28 August 2010
The Alabama football team practiced inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility on Saturday afternoon. The full pads practice marked the final practice of the pre-season, with the Tide turning their full attention to San Jose State on Monday.
Here's what you need to know:
The injury situation continues to be good. Trent Richardson was held out of some contact drills with a bruised shoulder, though he was not in a black jersey. If he's still bothered by it next Saturday, expect him to get less than 10 carries in the opening game.
Otherwise, there was no one other than the quarterbacks in black. That's a great thing to hear with the Tide headed into an off day. I'm sure there are lots of bumps, bruises, sprains, and strains, and the off day should help with all of those.
It looks like the staff might have settled on to a four back rotation, with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson leading the way, and Eddie Lacy and Demetrius Goode backing up. I expect we'll see all four of these guys, plus Mike Marrow next Saturday, but it looks like Corey Grant could be destined for a redshirt. His ability in the return game is unique, and that could be his ticket to playing time in 2010. That would require Trent Richardson to struggle as the primary kick returner, and I just don't see that happening.
Blake Sims continues to work with the running backs, but I have a hunch we might see him on the field before the season is over. We've heard several players talk about a wildcat package for Brad Smelley, presumably because of his ability to pass the ball. Sims is both a better passer and a better runner than Smelley, though, and if Bama is looking to add that package to the already dangerous Mark Ingram led wildcat, I have to think that Sims will get the nod. Having said that, if the staff isn't 100% certain what position he will wind up playing, a redshirt is probably best. I'm sure BJ Scott wishes he had redshirted as a freshman and gotten game experience at cornerback last year.
It looks like the Chris Jordan vs. Nico Johnson battle might come down to next Friday's practice. These two guys are really pushing each other, fully demonstrating how much competition can help a player. Jordan has also been working at the mike linebacker spot, learning everything he can from Dont'a Hightower. What's also interesting to see is that neither CJ Mosley, no Jalston Fowler have been working with the scout team. That typically indicates htat a player is getting game-prep reps. Bama has a ton of talent in the middle linebacker spots, and I expect we'll see a lot of guys play early in the season to get experience.
DeQuan Menzie has been getting more work with each passing day, and we haven't seen the staff have to limit him as much as in the first weeks of camp. His progress towards 100% health is a big factor for the Tide, with the trip to Fayetteville and Ryan Mallett looming. While Dre Kirkpatrick and BJ Scott will do fine at the corner spots, adding Menzie to the mix will mean that Mark Barron can stay at the safety spot that he plays in the base 3-4. If Barron has to play the star, the Tide's safeties become extremely inexperienced, with the candidates being Robert Lester, Will Lowery, Nick Perry, and Jarrick Williams.
Bama will be off on Sunday, before beginning game-week practice on Monday. Coach Saban will meet with the media at noon on Monday, and it is expected that he will release a depth chart at that time.
We'll have our normal report.
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