07 October 2009
The Alabama football team went inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility today for its full pads practice. After a day away from things, I'm back and ready to do my part as a champion... not that I have any real impact on things.
Anyway - Here's what you need to know:
The Tide had no one in a black jersey. Technically that's not true, but I'm not counting Jeramie Griffin or Damion Square. Those guys are still pedaling away on stationary bikes, and won't be a part of things in 2009. So when I say "no one", what I mean is no one that is expected to play.
The linebacker position continues to be the only one that is drawing any real interest this week, as Bama is still looking to find the right combination of guys to combat the loss of Dont'a Hightower.
The interesting thing is that Jerrell Harris continues to work with the first group at the will linebacker. Normally I wouldn't think much of this, since he is currently ineligible to play Saturday. But, rumors started flying this morning that would have Lee Corso uttering his famous "Not so fast, my friend." We first heard it from one of our readers (thanks HSCOACH), and now it's making the internet rounds. According to the story, a member of Alabama's staff has been telling high school coaches that Harris could possibly be reinstated prior to Saturday's game.
Now, I would normally discount that as pure rumor, but I can't quite get past the fact that Harris is continuing to practice with the first group. It simply wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for him to be getting those first team reps if he isn't playing. It certainly could be a case of the staff getting a head start on next week, and as soon the media is ushered out of practice, the real groupings form. I'm not holding out a lot of hope for a reinstatement, especially since there's lot of folks who claim to have sources that are now saying that there is no appeal. We likely won't know anything prior to kickoff.
For the time being, we'll just assume that Jerrell is out for Saturday, and deal with the guys that we know to be eligible. Cory Reamer worked, for the third consecutive day, with the sam linebacker group. Again, it is important to remember that what happens after the media viewing period is over could be totally different. Reamer mentioned yesterday that he's actually getting reps at both the will and sam spots, so he could still be the guy.
The other three main candidates appear to be Tana Patrick, Nico Johnson, and Chris Jordan. Jordan continues to work with the second group at the mike, while Johnson gets reps both places. Patrick is, at least during the viewing period, only working with the wills. Brad Smelley made his collegiate debut against the Rebels last season, so it would be a bit funny for Patrick to get his first action in the same game. I'm thinking that the coaching staff would prefer to play anyone but Patrick if Harris is back next week, since it would be a shame to "waste" a redshirt year for him to be the primary guy for one week.
I also think that the coaches would have absolutely no hesitancy to play Patrick if he gives the Tide the best chance to win, redshirt be damned. Bama has a chance to compete for championships this season, and that is considerably more important than a possible redshirt.
Either way, don't be surprised to see Nico Johnson get some serious consideration. He spent time in today's practice shadowing Rolando McClain. That means he wasn't working with in a specific grouping, but rather alongside McClain as Ro went through all of his reps. That tells me that he very possibly could be working on the mental side of the position. If that's the case, it could be a solid indication that he's preparing to play sooner, rather than later.
There's not much to report elsewhere, which is a good thing. The rest of the team looks to be settling into its roles nicely. There is still some work being done on kick coverage, with Kentucky having yet another solid return day against the Tide.
Courtney Upshaw got good news today, when he was told by a Tuscaloosa County judge that if he can complete an anger management course by December 6, he'll be granted youthful offender status for his altercation a few months back.
The practices on Thursday and Friday will be closed, so there will be no reports. We'll let you know anything if we hear about it.
And if you're interested in the U2 concert, I'll throw something up in the forum about it.
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