05 November 2009
The Alabama football team held its final "open" practice of the week on Wednesday afternoon. The full pads practice was held in perfect 70 degree weather; a nice preview of what the forcast is for Saturday afternoon's game with LSU.
Here's what you need to know:
During the media viewing period Colin Peek did virtually nothing. He walked around in a black jersey, basically staying loose. Coach Saban indicated that he did work out a little after the period, the same as Tuesday. But at this time, he's still "day to day."
Terry Grant was in a black jersey again, and spent the media viewing period on a stationary bike. With his experience, and his limited role, he could probably play on Saturday without much prep time during the week. My guess is that he'll be a game-time decision, and that he'll likely miss the game.
Dre Kirkpatrick was back in a crimson jersey and working with the cornerbacks. That's the first time this week that he's been cleared for contact, and unless he suffers a setback, I expect that we'll see him on kick coverage on Saturday.
Coach Saban talked a little about attempting to replace Colin Peek if the talented senior isn't available:
Michael (Williams) has gotten all the reps now for two weeks. Our other tight ends have done a good job of filling in as well. In the last game, a guy gets hurt on a freak accident in pregame warm-ups, and the other guy is not probably as prepared. You have a better chance to do the things that he can do. We feel like he's done a good job and made lots of improvement, and I think we're prepared to go if Colin can't go.
These comments do bring up the point that replacing a guy when you've got two weeks notice is a lot easier than doing so on the fly during a game. Peek has missed practice time fairly regularly with a foot injury, so the Tide was somewhat prepared to absorb his loss. But Williams now having gotten the full reps for two weeks means that he should be far more ready to play the full role that could be asked of him.
There still appears to be a battle over playing time in the rabbit rusher package at one of the outside linebacker spots. Courtney Upshaw is the presumptive guy here, with Jerrell Harris and Chavis Williams battling for time behind him. Don't be surprised to see all three guys play if Upshaw struggles to get pressure on the quarterback.
LSU is 101st in the nation at allowing sacks, while Bama is 14th in the nation at getting to the quarterback. Oddly enough, the number 2.88 times per game is the magic number for both teams. While that might look like it means the Tide should have three sacks on the day, the combination of a good pass rush and poor pass protection should allow the Tide to get to Jefferson/Sheperd more than three times. If Bama is able to build a lead, and force the Tigers to throw, that number could grow even higher.
Bama will practice again on Thursday and Friday, but there will be no media viewing period for either practice. If we hear anything of note, we'll let you know.
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