20 August 2010
The Alabama football team worked in full pads again on Thursday. The Tide is in final preparations for Saturday's final scrimmage of the fall.
Here's what you need to know:
The NCAA has officially ruled Alfy Hill a non-qualifier. This is an absolutely ridiculous situation in which the NCAA Clearinghouse cleared a player, allowed him to move 600 miles, enroll in classes for three months, and then on the brink of the fall term beginning, decided that a class he took as a sophomore in high school is not permissible.
The story as we know it is this:
He had a broken hand as a sophomore and could not take P.E. In what is a standard practice at his high school, he took a correspondence computer course in its place. This is a correspondence course that is executed during school hours, with other students, with the supervision of a teacher. The high school doesn't offer this particular course, so it has, for years, allowed students to take the class in this manner.
There is apparently a second class that has been red-flagged, as well, but we don't have details on that, yet. What we do know is that Alfy was set to be the first member of his family to attend college. We also know that Alfy took three classes at Alabama this summer and earned one A and two B+s.
Alfy will not be a member of the 2010 Alabama football team. What remains to be seen is whether or not he will attend prep school or junior college. The former would not cost him eligibility; the latter would.
As for the practice:
Blake Sims was in black and is expected to remain that way for at least another few practices. He has a dislocated toe, and he is not expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage.
Undra Billingsley was in black with an ankle sprain, and is not expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage. Darrington Sentimore continues to work in his place with the second unit defensive line.
DeMarcus Milliner was in black and still wearing a protective boot for a severely sprained ankle. It looks doubtful that he'll be 100% for the season opener, but I still feel he's a strong candidate to play immediately once he is healthy.
Chris Jordan was noticeably not participating in many drills during individual work, though he was not in a black jersey. A similar thing happened right around this time last year involving Rolando McClain mysteriously not participating fully for one practice. Nico Johnson took his place with the first unit at the will linebacker spot.
Kendall Kelly is still absent from the team. It will be interesting to see how long he is absent without any type of official word coming out as to the exact nature of his "heat issues."
Corey Grant has moved back to running back after working with the defensive backs for three practices. I still think that was a combination of needing more guys at DB while three players were injured and the staff taking a chance that Grant might have natural ability at the position. I think there is a strong chance we see him involved on special teams in 2010, and if that's the case, expect to also see some plays for him to make use of his unique skill-set among Bama running backs.
Michael Bowman is still at H-back, and I expect it to stay that way. Even with Harrison Jones joining the team at the H-back position, Bowman just seems a natural for the position. It would not surprise me to see him ultimately get some reps at the regular tight end spot, as well. I'm betting that we see him take a redshirt in 2010, similar to how BJ Scott took one in 2009.
Several players commented during the post-practice media conference that the intensity level has increased considerably since the player-led meeting on Monday. Credit Preston Dial for getting things going there, and Greg McElroy, Dont'a Hightower, and Marcell Dareus for hammering the point home. Don't be shocked to see several of those same names when Bama announces its permanent captains at the end of the year.
It's been a very quiet preseason in terms of big jumps on the depth chart, as well as for true freshmen cracking the potential two-deep. That's a good thing. The less Bama has to rely on young players helping immediately, the better shape the program is in. When elite athletes like Jalston Fowler and DeAndrew White aren't immediately in line for playing time, it means you've got some ridiculous talent in front of them.
White still has a chance to work his way into the receiving rotation with a big scrimmage Saturday. His unique skill-set makes a strong candidate to beat out several other young receivers in attempting to crack the early season rotation.
Tomorrow will likely be a lighter practice for the team, as the staff has historically used the Friday preceding scrimmages as a game-week simulation walk-through practice. If there is any news to report, we'll let you know. Otherwise, expect another guess at how the depth chart looks at this time.
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