MOBILE, Ala. -- Josh Bynes is a middle linebacker.
He likes being a middle linebacker.
So when he got to Monday’s first Senior Bowl practice and the South coaching staff threw him in at an outside linebacker position, the former Auburn Tiger needed a minute to find his bearings.
“They’re throwing us around at all positions to get us a feel of it,” Bynes said. “It’s not going to be a perfect day.
“That’s the way you’ve got to handle it in the league, so we’re just going to take it one play at a time.”
Bynes wasn’t alone among the in-state players who were thrown into unfamiliar waters. Auburn teammate Lee Ziemba moved to guard on the offensive line, where he is accustomed to playing left tackle.
“It was kind of weird,” he said. “But whatever.”
Alabama left tackle James Carpenter also did some moonlighting at guard the past two days.
“I’m way more comfortable at tackle, but I can play guard no problem,” Carpenter said.
Moving players around -- especially the linemen -- is an important part of the evaluation process, South team coach Chan Gailey said.
“You want to see if a guy can play guard,” the Buffalo Bills head coach said. “Can he play tackle? Is he a multiple guy? Can he play three positions? You want to know these things. … So you experiment early in the week and then, the further the week goes, you put them at one spot and let them play because you want to give them a chance to be successful.”
McElroy, Dalton reunite
For three quarterbacks who play college football in three conferences, the group throwing passes for the South team has quite a bit in common.
All three come from Texas.
Alabama’s Greg McElroy (Southlake Carroll) remembers playing Florida State’s Christian Ponder (Colleyville Heritage) and TCU’s Andy Dalton (Katy).
McElroy’s showdown with the former Horned Frog was on the ultimate stage: a soldout Texas Stadium in the 2005 Class 5A state championship game.
It was a shootout between the two redheaded passers won by McElroy and Carroll, 34-20 to complete the undefeated season in his only year as a high school starter. He threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns while Dalton tallied 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We haven’t talked about it much,” Dalton said. “We brought it up, but it’s nothing to keep talking about.”
Gailey on champions
With three players from Alabama and three more from Auburn, Gailey’s team has its share of former national champions on the roster.
But, when it comes down to drafting a player, does that even factor in?
“We want people who know and understand what it takes to win,” Gailey said. “And they know and understand what it takes to win -- to win the big game. We’re all in it to be champions. Everyone wants that beside their name. So if you can get enough guys that understand what it takes, then, yes, it helps you win as a football team.”
The University of Alabama officially marked two of the more important dates on its calendar Tuesday.
The A-Day Game that marks the end of spring practice is set for April 16 in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The school said kickoff is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m., pending a decision from ESPN which still could decide to televise the scrimmage live for the third straight year.
UA also announced the 2011 homecoming opponent will be Vanderbilt, which comes to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 8. Game time likely will not be determined until the fall, because the television rights holders have final say on those matters. The past two homecoming games didn’t start until after sunset.