12 August 2010
Thursday is another day of two-a-days for the Alabama football team, and the first practice was held outside in the morning heat. The practice was in full pads, and was more eventful for the off the field news that came out during the practice than for anything that happened on the field.
Here's what you need to know:
Jeramie Griffin has been placed on a medical hardship scholarship. He had reconstructive knee surgery last fall, and was unable to pass his physical to participate in the beginning of fall camp. This isn't much of a shock, since there had been hints of this happening for the last week or so. With Griffin gone, this likely means that Mike Marrow will stay at running back and be Bama's "big" back. Though, really, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson are plenty big. Coach Saban indicated that the offer was there for Griffin to remain with the team in a student coaching capacity. By my numbers, this puts Alabama at the magic 85 for total scholarship players, though I think the Tide might actually be below 85 based on how some of the personnel moves were handled earlier in the week.
A full two seasons after Darius Hanks had a request for a redshirt for his 2007 season denied, the NCAA changed their ruling an awarded him the redshirt. Hanks played in just one game during the 2007 season, so a redshirt seems warranted. This is huge news for a kid that became a very reliable option in the passing game in 2009. He might not ever be the top option on the team, but he has clearly demonstrated the ability to make teams pay for double-teaming the receiver on the other side.
Of course, this means Bama now has just eight scholarship seniors. The fact that a team can be the pre-season #1 despite having such a small senior class should tell you all that you need to know about the massive amount of talent accumulated in the last three recruiting classes. What is a bit frightening is exactly how the numbers situation will work out come signing day 2011. Bama already has 17 commitments for next year's class, plus the three guys who grayshirted this year. The Tide isn't finished adding players to the class either, and will likely take a full group of 25. There will certainly be a number of underclassmen who declare for the NFL - possibly as many as seven. Even if all of those guys were to leave early, that would still put Bama in a spot where 10-13 guys would have to leave for everyone in a full class to come in. Of course, we have previously discussed the possibility of some players who we think are on scholarship actually paying their own way, and that could skew the numbers. We'll certainly be watching this situation closely once the 2010 season ends.
Word also broke today that Nick Saban spearheaded a conference call with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, several high-ranking members of the NFL Players Association, and several top NCAA coaches, including Urban Meyer and Jim Tressell (at least according to the AP). Saban indicated at SEC Media Days that he was prepared to aggressively attack the agent problem, and it looks like he's doing just that. He claims that the NFL scouts are not being held out of practice due to a ban, but rather to give the guys less distractions during two-a-days. He indicated that once school starts, the scouts will be back at practice. This is certainly a situation that is very fluid, and we'll follow it as much as possible. It is great to see that Alabama has a coach that is not only willing to push for action, but is actually capable of getting this type of thing organized and executed.
As for the practice today, there's thankfully not much to report.
Preston Dial was back with the team after apparently missing yesterday's practice. The absence was excused.
Kendall Kelly is still being held out for "heat issues" and is expected to stay off of the 105 man roster for a while. Don't be shocked if he's held out until school starts. And if he's unable to fully recover, we could also see him end up medically disqualified.
Blake Sims is still with the running backs, at least during the media viewing period. It will be interesting to see what kind of stats get released for him from the upcoming scrimmage.
With the first scrimmage of the fall set for Saturday, expect things to remain quiet in terms of positional moves, or changes on the organizational (depth) chart. The staff will likely let guys go through the scrimmage in the same order they are practicing now, and make any necessary changes in position and order of rotation after the scrimmage. Last fall we saw most of these changes happen on Monday, despite the fact that the team will practice on Sunday. The staff used the extra day to study film last year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen again.
Alabama will practice again tonight, this time in shells. We'll have our normal report.
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