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August 27, 2007

Saban suspends two starters for season opener

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama receiver Keith Brown and linebacker Prince Hall have been suspended for the season opener against Western Carolina for unspecified violations of team rules, coach Nick Saban said Monday.

Saban said both 2006 starters had been working in backup roles throughout fall camp in the Crimson Tide's practices, which are closed to the media.

"We probably have as much depth at receiver as any position on the team," he said. "We probably have as little depth at linebacker as any position on our team. It gives someone else an opportunity to show what they can do when these kind of circumstances arise."

Rolando McClain, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound freshman, will start in Hall's place alongside Darren Mustin at inside linebacker. Sophomore Mike McCoy will take Brown's place in the starting lineup.

The suspensions were for only one game, but Saban said Brown and Hall will have to compete for their positions again.

Hall started nine games as a freshman and finished with 77 tackles.

Brown has been the Tide's No. 2 receiver the past two seasons and gained 590 yards on 44 catches last season.

Cornerback Simeon Castille, defensive end Brandon Deaderick, tailback Roy Upchurch and linebacker Brandon Fanney have all been arrested over the summer. They were not suspended.

Castille, Upchurch and Fanney have all pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct. Castille was arrested in a separate incident from the other three, and his attorney entered the plea Monday morning.

Deaderick has applied for youthful offender status on charges of criminal mischief, resisting arrest and providing a false name.

Saban would not elaborate on what the two suspended players did to warrant the punishment.

"These issues are handled internally," he said. "The players have some right to privacy about family issues and we're not going to violate that.

"These particular players have reached a phase where punishment - and taking away a game from them - is something we feel is necessary to do at that time."

For more coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide, check out BamaOnLine.com.



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