17 August 2010
The Alabama football team closed its fall camp on Tuesday afternoon. An afternoon thunderstorm sent the full pads practice into the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
Here's what you need to know:
D.J. Fluker returned after missing Monday's practice due to illness. The redshirt freshman has been running with the first unit at right tackle since the half way mark of spring practice, and he resumed that role today.
Blake Sims was in black with what is now being called a dislocated toe. His injury is not severe, but could cause him to miss the rest of the week. If he misses the final scrimmage prior to the season it could slow his progress towards playing early in the season.
DeMarcus Milliner has a sprained ankle, and he was in black for the third straight practice. His injury could also keep him out of Saturday's scrimmage, though he has progressed to the point that I expect we'll see him on Sept. 4 as long as he's cleared by then.
DeQuan Menzie was in black for the second straight practice. The staff is saying it's a hamstring, which is more of a day-to-day thing, though it is giving the added bonus of giving his surgically repaired achilles a break.
These three guys road stationary bikes during the media viewing period.
Corey Grant is still working with the defensive backs, though Coach Saban indicated that it is a temporary move. As soon as either Menzie or Milliner are back, look for Grant to move back to offense.
Coach Saban indicated that Brandon Gibson moving back to defense is still a possibility if the injury situation doesn't improve soon. He's had a solid camp after a great spring, and has made good progress towards locking down the #4 receiver spot, so the staff would likely be loathe to move him.
Mike Bowman worked with the tight ends again today, and Coach Saban indicated that they are taking a look at him specifically at the H-back role. Preston Dial is a senior, Mike Marrow has moved to running back, and with Harrison Jones grayshirting, Bama really doesn't have anyone other than Brad Smelley set to return in the fall at that spot. Getting Bowman a look there could set him up for a larger role in 2011.
Chris Jordan continues to have a stranglehold on the middle linebacker spot opposite Dont'a Hightower. He's made huge strides since the midway point of spring practice, and it looks as though he has a solid lead over Nico Johnson at the will linebacker spot. His experience last season at the mike gives him the ability to slide to that position when Hightower moves to a pass rush position in the dime defense.
Will Lowery simply won't go away in the race for playing time in the secondary. The walk-on from Hoover was the first string safety opposite Mark Barron during the A-Day game, but it looked like he had been passed by Robert Lester early in camp. That has not been the case for the last three days, as Lowery has taken more and more snaps with the first group. He's a strong candidate for the star position in the dime defense even if Lester overtakes him again, so regardless, it looks like Lowery is primed to get a lot of playing time.
Nick Perry has also made a strong push in recent days for playing time. The true freshman has been getting a lot of reps with the first unit nickel defense when Mark Barron has worked at the star position. The thought of someone with Barron's size playing up close to the line of scrimmage has to make some offensive coordinators cringe. Perry has had a great camp so far, and could really add something to Bama's rabbit rusher package by allowing Barron the freedom to move around.
John Michael Boswell was back to left guard with the second unit after working at right tackle with the first unit on Monday night. Boswell has moved around a good bit during camp, and could be the first lineman off of the bench at either tackle or either guard spot.
Boswell's versatility has opened the door for Arie Kouandjio to make a big push at right tackle. The true freshman has worked with the second unit for the last week or so, and could be a strong candidate for early playing time.
School starts on Wednesday, which means the rosters expand. It will be interesting to see if Kendall Kelly is cleared to come back to practice after having missed almost all of the camp with "issues with the heat". Kelly looked to be making a permanent move to safety, but has been unable to get a bunch of really important reps. At this point he would probably start out behind Nick Perry in backing up Mark Barron.
One big addition will be Robby Green. While Green is suspended for the year, he's a veteran defensive back who has played both corner and safety, as well as the star position. His ability to work with the younger guys should serve the entire secondary well.
It's unlikely that anyone else who will join the team on Wednesday will factor much into the headlines, but every now and then we'll see a special teams player emerge. We'll give you an update on who all joins the team if the University supplies us with that information - they didn't last season.
Either way, practice doesn't begin until 3:30 starting with Wednesday's practice. We'll have our normal report.
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