05 October 2009
Monday was a dreary, nasty day in Tuscaloosa, but despite that, Alabama practiced outside. As is normally the case on Monday, the team was in shells. The big news of the day came at the linebacker position, as the Tide continues to look for the right combination of guys.
Here's what you need to know:
There were no new injuries. After Bama played what Coach Saban called a very physical game, Bama practiced everyone who played this weekend. Both Jeramie Griffin and Damion Square were riding exercise bikes, which sends a clear signal that the rehab process for ACL sugrery is totally different than it was a few years ago.
After Alabama gave up a season high 133 rushing yards on Saturday, the Tide coaching staff is looking to get a more physical group of linebackers on the field. As such, Cory Reamer was working back at the sam position, with Eryk Anders at the jack. That creates a void at the will, and there were some unexpected things.
First off, Jerrell Harris worked with the first unit. Since he's still suspended for the Ole Miss game, that surprises me quite a bit. It likely signals that he'll be in good shape for playing time against South Carolina.
Behind Harris were true freshmen Nico Johnson and Tana Patrick. Johnson has played this season, while Patrick looked destined for a redshirt. These guys working in the rotation doesn't necessarily guarantee playing time on Saturday, especially this early in the week. But with Harris not available, I would not be surprised in the least to see both guys get a serious look.
Johnson worked with both the mike and will group, with Patrick only working with the wills. Chris Jordan only worked at the mike.
Of course, all of this was just during the media viewing period. There's no telling what happened after the media was shooed out.
From an offensive standpoint, there was a continued emphasis on two things: rushing the football, and getting the ball to Julio Jones. Those are two things that the Tide has struggled for the last two weeks. And they are two things that Bama needs to do to win in Oxford.
The Tide will practice again on Tuesday. I'll be in Atlanta watching U2, but Ell will fill in for me.
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