published Friday, April 15th, 2011

A-Day lists leave depth mysteries

By Michael Casagrande

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Rosters released for Alabama’s A-Day Game on Saturday lent few clues as to who leads positional competitions.

Quarterback candidates AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims were listed on both the first and second teams, so figuring a leader is still anyone’s guess heading into the 2 p.m. CDT scrimmage in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The intrigue also continues at left tackle.

Barrett Jones, the starting right guard the past two seasons, has been working at left tackle the last two practices and is listed on the first team for Saturday. The two who were considered the top options — Alfred McCullough and junior college transfer Aaron Douglas, who began his college career at Tennessee — are with the second-team offense on the White roster.

Saban said he wanted to stay away from personnel decisions since he’s technically the commissioner Saturday and not a coach.

“I don’t know if the commissioner should be making direct comments about where players are playing, and how they are going to be utilized on their particular teams,” Saban said with a smile. “I’d hate to put pressure on the coaching staff to do what the commissioner said.

Offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is coaching the Crimson team. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is in charge of the White team.

Both teams have the option of using one trick play that was installed after practice Thursday.

Saban said Jones will play “some at left tackle” Saturday. He likes having interchangeable parts.

“We have three options at left tackle in my opinion,” Saban said. “We’ll find out if Barrett Jones can play there. We know what Alfred McCullough can do, and we’re developing Aaron Douglas. So we have three options, so how that’s all going to sort out, I’m not in the prediction business. And we’ve got a summer and 29 practices before we play a game and a few games probably to sort it out too.”

Jones played his entire high school career at left tackle but still is getting reacquainted with the position. He didn’t know about the experimentation until a few days ago. Moving to the other side of the line also creates issues.

“It’s literally the complete opposite,” Jones said. “The hardest part, in your head, is switching the calls around.”

Giving back

Standing with an oversized novelty check typically associated with a lottery winner, DeMeco Ryans took his commitment to Alabama to the financial level Thursday.

The former Tide linebacker now with the Houston Texans announced his $300,000 donation to endow a scholarship for an Alabama football player. The Bessemer native’s gift will benefit football players studying in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

“This is special,” Ryans said. “The university gave me so much and made me who I am today. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to give back.”

Ryans has been in Tuscaloosa recently rehabbing the torn Achilles’ tendon suffered last season. The NFL lockout brought several other former stars back to town for workouts, including Rolando McClain, Javier Arenas and Brandon Deaderick.

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