03 August 2008
- No injuries. I told you that this would be #1 every day if it was applicable. There was a brief scare involving Freshman B.J. Scott where he got up holding his hamstring after a rough collision with Kareem Jackson & Rashad Johnson. He did appear to favor it some the rest of the practice, but he continued to practice despite it.
- If you plopped 40 football fans from Oregon down in the stadium without a roster and asked them to pick out the starting QB without a roster, all 40 would likely select John Parker Wilson. He is still considerably ahead of all of Bama's backup QBs, and not just by default. He looked sharp. He went through his progressions quickly and make quick decisions, followed by accurate throws. Obviously things are different when there is a live defense coming at you, but I worry less about a 3 year starting Senior than I would about a younger guy when judging how he'll react to that.
- As expected Cory Reamer has moved back to the WILL Linebacker position, and is working with the 1st unit there. The 1st unit was: JACK - Brandon Fanney, WILL - Reamer, - MIKE - Rolando McClain, - SAM - Chavis Williams.
- The other move came with the 2nd unit, which saw Charlie Higgenbotham at the WILL. The 2nd unit was: JACK - Alex Watkins, WILL - Higgenbotham, MIKE - Prince Hall, SAM - Eryk Anders. Obviously that will not be the case in Bama's first 3 games while Hall serves his suspension, and I would guess that if the game were played tomorrow that Higgenbotham would be the backup to both inside positions.
- Travis McCall spent a great deal of time in the backfield as the H-Back. In goal line work, with Nick Walker & Chris Underwood as the other TEs, McCall was the lead blocker.
- We saw a lot of shotgun work with a TE in the backfield with a Running Back. In some sets there was an additional TE flexed out from the line of scrimmage. A 2 TE shotgun look with neither TE standing next to the Tackle took some getting used to. The flex TE is something that we will likely see a lot of.
- During early punting drills both P.J. Fitzgerald & Heath Thomas punted well, considerably better than Corey Smith. During live drills later, with a rush coming at them, all 3 struggled a little, though all 3 also had a few punts in excess of 40 yards. Fitzgerald is still the most consistent, though Thomas appeared to have closed the gap some.
- As was the case yesterday, all of the Freshman players appeared to be at the bottom of the depth chart, attempting to work their way up. It did appear as though Mark Ingram & Julio Jones took more snaps with the 1st unit O-Line and Wilson at QB.
- Speaking of Julio Jones... he is impressive. The fluidity of motion from him is what really stands out. There is a reason that this guy was one of the most sought after recruits in the nation last year. I would be shocked if he did not play early and often against Clemson. The highlight of the day was a long pass - beautifully thrown - from Wilson to Julio in which he used his hands well to keep Javier Arenas off of his body and made a nice over the shoulder (the outside one, kudos to JPW) grab near the goal line.
- One thing to keep an eye on his the way that defensive substitutions change with the change in the play clock this season. If you haven't heard, the NCAA is shifting to the NFL rule of starting a 40 second clock as soon as the previous play has ended, rather than a 25 second clock after the spotting of the ball. This will allow the offense to much more effectively control the tempo of the game, and will prohibit defenses from substituting as freely. The type of player that will benefit the most from this on defense is a versatile one - a guy like Brandon Fanney who at 270 lbs. can be a pseudo Defensive End, or Mark Barron who can come up from the Nickel Back position and play like a Linebacker.
- Tyler Love is still practicing with either an air cast or large brace on his right leg, which suffered a stress fracture earlier in the summer. He's working as the 3rd team Right Tackle right now, and did not appear to favor the leg at all. The brace might just be precautionary at this point.
- Precautionary seems to be the word with Darius Hanks also. He was in a black no contact jersey again today. Coach Saban indicated in the press conference this morning that it is a shoulder injury left over from the spring and that they are just being careful with him. Despite the no contact jersey, he was involved in several plays with contact today. Expect to see him out of the black jersey by midweek.
- Leigh Tiffin was the only place kicker to really get any work. He looked good and appears to have that job completely locked up - no surprise there.
- Both Terry Grant and Glen Coffee looked healthy and fluid. They will likely be listed as co-starters this year, with the formation and situation dictating which guy actually takes the field first. I expect that they will both get better than 10 carries in every game and will likely split the heaviest part of the load.
- Demetrius Goode appeared to be much closer to 100% than he did on A-Day. He was able to make good, sharp cuts, and actually had some explosiveness back. He also, unfortunately had a problem catching passes today.
- The one incoming Freshman that surprised me today was Brad Smelley. He was working behind all of the other Tight Ends, so he is a good ways from making the 2-deep. But he looks the part of a Tight End and has good speed and athleticism for the position. Him being able to actually contribute at that position likely made the decision to put Michael Williams on defense an easier one for the coaching staff.
- The most impressive thing I saw today was the overall team conditioning. It was hot, very, very hot and the guys went solid for better than 2 hours. This team is in far better condition than it was a year ago, and that should pay great dividends as the season wears on.
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