“Rod Woodson will no longer be with the team, sort of mutually agreeing that it would be better for him to continue his career some place else,” Saban said.
“He will transfer and have an opportunity to do that. We’re very helpful in trying to get him an opportunity some place else. We wish him well. He did a good job for us.”
The loss of Woodson is the latest offseason blow to the Crimson Tide’s depth in the secondary, which began with Kareem Jackson declaring early eligibility for the NFL draft and continued with safety Robby Green being declared ineligible for the 2010 season. Saban addressed depth in the secondary on two fronts — the recovery of injured incoming freshman DeQuan Menzie and the fall camp plans for two players who were tried at safety in a position change during spring drills.
“We do not have any players that are injured now that will not be able to participate in practice, including DeQuan Menzie, who has worked for at least the last two weeks in the regular summer conditioning program,” Saban said.
“We are hoping to be able to continue to progress him so that he is 100 percent by the opening game. If he doesn’t have a setback from a medical standpoint, that’s very, very possible for us.”
Brandon Gibson and Kendall Kelly, who played exclusively at wide receiver last season, worked with the defensive backs in the spring.
“I think Brandon Gibson will start and settle on offense, unless we have a need to move him back to defense. I think Kendall Kelly will start and settle on defense, and we’ll evaluate whether we have a need to move him back on offense,” Saban said.
“Rather than sort of trying to do both, we’ll settle in with both those guys and see how they do.”
Dareus watch continues
While defensive lineman Marcell Dareus continues to await a resolution from the NCAA regarding his eligibility, Saban said the junior will be allowed to practice with the team in the interim. Dareus’ trip to a South Florida party is under investigation because NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from receiving anything of value from a sports agent.
“He’s mature enough to know that he created a situation for himself, he’s going to have to live with the consequences if there are consequences,” Saban said. “There will be a day when he’s allowed to play football again, and it may be very soon. And he needs to prepare himself to take advantage of that.”
Saban said he does not expect Dareus’ preparation for the season to be affected by the uncertainty.
“I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that Marcell needs to focus on the future of what he can do to be the best player he can be. Whenever his circumstances are determined as to when he can play, he has to be prepared to play and have a great year,” Saban said. “I think it’s important for his future, I think it’s important for our team, and Marcell is a team guy. He’s on the leadership group. He does set a great example in terms of his effort, his toughness, his attention to detail to execute and do his job well and finish plays. He’s also one to engage and try to influence other players. I don’t see any of that changing for Marcell.”
Freshmen on the fence
Saban said signees Deion Belue and Blake Sims remain unavailable to join the team until their academic eligibility is confirmed. Sims is awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse, and Saban indicated that one roster spot is being held pending Sims’ outcome.
“We have 105 guys that can report today, we have 104 spots that are fixed,” Saban said. “We still have one eligibility issue that is still being managed today, so we won’t have an answer on that probably until the end of the day. And that will determine who the 105th spot really is.”
Two defer enrollment
Incoming freshmen Ronald Carswell and Wilson Love will not join the team for fall camp. Carswell, a wide receiver, is academically qualified but will defer is enrollment until January, a relatively new but increasingly common practice known as gray-shirting. Saban said Love, a linebacker, will do the same for medical reasons. Love’s older brother, Tyler, is a third-year offensive tackle for the Crimson Tide.
“Wilson Love did not pass the physical, based on an ankle injury that he had in high school,” Saban said. “Therefore, he’s not going to be able to participate now so we’re going to have him start in January.”