24 March 2010
The Alabama football team was in full pads for the first time this spring on Wednesday. With the weather in Tuscaloosa actually looking like spring, practice number three of 15 was held outside on the practice fields.
Here's what you need to know:
Trent Richardson was riding a stationary bike and wearing a black no contact jersey. The injury is not thought to be serious, and we'll try to get an update here after Coach Saban addresses the media. It is important to remember that last year at this time Mark Ingram was riding a stationary bike. This type of thing happens in spring practice, especially early in camp. There is no reason to rush a guy back from a minor injury to participate in individual work during the spring - especially not a guy who had as many carries as Trent did in 2009.
Milton Talbert was in black for the third straight practice, though he continues to work in individual drills.
William Vlachos is still in black and riding a bike. He likely won't participate in spring drills because of off season foot surgery.
Everyone else was good to go, including the three players recovering from knee surgery - Dont'a Hightower, Damion Square, and Jeramie Griffin. Hightower and Square are getting a lot of reps at their respective positions, and both guys figure to factor heavily into the defensive rotation in 2010.
Dre Kirkpatrick was back today after being excused from practice on Monday. No reason has been given for his absence, which means that it was not football related, and nothing for any of us to worry about.
Robby Green practiced for the second straight time, and appeared to get his normal repetitions. Still no word on his eligibility for the fall, though.
Kendall Kelly is still working with the safeties, though he is still wearing #81. Brandon Gibson, however, continues to work with the wide receivers. It is possible that these guys are moving around more after the media leaves practice, but for now they appear to be working at these spots. Kelly is now three practices in at safety, and appears to be settling in well.
Marcell Dareus is practicing with a large brace on his left arm, though it is not slowing him down. Watching him on the sled drills is the easiest way to figure out why he is a dominant player. He is considerably faster in getting from his three point stance into the sled than everyone else. The word "explosive" is what comes to mind.
While there is certainly no depth chart, we are starting to see some personnel groupings, especially on the line of scrimmage. Here what we're seeing:
Defensive line 1st unit - Dareus, Josh Chapman, Luther Davis
Defensive line 2nd unit - Damion Square, Kerry Murphy, Darrington Sentimore
Offensive line 1st unit - (left to right) James Carpenter, John Michael Boswell, David Ross, Barrett Jones, Alfred McCullough - Ross is working with the first unit because Vlachos is still out.
Offensive line 2nd unit - (left to right) Tyler Love, Anthony Steen, Brian Motley, Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker
The interesting thing there is the second unit on both sides of the ball. The fact that Square is healthy enough to already be working with the second unit is impressive. As his health improves, look for him to really push Luther Davis for a starting spot. Sentimore made a great impression during his redshirt freshman season, and that looks to be carrying over to 2010. Don't be shocked to see him slide inside and be a part of the rabbit rusher package along with Dareus.
On the offensive side, the interior is the surprising area. During bowl practices we were seeing Steen work with the centers and Motley with the guards. Now we're seeing the exact opposite. Steen and Warmack are both weight room freaks, and they will push both of the starting guards all season. The battle between the two of them to determine who the #3 overall guard will be should be one of the more interesting line battles to watch. The fact that Tyler Love is holding off Fluker at left tackle is also interesting. Is it because Love is playing that well? Or is it because Fluker is still struggling with his pass blocking footwork? We'll keep an eye on that throughout the spring.
The defensive backfield is where the biggest position battles are going on, but so far we haven't really seen the guys form into any real consistent groups. Mark Barron is safe as a starter at one safety spot, otherwise, it looks like it is still wide open for the other positions. Robert Lester has looked very solid through the first three practices, so don't over look him.
We finally have a jersey number for kicker Cade Foster - #43. That leaves Darius McKeller as the only new guy without a number, and the reason is simple... he's not currently on the team. Apparently he is still struggling to get healthy after having wrist surgery. He is enrolled in classes, but it is very interesting that he's not even on the roster released by the school today.
In other roster news - Jonathan Atchison has switched from #49 to #19, and Jerrell Harris has moved back to the #5 after wearing #10 for the second half of last season.
Bama will practice again on Friday and Saturday, and we'll have our normal reports.
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