09 August 2011
The University of Alabama football team practiced in full pads for the first time on Tuesday afternoon. It's a bit of a joke to say that the Tide caught a little bit of a break weather-wise when the heat index was 97. But that's nearly five degrees cooler than on Monday.
Here's what you need to know:
Defensive End Undra Billingsley was absent from practice after being hospitalized for what is being called a "non-football related issue." Immediate warning bells go up for anyone who remembers the "heat related issue" that effectively ended Kendall Kelly's career last year, but this appears to be a different story. According to Coach Saban. Billingsley got sick in his dorm room last night. Obviously there could be a residual effect from the heat felt later in the evening, but this sounds like he might have simply gotten sick. We'll know more in the next few days.
Both Arie Kouandjio and Ryan Kelly were held out of practice on Tuesday, though Coach Saban indicated that neither injury is serious. Kouandjio was injured on Sunday during fan day, and Kelly apparently yesterday. Kelly has worked at both tackle and guard so far this camp, as the staff seems to like his versatility.
True freshman center Isaac Luatua practiced with a heavy wrap (possibly a cast) on his left hand and wrist. No specifics were given on the injury, which means that it's likely not serious. He's almost certain to redshirt, as he's working third at center behind William Vlachos and Kellen Williams. He did practice today without limitation, so that's a good indicator of his health.
Duron Carter is still not with the team as the University has yet to admit him. He's got transcripts from Ohio State, West Palm Beach Community College, and Coffeyville Community College - as well as some online courses - and it's unclear which stop along his path is the hold-up. It does not appear to be a matter of questioning the validity of his transcript, but more a matter of the proper transcripts having not been acquired by UA admissions. There is still optimism that Wednesday will be the day.
Eddie Lacy and Brian Vogler look like they have put their injuries behind them. Both guys were in black on Sunday, but both have now practiced two days in a row without limitation. If they are able to come back out tomorrow for the morning practice without limitation (or lingering soreness) then we can all start to relax about their health.
Dont'a Hightower had his left hand taped, but it's nothing that will limit him. Quinton Dial is wearing a large brace on his right arm, but that's not uncommon for defensive linemen. It does not appear to be anything of concern, either.
Blake Sims worked for the second consecutive day in a white jersey, meaning that he spent most of his time with the running backs. As has been the case in every practice, he did spend some time with the quarterbacks.
Christion Jones worked with both the wide receivers and the running backs on Tuesday. He's moved back and forth between the two positions as it looks like the early determination is that he can best help the team with the ball in his hands.
For the second straight day William Ming worked at jack linebacker. Bama has such extreme depth at defensive end at this point that it's worth taking a look at some guys at other spots. If Ming makes the move back to end, don't be surprised to see one of the other ends get a look at jack - if for no other reason than to get them more snaps in practice.
With Tuesday being the first full pads practice of camp, Wednesday should be a big day. Bama will practice twice (once in the morning and once at night), which means that players who had a good first pads practice will have two chances to further impress the staff. That's especially important for the true freshmen who are trying to work their way into more reps before Saturday's first scrimmage. Through the first handful of practices the most impressive true freshmen have been Hasean Clinton-Dix and Jeoffrey Pagan. Two true freshmen that were here for spring - Trey DePriest and Vinnie Sunseri - continue to impress with their ability to simply be around the ball at all times.
With Bama practicing twice on Wednesday, we'll have two reports.
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