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May 15, 2012

It's still spring for Saban

FLORENCE | Spring practice is over for the University of Alabama - but it's still spring for Nick Saban.

"I still go by the West Virginia calendar," the University of Alabama head coach said Tuesday. "That means it's not summer until school is closed and the swimming pool is open."

That also means more Crimson Caravan stops, with Tuesday night's visit to Florence representing the eighth stop on the barnstorming tour to various locations ranging from Birmingham to Dallas. The final stop on this year's Crimson Caravan will be Thursday night in Columbus, Ga.

As is the norm, Saban fielded questions on Tuesday about local players on the Crimson Tide roster - in this case, cornerback Deion Belue and H-back Brent Calloway of nearby Russellville.

"Deion and Brent both had really good springs," Saban said. "I think they will contribute. I am proud of the way they've done things."

Saban also mentioned Belue, who played two years at Northeast Mississippi Junior College after graduating from Deshler High School in nearby Tuscumbia, as one of "two new guys" who have a chance to contribute "for sure" after going through spring practice. The other was running back T.J. Yeldon.

"Hopefully, we'll satisfy some more needs on our team with some of the players who are coming in this summer," Saban said.

"The biggest thing a freshman has to do is to mature into his role, and you can never be 100 percent sure how they will do that."

Saban was also asked about possible legislation of interest at the upcoming Southeastern Conference meetings in Destin, Fla., over the Memorial Day weekend, and while he deferred discussion of specifics, he did note that future scheduling options for the 14-team league will be discussed.

Saban said he was not aligned with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's proposal to have only intradivisional games (i.e., only West Division games for Alabama) count in the conference standings for championship game eligibility.

"I understand where Steve is coming from because last year, the West at one time had three teams ranked 1, 2 and 3 nationally, and some teams in the East didn't have to play any of those teams, or only played one. But at the same time, I think those inter-
division games are important, and are important to our fans."

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.



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