December 18, 2008

Upchurch out for Sugar Bowl

Alabama coach Nick Saban met with the media for the first time in nearly two weeks Thursday and covered a number of topics leading up to UA's Sugar Bowl appearance Jan.2. Here are a few notes from the news conference:

*** Running back Roy Upchurch will not play in the Sugar Bowl after undergoing a surgical procedure to correct a neck injury. Upchurch was unable to play against LSU and with the exception of a few snaps against Auburn, has not played since.

*** Saban said there are no players who are academically ineligible for the bowl game.

*** Tight end Colin Peek, who was ineligible under the NCAA's transfer rule last season, will be eligible to play against Utah in the Sugar Bowl. "If he can help us at that position, it's up to him to prove he can be a positive asset for us and fit in with what we're doing right now," Saban said. "... There's still some opportunity for someone else to contribute in the game as well."

*** Freshman offensive lineman Barrett Jones had a shoulder procedure done after being hampered throughout the season with an injury. "The decision was do it now and hopefully get him back for spring practice," Saban said.

*** As for potential position changes, Saban said there are a "couple of different players at a couple of different spots" that might be candidates, but did not comment with specific names because he had yet to talk to the players about it. According to BOL sources, wide receivers B.J. Scott and Chris Jackson are possibilities for position changes.

*** Saban commented briefly on junior college signee James Carpenter, saying he will not participate in bowl practices but will be involved in team meetings. "In anticipation of some of the rebuilding we have to do in the offensive line next year, when we recruit a junior college guy it's because we have a specific need," Saban said.

*** Saban declined to address the draft status of any potential early NFL Draft entry candidates. Noseguard Terrence Cody and left tackle Andre Smith are Alabama's primary possibilities for an early jump from the junior class.

*** Saban said players will go home Tuesday for Christmas, and won't practice again until a light workout after arriving in New Orleans the afternoon of Dec.27.

*** Check later for video coverage of Saban's news conference.

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