15 September 2008
Demetrius was struggling mentally with his injury. I called him in and asked him if he wanted to move to defense for a couple weeks to backpedal, run, chase and change direction and do all these things to try and develop confidence... where people are not trying to tackle you... He did that for a few weeks and about a week ago or 10 days ago he came in and said he felt a lot better and that he doesn't worry about his leg as much and was ready to move back to offense.That type of organizational player development is something that hasn't been seen at Alabama in a long time. This type of thing shows just how detailed Coach Saban is, and just how much he's willing to do to get a player ready to play. Demetrius still has a lot of time to develop, and with Coaches Saban and McElwain liking to have four guys run the ball, he might still have a very productive career. There was a good level of focus and intensity on the practice field today. That isn't a surprise given the number of players that got a chance to see game action Saturday night. Getting a taste of live game action tends to give players who have been laboring as backups a new burst of energy. As Bama gets into the SEC season there will be a greater need for those players, and it is nice to see them continuing to push. The Tide linebackers got a lot of work today, especially the guys at Will and Sam. With the amount of nickel and dime that Alabama played on Saturday these guys are getting ready to see more action. Expect to see a good deal of the nickel against Arkansas, but if things remain close the dime will likely not be used quite as much. The defensive line got a lot of intense work, especially the nose guards. Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs was last year's Rimington Award winner, and he'll be the first big test for Terrence Cody and Josh Chapman. He's not the only solid guy on the Razorback line, and this will certainly be the best group that Alabama has faced this year. The early look at John Michael Boswell in the second quarter Saturday night had some folks abuzz about him possibly taking over at right tackle for Drew Davis. It hasn't happened yet. The first unit offensive line was the same five guys that started the WKU game - with Marlon Davis getting a few looks with the first unit. Boswell did play well and could earn more playing time, and Coach Saban indicated that he has probably developed more than any of the other tackles. He was hesitant to name John Michael the #3 tackle, so it doesn't look like Davis' job is in jeopardy yet. The numbers haven't necessarily been there, but the Tide has had much better play from the Jack position this year. Brandon Fanney has been very active, playing almost all of his snaps with his hand on the ground. Courtney Upshaw is improving and had a nice game on Saturday, but he was still working behind Eryk Anders as of today. Anders' ability to play with his hand down and in space gives him a huge advantage over all of the other guys battling for playing time. There was a heavy dose of "FINISH!" given to the players today. Arkansas had two big 4th quarter comebacks in their first two games. Despite the perceived level of talent of their opponents the Hogs have found a way to win in the end, and that message is being hammered home. When you consider the 4th quarter comeback in last year's game between these two teams, that only makes things more clear to the players that they need to play a complete game.
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