College football Saban intends to use several freshmen in opener: Alabama has too many depth issues to let members of its top-rated recruiting...

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Saban intends to use several freshmen in opener: Alabama has too many depth issues to let members of its top-rated recruiting class ease into their first season.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he figures eight to 10 freshmen will play significant roles Saturday when No. 24 Alabama faces No. 9 Clemson at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

“If we’re going to keep these guys and we’re going to play them this year, then just go ahead and play them,” Saban said. “They may make some mistakes early, but I think in the long run it will make us a better team.”

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Among the candidates for early playing time are wide receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Don’ta Hightower.

“He’s not a freshman any more,” junior linebacker Cory Reamer said of Hightower. “That stage is over with. He doesn’t have a choice.”

Jones, considered the top-rated receiver in the country as a prep senior by many services, has attracted the most buzz.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder had 184 yards on seven catches in Alabama’s two preseason scrimmages.

Miami suspends seven players for opener: Miami has suspended seven players for Thursday’s opener against Charleston Southern, including quarterback Robert Marve.

Freshman Jacory Harris will start at quarterback.

Marve was arrested in October for allegedly smashing a car mirror. He was initially charged with two misdemeanors, but prosecutors decided to not pursue the case and it was closed in March.

Coach Randy Shannon said he expects Marve to start Sept. 6 at Florida.

Other Hurricanes players suspended are running back Damien Berry, receiver Kayne Farquharson, fullback Eric Houston, long snapper Chris Ivory, defensive end Adewale Ojomo and safety Randy Phillips.

Georgia’s Stafford steps up: For a season and a half, Matthew Stafford has been top-ranked Georgia’s quarterback, but not necessarily the Bulldogs’ leader — more of a caretaker than a playmaker. It is time for that to change.

“I feel like it’s my team, my offense and I’m taking that role,” Stafford said. “I think guys understand that and they’re buying into it this summer and I’m excited and getting ready for this year and trying to help guys out as much as I can.”

USC quarterback Sanchez says he is ready to play: USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, who dislocated his left kneecap Aug. 8, looked healthy in a game-situation scrimmage Saturday and said, “I’m glad I’m back and Monday should be a full go.”

Third-ranked USC opens its season Saturday at Virginia.


Red Bulls have won three MLS matches in a row: Mike Magee collected a goal and an assist and Juan Pablo Angel scored his sixth goal in as many matches as the New York Red Bulls beat the visiting Houston Dynamo 3-0 in Major League Soccer.

Goalkeeper Jon Conway had four saves, posting his second consecutive shutout and sixth of the season as the Red Bulls won their third in a row. The defeat snapped Western Conference-leading Houston’s winning streak at four matches.

New York midfielder Jorge Rojas missed the match because he was stuck in his native Venezuela because of passport problems.

Chelsea wins, leads English Premier League: Chelsea is atop the English Premier League standings after Deco scored on a free kick to give the London team a 1-0 victory at Wigan.

Chelsea has six points after two matches and leads Liverpool on goal difference.


Trescothick admits rubbing saliva on cricket ball: Former England cricketer Marcus Trescothick has reportedly admitted the mints he sucked on during the 2005 Ashes victory over Australia had nothing to do with a sweet tooth.

The opener said the candies generated saliva he rubbed on the ball to alter its movement, according to excerpts from his autobiography, “Coming Back To Me,” serialized in Sunday’s edition of the News of the World newspaper.

“It was my job to keep the shine on the new ball for as long as possible with a bit of spit and a lot of polish,” Trescothick wrote. “And through trial and error, I finally settled on [the] type of spit for the task at hand.”

Trescothick also said he had used the mints during the 2001 Ashes series, which England lost.

Tampering with the ball can cause it to move unpredictably, putting the batsman at a disadvantage.

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