15 September 2009
Alabama was back at work this afternoon in preparation for the Mean Green of North Texas on Saturday morning. As is customary on Tuesday, Bama was in full pads for today's practice.
Here's what you need to know:
Julio Jones (knee), Roy Upchurch (ankle), and Kenny Bell (shin splints) remained in black jerseys for the second consecutive practice. All three guys spent the media viewing period riding stationary bikes. Wednesday is typically the point of no return for injured guys - if they don't practice by then, they usually don't play on Saturday. My guess is that Upchurch and Bell will miss the game, and Julio might be a game-time decision.
With Upchurch out Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson took the bulk of the reps with the first unit, with Terry Grant getting most of his with the second group. Upchurch is Bama's most experienced blocking back, and with the length of his absence unknown, the backs got in a lot of work at picking up blitzes.
With Jones out we continue to see Mike McCoy and Michael Bowman getting solid reps at his spot. Additionally, we saw Kevin Norwood get some work at that spot today. Norwood didn't see the field against FIU, but was one of the top performers in the fall's scrimmages. Don't be surprised to see him on Saturday if the game gets out of hand.
Another guy that didn't play last Saturday that might see action against North Texas is D.J. Fluker. The mamoth offensive lineman got a lot of work with the second group at left tackle. He hasn't passed Alfred McCullough at the position, but he got more looks there than he normally does.
Part of the reason for those extra reps was the fact that James Carpenter was late to practice. It's unknown at this time why, or if it was excused, but McCullough worked with the first group until he got there. That opened the door for Fluker to work with the second unit, which could pay off in playing time this weekend.
The pistol formation got a lot of work today, which is not surprising given the success that Bama had from that formation against FIU. The formation appears to give Greg McElroy the comfort level of shotgun, while also allowing the running backs to get their normal head start. Expect to see a lot more of this formation as the season continues.
Bama will practice again on Wednesday afternoon, and we'll have our normal report at that time.
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