04 August 2010
Coach Nick Saban held his press conference to kick off fall camp today. The biggest news is the departure of sophomore safety Rod Woodson. Woodson and Saban "mutually agreed" that he was better off elsewhere. Saban did not seem heartbroken:
We can't make decisions about the future of players who aren't accountable for what they're supposed to do and not responsible as a member of this team. Regardless of what the issue is - behavioral, academic, football oriented - it doesn't matter
We have a lot of good players on the team I would rather move someone from another position to play where we don't have enough players than to allow someone not to do the right things and be involved. I don't think it does anyone any good if we do that.
OK. Keep your nose clean, boys. I know I'm going to be on my best behavior.
The most repeated internet rumor (WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME BITS OF TRUTH) is that Woodson was the ringleader of a group that thought it would be hilarious to shoot fireworks in the dorm. This was allegedly the last straw.
More news after the jump.
There are 105 roster spots available in fall camp (including the 85 scholarship players and 20 walk-ons). 104 of those spots are filled. Blake Sims will be the 105th if the NCAA Clearinghouse approves him. Word is expected as soon as today.
Not among the 105 is Deion Belue, who is still awaiting NCAA word. If he is cleared, he would likely start with the team when fall camp ends and be eligible for the San Jose State game. The relative positions of these two young men could say a lot about who the staff expects to contribute immediately and who will not. Sims is awfully athletic and could be tried at a number of positions...
All of the 105 players are healthy and ready to go. That includes Dequan Menzie (junior college defensive back transfer), who tore his Achilles tendon in April and has been working full speed with the offseason conditioning program for at least the last two weeks. Saban is hopeful that they will be able to "progress him", and he will be ready "from a medical standpoint" by the first game. This is huge news - especially with the departure of Woodson.
Also not among the 105 is Ronnie Carswell (wide receiver signee), who is eligible to play and healthy, but will greyshirt. Wilson Love (defensive line), Tyler Love's younger brother, did not pass his physical due to a high school ankle injury and will start in January as well.
Marcel Dareus will practice this week. There is no news on Dareus, who is awaiting the NCAA hammer for a trip to an agent's party in Miami. The NCAA troubles do not effect his eligibility to practice - only potentially his game eligibility.
Kendall Kelly (redshirt freshman) will work with the safeties, moving from his wide receiver role last year. Brandon Gibson will continue on the offensive side of the ball, at least in practice. There has been very little playing time to date for Gibson.
Mal Moore was lauded in the press conference by Saban, especially for his foresight with regard to facilities. Coach Moore has been instrumental in adding both end zone decks to Bryant-Denny, as well as countless improvements to non-revenue sport facilities (softball, tennis, soccer and volleyball have all seen significant upgrades in his tenure). Saban called Bryant-Denny "one of the top two or three venues, in terms of places to play college football, of anywhere in the country... We have tremendous facilities, and anytime you have tremendous facilities it certainly contributes in a positive way to the future of the program."
We'll have more tomorrow when practice starts.