22 September 2009
I guess my days as a weather forecaster are over, and that's good news for the Alabama football team. The weather in Tuscaloosa cleared up this afternoon, and the Tide was able to have its full pads practice outside.
Here's what you need to know:
The only player in a black jersey was freshman receiver Kenny Bell. His shin splints continue to be a bad problem, and likely have him headed for a medical redshirt.
Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch were participating normally at practice again today. Coach Saban indicated that they would be evaluated every day, and the fact that they have practiced on consecutive days is a good sign for Saturday. There's no guarantee that they will play, though I think Julio is almost certain at this point.
Demetrius Goode was back in a white jersey today, after having been in black yesterday because of a hyper-extended right knee. It's come in mop-up duty against two bad teams, but Goode leads the Alabama running backs in yards per carry.
With Goode and Upchurch back, I thought we might see Terry Grant back at receiver. I thought wrong. Terry was still working with the running backs - in the third group behind Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. By process of elimination, you should be able to figure out that Upchurch was with the fourth group. That doesn't mean that he's fourth string, but likely working his way back up the chart after the injury.
The Tide secondary continues to get a major workout with Arkansas and Ryan Mallett heading to town. With the pass-heavy Hogs coming to down, Bama is working a lot on its nickel and dime packages. The Georgia Bulldogs demonstrated that the best way to stop Mallett is to hit him, and hit him again, and when you're done with that, hit him again.
With that in mind, Alabama is working on getting to the quarterback. After a week in which the Tide had no sacks and only one quarterback hurry, the main point of off-season focus is once again at the crux of the Bama practice.
Tomorrow's practice will be the final one this week with a media viewing period, and we'll have our normal report.
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