31 March 2010
The Alabama football team had a more leisurely practice on Wednesday as they build towards Friday's first scrimmage of the spring. The seventh practice of the spring was held in shells and treated similar to a Friday practice during the season.
Here's what you need to know:
The same guys who have been in black all spring are still in black - William Vlachos and Milton Talbert. Vlachos is expected to miss the entire session after foot surgery, but Talbert's injury is still a mystery. I'm sure the coaches know what the problem is, but it has not been made public.
Trent Richardson is still practicing with contact, but he is very obviously favoring a bad hamstring. I would be shocked if he participates in Friday's scrimmage. That would certainly open the door for guys like Eddie Lacy, Jeramie Griffin, and Demetrius Goode to get more carries, and that's a good thing for the Tide. Richardson is known commodity at this point, and the staff needs the opportunity to evaluate the guys behind he and Mark Ingram.
Earl Alexander struggled to stay healthy throughout the 2009 season, and while he has been practicing without limits this spring, he was sporting a pretty heavy wrap on his left leg today. Guys have muscle strains all of the time that end up being no real problem, but a player has struggled to stay healthy, it does send up a warning sign for me. It will be interesting to see how much Earl participates in the scrimmage.
Marcell Dareus worked without the wrap on his left arm today. He's been sporting that wrap since the SEC Championship Game, and it was nice to see him work without it. It wouldn't shock me to see him continue to wear it when the Tide is going through heavy contact work, but the fact that he was able to go without it on a lighter day is at least a good sign that he isn't suffering from any serious long term damage to that elbow.
Star Jackson was back at practice after having missed the last three practices due to an academic issue. It's nice to see that he's taken care of what the coaches gave him to take care of, especially with the scrimmage looming. Jackson is in a dogfight with A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims, and missed scrimmage work could really push him deeper on the "organizational" chart.
Kendall Kelly was back with the wide receivers, while Brandon Gibson got the work at safety. Both of these guys are in need of serious reps at the wide receiver position, so it's good that the staff has begun to rotate them a bit more. It will be interesting to see how they handle that rotation in post scrimmage practices, and especially interesting to see when/if Julio Jones does work over there.
It looks as though Bama might have truly done away with the fullback position. Throughout the spring we've seen Bama's one fullback - Mike Marrow - working with the tight ends. He, Preston Dial, and Brad Smelley are working in one group that is likely to make up the depth chart at the H-Back position. This is a fullback/tight end hybrid spot, so Bama will likely still have sets that look like they feature a fullback. But at the moment there is no fullback group working anywhere on the field. There are the running backs and there are the tight ends.
For the second consecutive practice D.J. Fluker (right tackle) and Chance Warmack (left guard) worked with the first unit. These are two positions where we are likely to see a lot of guys getting reps with the first unit in order to find the best group of five. We saw a lot of this last fall before Barrett Jones finally moved into the first group just prior to the last scrimmage of the fall.
This should be an interesting scrimmage for the ten new guys on the team. At the moment none of these guys have made a major move up the "organizational" chart in individual drills. That's not necessarily an indication of how well they've worked, but more an indication of how this staff has worked new guys into the rotation. New guys have almost always worked at the back of those groups until after the first scrimmage, and then we've seen some guys make moves.
The staff doesn't always release all of the stats from a scrimmage, so it's tough to ready too much into stats. But we'll be able to get some ideas from how much certain guys are used.
We'll have our normal report on Friday.