07 October 2008
It was back to the practice field for the Tide today after two consecutive days off. The guys were just in shells, with "getting and staying healthy" likely being a major premium this week. The guys will practice again on Wednesday and Thursday, before having three consecutive days off beginning Friday.
was in a black no contact jersey, with no specifics disclosed. He's missed time already this year with an ankle injury, and could be barking again. We'll let you know more when we find out, though the fact that he participated in some drills indicates that it's not likely serious.
A noticeable abscence in today practice was Andre Smith
. Don't panic, though. He was sick, and with no game this weekend for the Tide, was excused from practice. Having an extra day to let that elbow injury he suffered Saturday night will be a nice fringe benefit. It wouldn't shock me if his illness lasted most the rest of this week. It's not like Andre has anything to prove. Sure, he can continue to improve, but off weeks are great for letting a known starter rest while you give a backup some work.
Coach Saban talked about this specific thing in his Monday press conference. He indicated that there would be some guys who get some rest this week, and that we (the media as whole, not us specifically) shouldn't read anything in to that other than guys just getting rest. He followed that up with a threat about closing practice if we made a big deal about it. So... no big deal coach. Just big Andre getting a rest.
The interesting thing to note was the personnel grouping without Andre. When he missed the Tulane game we saw Mike Johnson move outside and David Ross fill in at guard. Today we saw Drew Davis move from the right tackle to the left and true freshman John Michael Boswell take the first unit snaps at right tackle. Coach Saban had indicated that he wanted to find a third tackle to avoid having to move too many guys change positions. It looks like Boswell might have won that position.
Everything else pretty much remained the same. If any other first unit guys took a big rest today it happened after the media was made to leave.
As is pretty much always the case in off weeks, especially when guys are just in shells, most of the time today was spent on basics. With NCAA mandated twenty hour practice limits you just don't have the chance during a game week to work on the fundamentals. So it's a pretty common practice to take these off week workouts and return to the basics of tackling, blocking, running, passing, catching, and kicking.
If Alabama sticks to its normal schedule there will be a press conference tomorrow, and we'll have a report from that. Otherwise, we'll give you another practice report.