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November 15, 2012TUSCALOOSA | Week after week, starters for the University of Alabama football team praise the practice efforts of the scout team.
And it's always populated with true freshmen who don't play on Saturdays and are to become redshirts.
"Those guys do a really good job, they've really improved. We've coached those guys every day to try and get those guys better every day," said UA coach Nick Saban. "They don't get the opportunities and ... get preparation for the game, but a lot of those guys work against the offensive players and we're trying to coach those guys all the time to get better."
On the offensive line, tackle prospect Brandon Greene joins interior linemen Caleb Gulledge and Alphonse Taylor among those spending the year in development. Three on the defensive line include Korren Kirven, Dakota Ball and Dalvin Tomlinson. Saban indicated Tomlinson could have played this season had he not arrived at fall camp in recovery from a knee injury.
"Just watching him day-to-day, he has really good quickness. If he wasn't hurt he's probably a guy who can help us because he's one of those quick-twitch guys that? -- especially when you play a game like last week, when you're playing against the spread -- you need guys who can run and chase the quarterback," Saban said. "I think he would do a good job in a role like that."
An unusually high number of true freshmen have some sort of playing role, some much smaller than others. Senior defensive end Quinton Dial, for one, has been impressed.
"The freshman guys, they're going to be special," Dial said. "They work hard and push the one offense. They're going to be good."
Others almost certain to redshirt include kicker Adam Griffith, linebacker Ryan Anderson, tight end Kurt Freitag, quarterback Alec Morris, safety Eddie Williams and wide receiver Chris Black, who became a redshirt candidate when he incurred a shoulder injury in fall camp that required a lengthy rehabilitation.
"I think some of those guys have a very bright future. I've been pleased with the progress of the offensive linemen that are over there working every day, Brandon Greene is one of those guys," Saban added.
On rare occasions, a freshman who is eligible for a redshirt late in the season is pressed into action. It happened in 2010 when safety Jarrick Williams saw his first action in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. But Saban said the likelihood for that this season is slim.
"Unless we lose some players we probably need to sink or swim with what we've got right now," he said.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.
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