30 November 2009
It's SEC Championship Game week and the Alabama football team held its first practice on Monday afternoon. The players were in shells, as is usually the case on Monday, and the practice was held inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility. There was some rain earlier in the day, but my guess is that the team will practice inside all week due to the game Saturday being played inside.
Here's what you need to know:
Mark Ingram practiced in a white jersey. Coach Saban had indicated that Mark might be held out of contact today, but he was cleared for contact and led the running backs through all of their drills.
Cory Reamer was limited in the Auburn game due to a hamstring injury that he aggravated during the Chattanooga game. He was in a crimson jersey today, and appeared to be working at full strength.
Terry Grant is still dealing with a strained abdominal muscle, though he was in a white jersey today. It's still unlikely that he'll be ready to play Saturday, but he is getting closer.
Part of the reason for the good news health wise is that Bama had an extra day off. Coach Saban allowed the players to have both Saturday and Sunday off, though I imagine there was a good bit of optional film study going on. Mark Ingram, in particular, called the extra day off "huge".
Coach Saban indicated in his postgame comments in Auburn that the Tide had played without emotion on Friday. That won't be the case this coming weekend. Today's practice was especially spirited, even moreso when you consider that it is Monday. Some of the comments made by players who met with the media have further indicated how much this game means to the Tide.
Rolando McClain probably summed it up the best:
We want that rematch, and like I said, they put us out of our run for the national championship last year, and we haven't forgotten, it's been in the back of our mind. We're going to try to step up and play our best game.
Quarterback Thomas Darrah is working as Tim Tebow on the scout team this week, and there is one very noticeable difference - he is not wearing a black no contact jersey. That should give you an indication as to the philosophy going into this game. Simply put - the Florida quarterback is real threat to run the ball, and he needs to be hit when he does run it.
Here's to hoping that Darrah makes it through the week.
There have been rumors on the internet for weeks that the Tide offense has some new wrinkles ready for this weekend's game. While I find it hard to wrap my mind around that idea, given that Bama trailed at Auburn with under two minutes remaining, that appears to actually be the case. According to Greg McElroy, the Tide has actually been working on these things for several weeks.
In reality the Tide has been working on these things since the Tide left Atlanta last December. Coach Saban has tried to play down his off-season meetings with Bob Stoops and Will Muschamp, but I think everyone knows what those meetings were about - stopping Florida's spread offense, and specifically, stopping Tim Tebow.
None of the new things that Bama has planned, on offense or defense, will be shown during the media veiwing period. I don't know what they are, and won't pretend to know. I don't want to know. I'm content to watch it unfold on Saturday.
Bama will practice again on Tuesday afternoon, likely in full pads. We'll have our normal report.
And, because it's applicable again this week - I HATE orange!