23 August 2008
It's one week until the season starts! With next Saturday's game being played inside the Georgia Dome it is possibly a good thing that rain forced the Tide into the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility for today's practice. With rain forcast all week long the Tide could see practice remain indoors.
No injuries to report again. It's starting to get a little scary, as though the injury gods are waiting until game week to finally smite the Tide. Maybe things are finally evening out for Bama and the injury gods are just too busy wreaking havoc on the Atlanta Braves to notice that Alabama football has begun.
As expected Charlie Higgenbotham
was still in a black no contact jersey again today. Coach Saban had indicated that he would probably not be cleared for full participation until Monday, though Higgenbotham did work a little more in team drills today than he has in the past few days. Groin injuries can be like hamstring injuries; they can take forever to heal. With Bama's depth situation at the MIKE let's hope that that Charlie is a quick healer.
Today was the last day for players to impress the coaches before actual game week practice begins and the reps for those guys outside of the 2-deep all but disapear. There are not a ton of battles still being waged, and we'll have our projected depth chart up sometime tomorrow... just in time for the University to release one on Monday and doubtless let us know just how wrong we are.
Despite Clemson's prodigious rushing attack Bama spent a good deal of time working on its nickel and dime packages today. There are still two different nickel packages, one with three corners and one with three safeties. Javier Arenas
is getting most of the work at the star position with Marquis Johnson
at the outisde corner spot he slides in from. The other formation has Mark Barron
at the star with Arenas manning his normal corner spot.
The dime package adds a sixth defensive back into the mix, and at the moment is appears as though newly scholarshiped Tyrone King
might be the guy to get time there. King has played both corner and safety in his career at Alabama, and that experience seems to have given him a heads up on a position being referred to as the "money" back.
The biggest battle among guys who are certain to be on the depth chart, but are battling to see who ends up atop Monday's depth chart might be at running back. Terry Grant
and Glen Coffee
has been in a battle since spring practice to see who will emerge as the Tide's #1 back. Ultimately I don't think it matters much as both guys will play a lot. The play call on the first play of the game might be what dictates the starter. It's not likely that Mark Ingram
will end up getting into this battle for the Clemson game, but he's not far behind. I expect that we'll see three guys get carries in the opener, and Ingram appears to be the leader for the #3 spot.
is working with the third unit now. Nick Fanuzzi
has been working with the scout team. Those two facts could indicate that Jackson has moved ahead of Fanuzzi. Given that several players who are likely to play next Saturday have also worked with the scout team, it is possible that Fanuzzi is more prepared to simulate the Clemson offense than Jackson. It will be interesting to see how this pans out over the course of the season.
Tomorrow will afford Bama players one more opportunity to rest and recharge their batteries before things start for real on Monday. With game week upon us I am going to take one more chance to mention how unbelievably well conditioned this team appears to be. I think that has a lot to do with the Tide's injury luck so far, and will hopefully pay far greater dividends as the season wears on... especially when Bama gets to November.