06 August 2010
The Alabama football team was back in action for its first full squad practice on Friday. The guys worked in the brutal late afternoon heat in Tuscaloosa, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees. The team was in shorts and helmets.
Here's what you need to know:
There were no injuries from the first day of practice. Kendall Kelly was held out of the practice after struggling with the heat on Thursday night, but that obviously won't keep him out very long.
Jeramie Griffin was absent once again, and the reason appears to be lingering problems with his knee. Coach Saban indicated that he failed a physical given by team doctors, and he will not join the team until he is able to pass. If this lingers too long, don't be shocked to see him move to a medical hardship.
Harrison Jones was not with the team again, and it now appears as though he will wait until January to enroll. That move was likely predicated by Blake Sims becoming eligible yesterday.
Speaking of Sims, he spent the media viewing period with the quarterbacks. He spent Thursday night with the safeties, but was with the offense on Friday. It is interesting to note, though, that he was not wearing a black jersey to indicate no contact - something all of the other quarterbacks were wearing. That likely indicates that he spent time during the practice at another position, most likely wide receiver.
His time at quarterback could be to prepare him for a special package when Bama goes to the wildcat. He was a quarterback in high school, and he is a real threat to throw the football. He's incredibly athletic, and would create a whole different set of defensive problems than Mark Ingram did in 2009. When you think that Ingram would likely be the guy in motion if Sims was at quarterback, it has to make you smile.
After one practice the offensive line worked in the same grouping. That means that Chance Warmack is still leading the way at left guard, and D.J. Fluker at right tackle. The second group today was (left to right) Tyler Love, Alfred McCullough, David Ross, Anthony Steen, and John Michael Boswell. That's a bit of a change, with McCullough sliding inside after spending most of the spring at tackle.
The defensive line continues to be the most impressive unit on the team. Right now the first group looks to be Marcell Dareus, Josh Chapman, and Luther Davis. There has still been no ruling on Dareus, but you have to like the fact that he's working with the first group. What really jumps out at you is the depth Bama has accumulated behind those front three guys. When you've got Damion Square, Kerry Murphy, Brandon Lewis, Chris Bonds and Darrington Sentimore fighting for playing time, it's just plain ridiculous.
Sentimore was continuing to work at the back of his group, as was Michael Bowman with the wide receivers. It looks like these guys are working their way out of punishment.
Dont'a Hightower continues to reveal more about his role on the defense this year, letting slip that he'll likely play at the mike in the base defense, but then slide to the outside on rushing downs. What was surprising is that he listed true freshman Jalston Fowler as the main competition for Jerrell Harris at the money position.
Last year we saw the money position manned by an extra defensive back. The fact that we're hearing that linebackers will fill the role this year shouldn't be a huge surprise given Bama's lack of depth in secondary. Harris practiced some there last year, so he's not a surprise. But Fowler being in that company already indicates that this kid could be something special.
Otherwise there were no real surprises.
- The QB progression looks to still be McElroy, McCarron, Phillip Sims
- The RB group is still Ingram, Richardson, and then Goode and Lacy battling for third.
- Dre Kirkpatrick and BJ Scott are running in the first cornerback grouping, with Phelon Jones and DeQuan Menzie in the second group.
Until the pads go on, we aren't likely to see much in terms of movement on the organizational chart.
Mark Ingram will miss fan day on Sunday when he goes home to attend the funeral of his grandfather.While the focus there is on Ingram dealing with a tough family issue, from a purely football standpoint, it will give Goode and Lacy more opportunities during the next two practices.
The first Coach's Poll came out today, and Alabama received 55 of the 59 first place votes. That, obviously, makes the Tide the pre-season #1 team.
Bama is expected to practice in shells on Saturday afternoon, with forecast once again calling for extreme heat and scattered thunderstorms.
We'll have our normal report.
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