30 September 2008
The Tide was in full pads today for their second Kentucky week practice. It's pretty much business as usual for the Bama players as they have been kept "on task" despite the lofty rankings that have come from beating Georgia.
Both Preston Dial (knee) and Mike McCoy (hamstring) were in black no contact jerseys again today. It is an almost certainty that Dial will miss Saturday's game, as he has not practiced in more than a week. McCoy is still being listed as "questionable" by the Tide medical staff, though it is likely that he will miss the game and take advantage of next Saturday's off week to let his hamstring heal completely.
No one from Alabama has responded to Wildcat coach Rich Brooks claim that Alabama "should be well coached - they have the nation's highest paid guy." I'm not sure if Rich is aware, but Coach Saban hasn't been the nation's highest paid guy for a while now - in fact, he's 5th. And if there is a correlation between salary and ability does that mean that Brooks is the nation's 64th best coach? That is where his pay scale is after all.
Cory Reamer and his fellow guys at the sam linebacker are getting a lot of individual work in practice to make up for the lack of reps that they have been getting in games. With the way that Alabama uses its nickel package, the sams haven't seen much time recently. At some point in time the Tide will employ its base defense again for a large period of time, and these guys are being kept fresh.
More work was done to shore up Bama's kick coverage unit. While Leigh Tiffin's kick offs were considerably better on Saturday night, the coverage was not. When you consider how often Bama is kicking off, you would think that this group would have sufficient work together. Last week we saw the adjustment from five guys on either side of Tiffin to a four-six alignment, unbalanced to one side. It will be interesting to see what we get this week.
The battle to fill in for Mike McCoy continues to be intense. Earl Alexander had a big Arkansas game, and seemed to be the guy getting most of Mike's snaps after McCoy was injured. He did a nice job of blocking downfield, especially on Roy Upchurch's 29 yard screen pass. Expect to see either Earl or one of the two seniors (Nikita Stover and Will Oakley) get the start if McCoy can't go.
Tomorrow will be Alabama's final practice in pads this week, before shells on Thursday and a walk-through on Friday. The intensity level was high today, and figures to be even higher tomorrow.