October 12, 2007

BOL Notebook: Higher priorities for OL Britt

Justin Britt gained a sobering perspective on the importance of sport this week, and the offensive lineman from Cullman has much more on his mind than football.

Alabama's left guard missed his fourth consecutive practice Thursday, according to UA media relations. Britt has missed preparations for Alabama's game at Ole Miss to be with his hospitalized mother, who is recovering from a head injury. As of Thursday, it remained undetermined if Britt would even travel to Oxford with the team, much less play.

"I don't think a football game from a priority standpoint is really even in the same hemisphere as the priority the family has right now and that we have for them," coach Nick Saban said on Wednesday. "His feelings about whether he would want to participate, could participate, or whatever, would certainly be the driving force behind how we would handle him in this game."

According to a statement released by the family, Vera Britt's recovery has made significant progress of late.

Center Antoine Caldwell has been working at Britt's left guard spot during practice this week, while Evan Cardwell has handled Caldwell's usual spot at center.

HIGH PRAISE - So who stacks up better as a defensive back: Alabama All-SEC CB Simeon Castille when he was a freshman in 2004, or 2007 freshman Kareem Jackson? Believe it or not, Castille himself gives the nod to his young teammate.

"I'd have to take Kareem," said Castille. "I was pretty good [in 2004], but I know he's faster than I was."

Castille played in 11 of 12 games as a freshman, making 14 tackles and two interceptions.

THE NAME GAME - Antoine Caldwell said there has been a bit of name confusion among the coaching staff on offensive linemen with similar-sounding names, but perhaps not the obvious.

"We've got a Cardwell and a Caldwell, we have a Stabler and a Stadler, it's one of the weirdest [things]," said Caldwell. "But coach [Saban] has a bigger problem with calling me Andre and Andre [Smith] Antoine. … He ain't too good with that."

ETC. - Alabama return specialist Javier Arenas said opponents are angling punts and sacrificing distance for altitude to help contain his 13.3-yard average. "They're kicking it real, real high," Arenas said. "… If look up at the ball, look back down at my left and my right hold-up guys, then look back up and it's still not there yet, I know I've got to fair catch it." Arenas last broke a long punt return Sept. 15 against Arkansas. … According to Saban, DE Bobby Greenwood and dimeback Ali Sharrief will be game-time decisions. Greenwood practiced in a crimson jersey (full contact) this week, while Sharrief wore a black (non-contact) jersey.

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