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FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007
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Bama notices McClain
True freshman gets attention for his size, ability

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — He’s big, and if Alabama true freshman Rolando McClain has done nothing else since arriving on campus, he has others noticing his size.

Wearing a No. 25 crimson jersey, sprinting and hitting tackling dummies as a new Crimson Tide linebacker, the Decatur High grad has other noticing his game as well.

“The size he is right now is pretty much the size I was when I came in when I was a true freshman on the defensive line,” said 6-foot-4 283-pound sophomore defensive tackle Lorenzo Washington. “I think he can contribute and I think he has proved to the coaches that he can play.”

CrimsonTide coaches have placed McClain at middle linebacker, and his responsibilities include serving as a “signal caller.” This means McClain will receive the defensive formation from the sideline, interpret it and then relay it to the rest of the defense.

It’s a tough job, especially for a freshman, but the coaching staff likes the improvements McClain has made so far.

“Like a lot of young players, he learns something every day,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “They have some eye opening experiences. Rolando is a conscientious guy and wants to know and learn new things.”

According to Saban, McClain had a tough time in the first scrimmage.

It was the first instance since McClain joined the CrimsonTide when he did not have a coach shouting orders behind him, telling him where to go and what to do.

But Saban indicated the first scrimmage was a learning process, and McClain had some of his best practices immediately afterward.

“After the scrimmage, he learned that’s how he should play,” Saban said. “He is in a difficult position because he is a signal caller, but he has made a nice improvement. We are pleased with the progress he has made so far.

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