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March 6, 2012TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy will not participate in spring practice while recovering from surgery to repair a turf toe injury, coach Nick Saban said Tuesday.
Lacy, Alabama's most experienced returning rusher, served as Trent Richardson's immediate backup last season and rushed for 674 yards, and an average of 7.1 yards per carry, despite playing through toe pain for the majority of the season.
Lacy was limited in practices last fall to help manage the injury. Saban also said offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio will miss spring drills following surgery as well.
"Both guys are coming off surgeries and are not ready. We knew that when they got the surgeries they got, so this is no surprise to anyone," Saban said. "Everyone else who had offseason surgery of any kind or have any issues will be practicing and have participated in the offseason to some degree. They may not have started from day one, but they are participating in the offseason program to some degree."
Saban also said linebacker C.J. Mosley, who dislocated his hip in the BCS National Championship Game, has recovered nicely and was cleared last week to participate fully in the offseason program.
UA opens spring practice Friday.
Click here for audio from Saban's meeting with the media.
Calloway on move
Redshirt freshman Brent Calloway will practice at weakside linebacker in the spring after spending last fall at running back, though Saban stressed the move is experimental rather than permanent.
"It's always my disposition to look at the guy at what he didn't do. You can always move him back to what he was doing. He already did that for a year, he already knows that," Saban said. "We're looking at him at what he didn't do. We recruited him as a guy who could play running back, and could play linebacker."
Saban said there were no other position changes set for the beginning of spring, but said others could be forthcoming. He also said players who changed positions last fall will remain in those positions. That would include Bradley Sylve, who is working at cornerback now after moving from wide receiver in the fall.
Saban on kick spots
New NCAA rules will spot kickoffs at the 35-yard line instead of the 30, and spot touchbacks at the 25 instead of the 20. Saban said the measures were approved in the interest of player safety, and that the rule would not have affected Alabama's kicks very often had it been in place last year.
"I think if you've got a guy who can kick it out of the endzone, why give them an opportunity for a touchdown? But you've still got to cover the kicks," Saban said. "If you took our kicks last year, we would have had a few more touchbacks, but the five yards would not have made a difference; maybe about 25 percent of the kicks."
Three players won't return
Offensive lineman Tyler Love, defensive lineman Undra Billingsley and punter Jay Williams will not return to the UA football program.
"Jay Williams has decided not to participate in football and will try to play baseball," Saban said. "Tyler Love and Undra Billingsley both graduated. Both guys have a fifth year, both guys chose not to come back. They're going to go ahead and graduate and move on, which happens on occasion with fifth-year guys."
Three remain suspended
Three suspensions will leave Alabama somewhat short-handed at wide receiver when spring practice begins. Saban said Michael Bowman, Ronald Carswell and Duron Carter, who were suspended at different times last year, remain suspended.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.