27 August 2008
For the first time since Friday of last week, the Tide moved back outdoors for practice. Coach Saban indicated that this was primarily to allow more special teams work. The University grounds crew did a fantastic job getting the practice field ready for work today.
This is the first time since the release of the official depth chart that Julio Jones
was able to work at the second kick return position. He was, not surprisingly, impressive. Javier Arenas
, however, is not yet looking over his shoulder - he maintains his lead as the first returner.
It was just helmets and shoulder pads at today's practice.
Coach Saban seemed in good spirits, again refraining from totally disemboweling any members of the press. All in all, he seemed confident and pleased with the team's work - not only today, but throughout fall and spring camp.
Again, no players in black non-contact jerseys, and there were no reported injuries today. Charlie Higginbotham
has practiced "without an issue" all three days this week according to Coach Saban. As we talked about yesterday, wide receiver Will Oakley
is still a few weeks away.
Several of the "ors" on the depth chart appear to be working themselves out a bit. Tyler Love
is ahead of Barrett Jones
at left tackle (although both clearly behind Andre Smith
). Realistically, Mike Johnson
appears to be the backup at either tackle position. Marcel Dareus
seems to be working more with the second team as Luther Davis
continues to work with the scout team.
One of the most hotly contested and interesting position battles is at second team running back where both Mark Ingram
and Terry Grant
were listed with the dreaded "or". It seems to be mostly a distinction without a difference as Coach Saban insists that four backs will almost certainly play (that includes first team Glen Coffee
and fourth team Roy Upchurch
While placement on the depth chart will mean something, whoever has the hot hand will be the guy getting the carries - as is always the case with Saban coached teams.
Saban noted that there was no real difference in how the team prepares for an indoor game versus an outside game, save for the noise factor. It's traditionally noisier in domed stadiums. However, Coach Saban indicated the Georgia Dome wasn't traditionally a loud stadium; the 50/50 split in tickets will make this trend likely to continue.
Walkthroughs Friday will be on campus, before the team travels to Atlanta. Coach Saban indicated that the team will nearly never walkthrough on the road the Friday before a game. We'll follow up with more information about the travel for the team (and the fans) tomorrow.