08 August 2008
- No injuries again. This is the biggest thing once again. Yes, there are 4 guys in black no contact jerseys - Darius Hanks, Baron Huber, Ali Sharrief & Marcel Dareus - but none of those injuries are serious, and as other SEC teams are losing players right and left, the Tide has to feel very fortunate about this.
- One name not listed above is B.J. Scott who many expected to be in black tonight with a slight hamstring injury. He was in his white jersey, fully participating in all drills. This is a combination of the lack of severity of his injury and the toughness with which B.J. plays. While he did practice with an extra wrap/brace on his right leg, that toughness is likely what will drive him to early playing time.
- When the Tide exited the spring a lot people thought that Javier Arenas as the starting cornerback opposite Kareem Jackson was only a temporary measure... that he would quickly be replaced in the fall by either Marquis Johnson or incoming freshman Alonzo Lawrence. While both Johnson & Lawrence have looked good, an additional 15 lbs. now has Arenas up close to 200 lbs., and that additional strength when combined with his athleticism has him still running first string. Yes, at 5'9 he is considerably undersized for an SEC cornerback, but that didn't stop Anthony Madison from being a star player with the Tide, and developing into an NFL caliber DB. The extra strength on Arenas gives him the ability to be physical at the line of scrimmage with receivers, a necessary thing in Nick Saban's defensive scheme. He then uses his athleticism to keep receivers off of the ball. He'll give up a few circus catches this year, as Madison did, but he'll also likely lock down some of the SEC's better receivers.
- With the Tide working on timing routes, Earl Alexander used his height to his advantage to continue to impress with the first unit. Many folks figured that it would only be a matter of time before Julio Jones supplanted the former High School QB at the outside receiver spot, but so far Alexander has been unwilling to relinquish his spot on the 1st team.
- Rolando McClain appears to be taking on a more substantial role with the defensive play calling. Last season safety Rashad Johnson took over most of the on field adjustments, moving guys all over the place all season. I expect Johnson to continue doing that this year given his position of leadership on the team, but McClain is beginning to take on the more natural role of defensive "QB" from the MIKE linebacker position.
- Terrence Cody continues to show that he is capable of being more than just a situational player. It was assumed by many that given his extreme size that he would be unable to play more than one play at a time, but the big fellow continues to show that he is in good physical condition and able to be a regular part of the nose guard rotation.
- With Cody a viable candidate for nose guard, the position appears to be very deep. Josh Chapman has continued to take the majority of the snaps with the first unit, with 2007's starter Lorenzo Washington working as the backup. With this developing situation it appears that nose guard could very rapidly become a strength for the 2008 Tide defense.
- Suspended linebacker Prince Hall was moved to the 3rd team at the MIKE linebacker as the Tide begins to transition from normal "all-inclusive" fall work to specific work on the beginning of the season.
- Bama will scrimmage at 2:30 tomorrow, closed to the public, before taking a day off on Sunday.
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