Countdown to Kickoff
Tide Football Welcomes Newcomers to Campus


Sunday, August 04, 2002

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- University of Alabama football coach Dennis Franchione welcomed 25 newcomers to the Tide football program Sunday afternoon as preparations for the 2002 football season officially got underway.

"I'm excited," Franchione said, "this group is a special one.  I think everyone is ready to get started and that will at 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Monday.  We'll let the freshmen start where they want and you might see the on offensive one practice and then on defense the next."

After redshirting all but one in the class of 2001, Franchione said he would not automatically repeat that move this year.

"Going into two-a-days, we're saying if they're ready to play, then they will," he said.  "There has to be a value for them to play that first year."

A total of 14 of the newcomers will begin practice on defense, including junior college transfer linebacker Derrick Pope, defensive lineman Ahmad Childress and cornerback David Scott. 

"We expect the junior college kids to offer immediate help," Franchione said, "when you sign them, you need their help right away."

After Monday's two practices, the Tide players will not be on the field on Tuesday, but return for two practices on Wednesday.  That evening, the veterans report, with the first day of combined practices scheduled for Friday at 10:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Here is a complete list of the players who reported on Sunday afternoon: J.P. Adams, defensive end; Brandon Avalos, quarterback; Jason Bolding, flanker; Taylor Britt, defensive tackle; Ahmad Childress, defensive tackle; Jeremy Clark, defensive tackle; Ken Darby, tailback; Grant Dickey, offensive guard; Zach Fletcher, flanker; Juwan Garth, rover; Cody Grammer, offensive guard; Chris Harris, defensive end; William Hold, flanker; Allen Long, linebacker; Nic Luke, tailback; Greg McLain, linebacker; Marcus McKnight, flanker; Grant Nailen, cornerback; Trevis O'Neal, tailback; Derrick Pope, linebacker; DeMeco Ryans, linebacker; Ramzee Robinson, cornerback;  David Scott, cornerback; Max Skembo, quarterback and Kyle Tatum, defensive end.


DEMECO RYANS: "I knew it was coming and I am ready to get started.  I'm not too nervous, but I am a little nervous.  I ready to see what big-time college football is all about."

NIC LUKE: "This can be a special class and I think we can expect great things.  (On having his brother on the team) "It has helped a lot.  He really helped with the whole process.  He told me to be my own man and do everything full speed."

GREG MCLAIN: "I worked hard this summer and hope I can make a contribution to the team.  I don't care where I play.  I'll even play special teams, I just want to play."