02 November 2009
After a wonderfully long weekend off, the Alabama football team went back to work on Monday afternoon in preparation for the LSU Tigers. As is typically the case on Monday, the team worked in shells.
Here's what you need to know:
Colin Peek wore a protective brace on his knee, but he did practice with the team. He's still uncertain for the game on Saturday, but the fact that he was cleared for contact, and worked out in his normal spot during the media viewing period is a good sign. It will be crucial to see how he responds tomorrow.
Terry Grant worked with the running backs, but he was in a black jersey. Dre Kirkpatrick was in black and rode a stationary bike. Coach Saban indicated that both guys are dealing with strained muscles. Those tend to be "day-to-day" and we'll keep you updated on their status during the week.
It looks like the will linebacker sitiuation will remain unchanged. It looks as though Nico Johnson will man the position in the base defense, while Reamer will slide over from the sam in the nickel package. That pairing has worked well in the three games that we've seen it, and it looks likely that we'll continue to see it for the remainder of the season.
The only person who could still factor into thing is Jerrell Harris. After sitting for the first six games because of suspension, and a seventh due to "coach's decision," he saw his first action against Tennessee. He was on the Tide's kickoff return team, but has yet to take any snaps on defense this season. Coach Saban indicated that the off week game him time to catch up on a few things, and he is in a battle with Courtney Upshaw and Chavis Williams for the outside rusher spot opposite Eryk Anders in the Tide's dime-rabbit rusher package.
The key for Bama this weekend will be the return of the offense; specifically the ability to score touchdowns. LSU will likely load the box in an attempt to stop the run, though the Tigers are just 35th in the nation against the run. An extra guy in the box typically pays dividends, and will likely force Alabama to throw more than the game plan would normally dictate.
That means that, once again, Greg McElroy will be the focus of things. After a couple of poor weeks, he had a much better game against Tennessee. He didn't lead the Tide to a touchdown, so there is room for improvement. One thing to keep in mind for this weekend - in each of the last four game that Bama has faced a John Chavis defense, the Tide has had an individual receiver top 100 yards.
Even with the box loaded, expect Mark Ingram to have a good day. After losing a fumble for the first time in his career, expect the sophomore to play a motivated game. Lost in the wake of the fumble is the fact that Ingram equaled Shaun Alexander's Alabama record for reaching 1,000 yards in the least number of games.
Alabama will practice again tomorrow, and we'll have our normal report.
On a side note, keep in mind that the Alabama basketball team will hit the floor for the first time this Wednesday night in an exhibition game with Montevallo. Anthony Grant's debut as the Tide basketball coach will be at 7:30.
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