Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Newcomers Back on the Practice Field


Wednesday, August 07, 2002

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- The University of Alabama football newcomers hit the practice field again Wednesday, but with one additional player.  Middle linebacker Derrick Pope joined the team for the afternoon practice.

"Derrick is ok," said Tide coach Dennis Franchione, "he is good to go.  We didn't know until late this morning that he would be out for practice.  He took his English final Tuesday and got the good news late this morning."

Pope, a junior college All-American, was excited about finally getting on the practice field.  "I finished up and am now ready to go," Pope said following the afternoon session, "I just had to get that last English test behind me.  I wanted to be out here with the rest of them, but doing well on that test was more important.  I really don't feel like I am behind.  When I had time, I watched football film to keep up."

Franchione was happy to see Pope on the field, too.

"Derrick secures the linebacker position both from a depth standpoint and talent aspect," he said.  "You want to be two-deep and not have to rely on freshmen if you can help it. I think all four of our junior college kids will make an impact this year."

The Tide veterans reported to camp Wednesday afternoon and the team will spend Thursday as an administrative day.

"It will be nice to have the veterans in and get that first practice on Friday," he said.  "The new players will think its Star Wars.  We will move pretty quickly from then on."

The Tide team will practice at 10:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday and then work at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.