12 August 2008
- No injuries again. Brad Smelley continues to work in a black no contact jersey with a hamstring strain. As Auburn, Ole Miss, Florida & Georgia all had more sever injuries over the weekend, the Tide has to be quite thankful for its luck on the injury front so far.
- The Bama offense is continuing to move receiver around in an attempt to get its best group on the field, and to create match-up problems. Chris Jackson & B.J. Scott have surged ahead in their battle for the slot receiver position to the point that Darius Hanks has actually begun getting reps on the outside. Those three guys figure at this point to combine with Mike McCoy, Julio Jones, Earl Alexander & Nikita Stover to formulate the base of Alabama's receiving corps. Marquis Maze & Brandon Gibson are practicing well, indicating that this group could easily be a strength for the Tide offense - especially when senior Will Oakley returns from his foot injury.
- John Michael Boswell is starting to get more reps, now at right tackle. That position, though to be a three person battle between Drew Davis, Taylor Pharr & Tyler Love has gone through quite an over haul. Love is now at left tackle, and Pharr is working with the 3rd unit. I'm still not convinced that Pharr won't seize the 2nd spot back, but it is great to see Boswell competing this early.
- That 2nd string O-line unit is still very young. With Love at left tackle, Barrett Jones is now working at left guard. David Ross has flipped over to right guard, to along with Boswell on that side. Converted DT Brian Motely is still working at center with this unit. That still has William Vlachos & Evan Cardwell as the odd men out, which is a huge surprise to me. This battle looks to be a great one, and can only strengthen the Tide's depth this season. That's huge considering Bama looks to lose 3 starters from this year's starting group.
- Javier Arenas was once again practicing with the nickel back unit in the star position that he occupied late last year. The battle for the other corner in that formation continues to be fierce between Marquis Johnson, Alonzo Lawrence & Robby Green, with Chris Rogers falling behind. Today it was Johnson working with the first unit. It is worth noting that Mark Barron has also taken snaps at the star with Arenas at corner. That changes the size of the secondary considerably and might be the type of personnel adjustment made against teams that like to run the ball out of 1 back sets- like Clemson.
- The WILL linebacker position is setting up to be a run/pass platoon position between Cory Reamer & Don'ta Hightower. Reamer, a former safety, looks to be the guy in passing situations, and Hightower, a massive freshman, looks to be the guy for the run.
- Terrence Cody spent a good deal of time as the nose guard in the 1st unit. It looks as though Lorenzo Washington, Josh Chapman & Cody have established a terrific 3-man rotation at the nose guard spot. That could mean Damion Square is headed for redshirt.
- The SAM linebacker position is still quite a battle. Eryk Anders was still with the first unit, with Chavis Williams & Jerrell Harris pushing him. I doubt 3 guys will see serious playing time at this position, so something has to give here.
- With rumors swirling about the whereabouts of Jonathan Lowe, there is a spot to be filled on Bama's kickoff unit. Among the potential candidates (Marquis Maze, B.J. Scott, Terry Grant, Alonzo Lawrence & Kareem Jackson) Maze appears to have the lead for both the 2nd kick off returner and the backup punt return guy.
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