NOTEBOOK: Opportunity knocks for Gibson

TUSCALOOSA | There were words exchanged between quarterback AJ McCarron and wide receiver Brandon Gibson in the University of Alabama football locker room after Monday's practice - but don't worry about any disruption in team unity.
The good-natured verbal sparring was about high school football - although it did show something of the nature of both players.
"It's funny you should ask that," Gibson said when questioned about McCarron's competitiveness. "We just got in an argument in the locker room. He's a great leader, a great competitor and he always wants to win.
"So we're arguing about high school football," Gibson said. "I told him that every year when I was at UMS (in Mobile) and he was at St. Paul's, we beat him.
"I've known AJ a long time. He's a great leader, a great competitor. He leads us in a way we need to be led. Both quarterbacks do, actually."
Gibson's primary concern, though, is his own wide receiver position. Going into his senior year, Gibson finds a set of circumstances - with the departure of Julio Jones for the pros and an NCAA eligibility situation that will sideline Darius Hanks for two games - that opens the door at that spot on the offense.
For Gibson, who played in 10 games in 2010 and caught four passes, it's a golden opportunity.
"I want to take advantage of every opportunity," Gibson said. "This is my last year here, maybe my last year to play football. I just want to compete every day with the right mentality and the right focus."
Gibson said he's also trying to help younger players, particularly noting redshirt freshman DeAndrew White.
"He's got a lot of ability," Gibson said of White. "He's really fast. He's also in great shape, so we can sustain a lot better in practice. He's a young guy, but I look up to him in some ways."
On the list
Senior wide receiver Marquis Maze and junior running back Trent Richardson were two of 50 student-athletes named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list announced on Monday.
The award, which is presented by Texas Roadhouse, is entering its second season and is given to the most versatile player in college football by the Louisville Sports Commission. Owen Marecic, who played at fullback and linebacker for Stanford, won the inaugural award in 2010.
Practice report
Alabama began its second week of preseason practice Monday with a shorts-and-shoulder-pads workout.
Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio, who injured a leg in Sunday's practice, did not participate in drills in the early part of the Monday practice. His injury is not expected to impact his availability for the upcoming season.
UA continues to await final word on the status of transfer wide receiver Duron Carter. The junior-college transfer is not on the practice field pending the evaluation of his transcript from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College. Carter is expected to wear the No. 8 jersey number that belonged to UA All-America receiver Julio Jones for the last three years, if and when he clears the eligibility process. Freshman Jeoffrey Pagan is wearing No. 8 on defense, but UA has several duplicate numbers on its squad at this point in the preseason.
Former Syracuse University and NFL quarterback Don McPherson - now a broadcast analyst for SportsNet New York - was at the Crimson Tide practice Monday. McPherson, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee who frequently speaks at college campuses on topics including gender relations, was scheduled to address the UA team Monday night.
Reach Cecil Hurt at or at 205-722-0225.