published Saturday, April 10th, 2010

NCAA rules Bama's Green ineligible

By Michael Casagrande

sports@timesfreepress.com

The NCAA has declared Alabama defensive back Robby Green ineligible for the 2010 season, according to a news release from the university late Friday afternoon.

No specific reason was cited for the decision that dealt another blow to the Crimson Tide secondary.

Green -- a free safety, nickel back and special teams player from New Orleans -- will be permitted to practice and will remain under scholarship.

"His attitude has been outs-tanding through this, and his effort in practice has been very good as well," coach Nick Saban said in the two-paragraph news release. "Even if he isn't playing, he can still have a significant impact on our team by helping out the younger players in the secondary and competing against the offense to make them better.

"We look forward to having Robby back on the field next fall for his senior season."

As a sophomore in 2009, Green made 33 tackles, broke up six passes and had the clinching interception against LSU as Justin Woodall's backup at free safety. He started six of the 14 games when Alabama opened in the "dime" formation that includes an extra defensive back.

Green's status has been in limbo since mid-February when his eligibility was first called into question. At the time, Saban responded to news reports with a vague statement saying the school was "determining the facts" of the unidentified situation regarding Green.

Now that Green is officially off the board for 2010, junior-to-be Mark Barron becomes the only Tide defensive back with meaningful college experience. Rising sophomore cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick played mostly special teams and sparingly on defense.

The news of Green's ineligibility broke a week after junior college transfer Dequan Menzie told reporters he had ruptured an Achilles' tendon and would have to redshirt this season.

With the Tide already thin at safety, Saban has shuffled several players through the position this spring, including receivers Brandon Gibson and Kendall Kelly.

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