30 September 2009
The Alabama football team worked in pull pads on Wednesday in preparation for the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday morning. The weather in Lexington should be in the mid-60s for the game, and thankfully the Tide has had milder weather in Tuscaloosa to help prepare for it.
Here's what you need to know:
According to Coach Saban the surgery for Dont'a Hightower went very well. He is expected to make a full recovery, though I have doubts that he'll be ready for spring practice.
Kenny Bell (shin splints) and Jeramie Griffin (knee) were the only two players in black, though Nick Gentry has not worked out during the media viewing period for the last two days. No indication has been given as to why Gentry has missed time, though he has had injury problems in his career at Alabama.
Cory Reamer continues to work with the first group at the will linebacker spot, and looks like the most likely candidate to start in place of Hightower on Saturday. Cory spent a lot of time during the spring and fall working at the will, before settling back into the sam.
With Eryk Anders moving to the same to replace Reamer, Courtney Upshaw has moved up to the first group at the jack. That has created a battle for the #2 spot at the position. Anders and Upshaw were considerably ahead of the other group of guys, and this battle could be very interesting to watch.
At the moment it looks like Milton Talbert has moved back from defensive end to jack, and is getting work with the second unit. Alex Watkins continues to work with the group at sam, though he would likely be the next guy to get a serious look.
The Tide offense worked on communication today, with Saturday being the first real road game of the season. The Tide offense has had a lot of success behind Greg McElroy changing play calls and formations at the line of scrimmage through the first four games. Kentucky is doubtless aware of this, and are hoping that crowd noise will be an issue for Greg and the Bama offense.
Interestingly enough, the student tickets for Kentucky's midnight madness basketball event go on sale on Saturday morning, and could keep a vocal part of the Kentucky crowd from being at the game. Regardless, the Tide is working on allowing Greg to continue his audibles despite crowd noise. With a trip to Oxford next week, this will likely continue through another week of practice.
The Tide offense is also preparing for Kentucky to stack the box. Arkansas had success at limiting the Tide rushing attack by putting eight guys at the line of scrimmage. Expect to see most teams use this same tactic to force Greg McElroy to beat them. Fortunately that has played right into the hands of McElroy and Jim McElwain.
Bama will practice on Thursday and Friday, but those practices are expected to be closed. If we have any information for you, we'll let you know.
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