16 August 2010
The final day of two-a-days is here for the Alabama football, and they worked in full pads during the morning practice on Monday. Saturday's scrimmage left a bad taste in the mouth of everyone that plays defense, but it's not quite time to panic yet. Not only are the standards set exremely high, but there is also another three weeks of practice before the Tide will hit the field for the first time in game action. This morning practice was about rejuvinating intensity.
Here's what you need to know:
Blake Sims (foot) and DeMarcus Milliner (ankle) were in black jerseys today. That marks the first time that a Bama player has put on the no contact jersey due to injury. Neither injury is thought to be serious, and both guys should be back soon.
With the depth at secondary already paper thin, and both of these guys being candidates for the secondary, the Bama staff tried true freshman Corey Grant at cornerback. It's unclear whether this was an organizational move to get more guys involved in the secondary, or if Grant will stay on defense for a while. We'll keep an eye on this and let you know.
Michael Bowman was working with the tight ends this morning. He spent some time there during the spring, so this doesn't come as a total surprise. With Jeramie Griffin having been medically disqualified, and Mike Marrow moving to running back to replace him, the Tide is a little thin at tight end. Bowman is capable of playing the position, especially if Bama splits the tight end out. My guess is he won't stay there long, but we might see him get some game snaps at the position in situational work.
The players had a meeting this morning where intensity was addressed. According to Dont'a Hightower the issue on Saturday was an issue of effort, and he went so far as comparing a "loafer" to a traitor. He apparently said similar things in the morning meeting, where Greg McElroy and Marcell Dareus were also very vocal about fighting through fatigue and maintaining intensity. With Bama having the much publicized six straight games facing opponents coming off of a bye week, this will be especially important during this season.
Seeing the players deal with that in camp is great preparation for when it happens during the season. When I mentioned above that standards are set extremely high, you can factor that in here. The staff and the team leaders understand what it will take to face those six straight rested opponents, and they are pushing the guys harder because of it.
Part of pushing things harder for Coach Saban is apparently sending a message to the guys on defense that no one has a spot guaranteed. During some rotations in individual drills only Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower were practicing with the first unit at their expected position - Mark Barron was with the ones, but at the star spot. I'm not sold on the fact that there will be massive changes to the organizational (depth chart) this week, but it is clear that several guys are getting their wake up calls now.
That's especially prevalent in secondary, where mistakes in games cost touchdowns. Dre Kirkpatrick and B.J. Scott were replaced at times during the scrimmage by Phelon Jones and DeMarcus Milliner, and Jones was getting a lot of work ahead of Scott in today's practice. I think we'll see Kirkpatrick and Scott as the starters on Sept. 4, but it looks as though Coach Saban was letting them know that it is certainly no guarantee.
Expect to see more of that this week as Bama moves towards another weekend scrimmage.
The Tide will practice again tonight, and we'll have our normal report.
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