14 September 2009
Sorry for the lateness of the post, guys. Sometimes real life gets in the way of the site.
The Alabama football practiced in shells on Monday afternoon, working towards a meeting with North Texas on Saturday morning.
Here's what you need to know:
Damion Square's knee injury was as feared, a torn ACL. He will miss the remainder of the 2009 season. While he did take a redshirt year last season, he could still qualify for a medical redshirt. He won't be able to apply for that until after his senior season, so we won't know for quite a while if he can get this season's eligibility back.
Julio Jones has a bruised knee and rode a stationary bike during the media viewing period. His injury isn't thought to be serious, but the staff is being very cautious. The last thing that you want to see happen is Julio practice through a nagging injury and make it worse. It will be interesting to see if he moves into a white jersey later in the week.
Roy Upchurch made his first start at tailback on Saturday, and suffered a high ankle sprain on Bama's first drive. The kid just has bad luck. Ankle sprains can be very tricky, especially when they are high on the ankle. Coach Saban eluded to Roy possibly missing more than just one week, but not much is known other than that. He was also in a black jersey and riding a stationary bike.
Freshman receiver Kenny Bell was back in a black jersey, and on a stationary bike, with the shin splints that cost him a week of fall camp. The longer this goes on, the greater the likelihood of a redshirt for the speedy receiver.
With Upchurch out, Trent Richardson worked as the second unit running back. The newly named SEC Freshman of the Week seemed destined for more carries after his big game on Saturday, and Upchurch's absence will provide him that opportunity. Mark Ingram is still the number one guy, and appears to be over the flu bug that caused him to miss time (and a start) last week.
With Upchurch temporarily out, and Jeramie Griffin out with a torn ACL, Bama's depth at running back has taken a big hit. As such, Terry Grant is back working at running back. Coach Saban seemed frustrated when talking about that, saying:
We keep trying to develop him a role at receiver, but Mark was sick all last week, so he didn't practice much, so we had to keep putting Grant back to running back. Now Roy has an ankle injury and he is probably going to be out most of practice this week and maybe even beyond that, so it gets more and more difficult to try and make the transition with Terry and try and get the reps in practice, so he can increase his role as a guy we can use as a receiver.
Fortunately for the Tide, Terry is one of those guys who wouldn't complain if his hair was on fire, so he'll continue to work in whatever role the coaches ask him to. And even though it came against a worn out defense, he showed flashes of the 2007 Terry Grant on his long touchdown run on Saturday.
With Julio out, Mike McCoy was getting the first team reps at that receiver spot. I said in his player profile that I would be the first person to admit to being wrong if Mike stepped up.... well, I was wrong. And I am thrilled to say that. I'll say more in my review of the offense, but Mike had his best game as a Bama receiver on Saturday night, and if Julio can't go on Saturday, Mike will be the guy. Working behind him were Michael Bowman and Brandon Gibson.
The injury news for Bama's opponent on Saturday is much worse than it is for Bama. North Texas will be without starting quarterback Riley Dodge and starting left tackle Victor Gill. Considering how explosive Marcell Dareus has been in Bama's first two games, I have to feel a little bad for Nathan Tune, who will start at QB for the Mean Green.
Don't spend too much time looking at Saturday's participation chart and assuming that guys who didn't play on Saturday are definitely going to redshirt. While several true freshmen did see their first game action against FIU, the coaching staff is continuing to give steady reps to a lot of other freshmen.
Bama will practice again on Tuesday afternoon, and we'll have our normal report.
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