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Could Julio Jones and tailback Mark Ingram miss Alabama's opener

Cable Guy

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Only days before opening the season against No. 7 Virginia Tech, Alabama coach Nick Saban won't say whether he will play receiver Julio Jones and tailback Mark Ingram pending an NCAA ruling on their eligibility.

A university investigation concluded Jones and Ingram committed no violations by taking a Gulf Coast fishing trip paid for by Athens businessman Curtis Anderson. The university said Anderson was not an Alabama booster or fan; he described himself as a friend of the two players.

"I think that is up to the NCAA," Saban said Wednesday. "I don't think it's my decision to do anything. We are hoping for a response, and we want to do what we need to do to do things the right way, from a program standpoint and for the players' best interest."

The NCAA has not ruled on the players' status. Jones and Ingram have continued to practice this week with the first team in the lead-up to the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide's game against the Hokies in Atlanta (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).

The Tuscaloosa News reported last week that a member of Alabama's compliance staff had flown to Indianapolis to meet with NCAA enforcement representatives.

Jones was the AP's SEC Freshman of the Year last season and led the Tide with 58 catches for 924 yards. Ingram is the Tide's leading returning rusher after rushing for 728 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns as a freshman and is set to replace All-SEC tailback Glen Coffee.

"I think the institution has handled the situation with tremendous professional integrity and we're hopeful that we'll have some kind of resolution to this situation in the short term," Saban said.

He also said defensive end Brandon Deaderick probably won't play Saturday. Deaderick was shot in the arm during a robbery attempt. He was released from the hospital Tuesday night.

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