May 15, 2011

TideSports Q&A: Caleb Gulledge

TideSports.com recruiting analyst Greg Ostendorf caught up with Prattville defensive lineman Caleb Gulledge after the Lions' scrimmage on Thursday.

The Alabama commitment answered a number of questions, including some asked by TideSports members. He worked out on the offensive line in Thursday's practice and plans to go both ways this season.

Q: How'd practice go today?
A: It went good today. We had a little downfall on the offensive side of the ball, but on the defensive side of the ball, we're looking good. We're playing real fast right now, and up front, we're really doing good. We're using hands and moving feet and really getting after the quarterback.

Q: Where are all do the coaches want to use you this year?
A: I'm going to play a little both ways. I'll probably start off on the offensive side of the ball and whenever the defense needs another man to rotate, I'll come over and rotate in on the defensive side.

Q: Where does Alabama want you to play? 
A: They said it would be my choice, but they said they were recruiting me for defense. They said that's where they would like to see me play.

Q: Do you have a preference?
A: I'd rather play defense, but if it comes down to it, and I have to play offense, that's where I'll play.

Q: What do you feel are your strongest attributes?
A: On offense, I'd probably say it's my footwork. I'm a lost faster, and I'm better blocking in space than most people. On defense, I'm good at using my hands and getting around people.

Q: What do you feel you need to improve on in order to make the jump to the college level?
A: I think I need to work on getting stronger and really work on the footwork. I'm trying to get as strong as I can before I get up there.

Q: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
A: The team's looking great. We're planning on the defense being the best it's every been, including the '07 and '08 teams, which were amazing. This defense has a lot of leaders. We have a lot of people that have stepped up to the challenge. We're really looking forward to that first game of the year.

Q: With Justin Thomas also committed to UA, was the plan for you two to play together at the next level or did it just happen that way?
A: A lot of people don't know this, but Justin and I have been playing football together since we were about seven years old and our dads coached us. We didn't plan on it. We wanted to do what was best for us and our future. I think we both feel that Alabama can better our future.

Q: Are you guys still talking to Justin Shanks and some of the other guys about coming to Alabama with you?
A: Yeah, we're working on (Shanks), but he's just being stubborn right now. Another one we're really working on is D'Ante Lawrence. I think he could be a real asset if Alabama would go ahead and drop him an offer, too. I think he could be a big help.

Q: So is your commitment to Alabama solid?
A: It's still solid, but I guess the only school I would still be considering would be LSU. I might go down there sometime and see how everything is down there because I haven't taken my visit to LSU yet.

Q: Have you talked to any of the Alabama coaches recently?
A: Yes, I talked to Coach (Kirby) Smart the first day of spring training. He stopped by, and told me I was looking good. He told me they were looking forward to getting me up there this summer for a camp.

Q: Is there a player you model yourself after or compare yourself to?
A: For offensive tackle, I probably say I like D.J. Fluker because of the way he plays. He's big. He's physical, has good feet and he's a good pass protector. On defense, the one I probably like the most is Damion Square because I've seen him in action recently. He looked really good, uses his hands and has quick feet.

Q: Who's the player you've ever played against? 
A: The best player I would say would be Dwight Jackson from Miami Central. He played defensive end, and I was playing offensive tackle at the time. On offense, I would say Austin Shepherd. It was my sophomore year, and I was rotating in. I had to go against him, but I did have one sack on him.

Q: What are your thoughts on the recent tornado in Tuscaloosa?
A: I was actually watching it on live TV, and I really didn't know what to think. I was like 'is this really happening?' because it looked like it was headed for the school. I was thinking I'll be there in another year or two and if Bryant-Denny blows down, that could be bad.

Q: I heard you and some other guys helped raise some money. What did you do for that?
A: We were doing a fundraiser, a car wash in Prattville. We were just raising money out there, trying to help out. I was trying to come up soon, but I haven't heard from anyone. We had a few people from the school who were planning on getting a group and going up. We've been donating stuff at school.

Q: What do you do when you're not on the football field?
A: I like to stay active whether it be running, playing football, baseball, whiffle ball, just something to stay active. I like playing basketball whenever I can, and I play with the dog in the backyard a little bit. I just don't like to sit around. I'm an active person.

Q: Favorite restaurant: Red Lobster

Q: Favorite food: It's a tie between shrimp and chicken.

Q: Favorite sports team: I'd have to say the New Orleans Saints because I know quite a few players from down there.

Q: Favorite NFL player: Ndamukong Suh. I love the way he plays and the excitement he has whenever he plays, just the energy.

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