time for him to participate in the Rebels’ Sept. 1 season opener at Memphis.

Powe attorney Don Jackson said the NCAA’s Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse’s questions should be answered Thursday.


KNOXVILLE — Tennessee tight end Brad Cottam will be out for most of his senior season with a left wrist injury, the Volunteers announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-8 senior out of Germantown, Tenn., landed awkwardly on his left hand while trying to pull down what would have been a 34-yard touchdown pass from Erik Ainge in the team’s final scrimmage of the preseason Tuesday. He was immediately taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for X-rays and was in the operating room within hours.

Head athletic trainer Jason McVeigh described the surgery as successful, and Cottam was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.

“It’s a tough loss for us,” coach Phillip Fulmer said. “I hate it for him. We’ll research all the possibilities for him ... maybe even the possibility of a sixth year.”

Ole Miss

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top recruit has been ruled eligible by the NCAA’s Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse and will play for the Rebels this season.

Chris Strong, one of the nation’s top recruits and heir apparent to the middle linebacker position at Ole Miss, had been practicing under a special provision that was scheduled to end Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Strong is expected to help replace Butkus Award winner Patrick Willis, an All-American.

Walter Camp Award

Vanderbilt wide receiver Earl Bennett of Birmingham and Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden are two of the “players to watch” by the Walter Camp Football Foundation for its player of the year award.

The Walter Camp Foundation will narrow the 35 candidates to 10 semifinalists in early November. Last year’s Player of the Year recipient was Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.

North Alabama

FLORENCE — The North Alabama football team will begin its quest for an NCAA Division II title as the No. 4 team in the nation.

Coming off an 11-1 season that saw the Lions win the Gulf South Conference title and advance to the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs, UNA is ranked fourth in the American Football Coaches Association preseason poll, which was released Wednesday.

Defending national champion Grand Valley State is No. 1, followed by Northwest Missouri State, North Dakota and UNA.

The Lions are set to hold their final big preseason scrimmage Saturday at Braly Stadium at 9 a.m.

Jacksonville State

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville State head coach Jack Crowe has set his two-deep depth chart and his 56-man dress roster for next weekend’s season-opener at Alabama State.

As expected, a pair of area players are listed. Senior John Scott, an Austin High graduate, is first team at nose tackle, while senior Sean Darby, an East Limestone grad, is second team at defensive end.


With Wednesday marking the first day of fall classes at UAB, the Blazers’ football team pulled double-duty by fulfilling their scholastic duties in the classroom during the morning and attending a short practice session in the afternoon.

The Blazers went through 12 five-minute periods in shoulder pads and shorts Wednesday.

From staff, wire reports

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

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