21 October 2008
It was back into full pads for day two of preparation for the hated Tennessee Vols. Have I mentioned yet how much I truly hate orange? I might have, but once is just not enough to get across how much I hate that specific "color" that they wear. Really twice isn't enough, but you're here to hear about practice, not how much I hate orange.
Earl Alexander was back practicing in white again. It seems to be a weekly ritual that Earl ends up practicing at least once during the week in a black no contact jersey. Ankle injuries can be tricky, which is why Tennessee is likely going to be without Gerald Jones and Anthony Parker. Earl is Bama's biggest receiver, and given Tennessee's ability to stop the run, his size could very easily come into play this weekend.
John Parker Wilson is continuing to try to develop a rhythm with more receivers. For the first time all season last week we saw him connect on a downfield pass to someone other than Julio Jones. The threat of multiple receivers downfield is huge, especially when playing a secondary that features a player as talented as Eric Berry. Mike McCoy and Marquis Maze stepped up last week, but it would benefit Bama greatly for another person to become a real threat.
There are a bunch of options there, though the three most likely would be Alexander, senior Nikita Stover, and true freshman BJ Scott. Those three guys are high on a lot of fan's lists of players expected to have a breakout game this week, with "this week" coming every week. All three are getting a lot of reps this week as Bama has to be prepared to win the game passing the ball if the run isn't working.
One other addition to the passing attack that emerged this pack weekend was freshman tight end Brad Smelley. It looks as though he has, in fact, moved ahead of redshirt freshman Chris Underwood on the depth chart. It would be inaccurate to list him as Bama's #3 tight end, because Preston Dial would likely be the third guy used in short yardage. Though, to be honest, Bama used John Michael Boswell as the third tight end on the goal line Saturday.
Terrence Cody was at practice again, and again he was on crutches. The big fellow is working diligently on his rehab with an absolute goal of being back for the LSU game. The prognosis is two to four weeks, so there is no guarantee that he'll be back for the November 8 kick in Baton Rouge. He's getting daily treatment, and he's doing everything that he can to make it happen.
We saw a lot more of Cory Reamer against Ole Miss than we had seen in the previous three weeks combined. That could be the case again this week as the Volunteers figure to try to establish the run. Bama's nickel defense is getting its fair share of reps, but it has been nice to see the base defense getting regular work again.
There will be another full pads practice again tomorrow with a press conference to follow. We'll give you a full report tomorrow night.