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April 4, 2012

Notebook: Players try new spots

TUSCALOOSA | A few players are getting a chance to show what they can do at different positions during the University of Alabama's second-to-last week of spring practice, including freshman Alphonse Taylor.

The incoming freshman worked at offensive guard Wednesday after spending the first 10 spring practices on the defensive line, but UA coach Nick Saban, as he often does, stressed the move shouldn't be considered permanent.

"This is just trial," Saban said. "We're just trying him there."

Elsewhere, redshirt freshman Brent Calloway tried his hand at the H-back position after spending previous spring practices at outside linebacker. Calloway spent last season at running back, so he already has some familiarity with the UA offense.

Junior Chris Bonds, previously on the defensive line, is working with the outside linebackers. Meanwhile, incoming freshman linebacker Dillon Lee has gone from inside linebacker to outside.

"The decisions about where those guys end up playing will be made as we gather information about how they do," Saban said. "Then we'll be able to make a better assessment of what the best position and what role that they have on the team really is. That's kind of where we are."

Left guard Chance Warmack said he was impressed with Taylor's effort on the offensive side.

"I'm so excited for him playing guard, man. He's an exciting player. He knows a lot already," Warmack said. "(He) came in with a positive attitude. I just want to take him up under my wing and help him as much as I can. ... He's a really powerful guy, a really big guy. He's gonna be really special someday - sooner than you think."

Alabama scrimmages Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium (closed to public).

Early prep
Four full months before fall camp gets underway, UA players already are being exposed to some of the schemes and tendencies of their 2012 opponents. Saban said the UA coaching staff began introducing the team to such things this week.

"Usually at this time in the spring, we do spend time on next year's opponents, especially new opponents," Saban said. "We have done that the last two days. Sometimes that creates a little bit of confusion with younger players, but we'd much rather have the confusion now so there's a little better resource when we have to play these people that we're unaccustomed to."

Key opponents who will be new to UA's players this fall include Missouri, Texas A&M and Michigan.

Quotable
"I ride them jet skis as fast as they'll go and every two years I get the fastest ones they make to replace the last ones. Every year, Miss Terry (wife) has a fit, but that's just the way it goes." - Saban on his adventurous side.

Tidebits
RB Blake Sims (hip) and OL Arie Kouandjio (knee) were on stationary bikes on Wednesday. RB Eddie Lacy (toe) also was not involved in individual drills. ... Quarterback Phillip Sims continues to be an observer during individual drills while recovering from shoulder soreness. ... Practice visitors Wednesday included former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner and ESPN studio personality Desmond Howard.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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