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January 9, 2013

Calloway hopes he's found a home at H-back

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. | It was a season of back and forth for University of Alabama freshman Brent Calloway, but as he looks ahead to 2013 he hopes to settle in and focus on one position.

Oh, he's not complaining, because he'll do whatever the coaches ask of him. That philosophy has earned him two national championship rings. It's just when it came to finding a home, the 6-foot-1, 217-pounder from Russellville might as well have been a foster child in 2012.

Calloway practiced at three different positions from spring practices through the close of the Crimson Tide's national championship season in Miami. Linebacker, H-back, running back, over to H-back again and finally back to running back.

Just when he thought H-back was the position for him, injuries in the backfield changed his plans. First, Jalston Fowler sustained a season-ending injury, followed by Dee Hart going down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Needing depth at running back, coaches moved him back to the position where he starred in high school.

"It's been a little struggle," Calloway said. "I believe the coaches know that I can handle it. I think I've handled it well going from so many different positions back to where I started at and then going back to another position. It's a big change, but coach knows what he's doing. I just listen to him and go by what he says.

"Now I'm kind of like, 'I'm going to do both now.' "

Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned Calloway's potential at H-back given his athleticism a couple of times. Calloway said he's going to make the most of the spring and summer to master the position.

He aspires to model his game after former UA H-back Brad Smelley.

"Brad was a great athlete. He was a great guy to come up under and afterwards trying to step in his place and play," Calloway said. "I feel like it's going to be a little bit of a challenge because I really don't have any game experience. I played a little bit at running back, but I didn't play much at H-back, only the spring game. It's going to be a challenge, but I feel like I'm going to prepare well over the summer and when I come back out in the fall, then I'll be fine."

His athleticism is not in question. But lining up at H-back or tight end for the Crimson Tide involves more than just running routes and catching passes. You have to master the art of blocking.

"It's more so learning the blocking and learning the role of playing H-back for me," Calloway said. "It's different. If I get in there and stay focused and get in my playbook and learn it I'll be fine.

"In high school it goes from patting a guy out of the way to now you've got to sit up and get your feet set, get two hands on their chest and make sure you stick with it. It's going to be a little bit of a challenge because I'm going to be blocking defensive linemen. I'm not a big very guy. I'm strong, but I'm not as big as most H-backs or tight ends. It's going to be a little bit of a challenge, but I believe I'm going to be fine."

While he said he has no plans to add weight this offseason, Calloway isn't opposed to the idea if coaches ask him to. Well, so long as it doesn't interfere with his best asset.

"As long as I can keep my speed, I'm fine."

TideSports.com: Recruiting chat transcript

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron.suttles@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0229.

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