13 October 2010
The Alabama football team practiced in full pads again on Wednesday in preparation for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Here's what you need to know:
Apparently Julio Jones is not human. He was out of the black jersey today, and practiced at almost full capability. They did not have him practice blocking or getting out of press-man jams, but he caught passes. The expectation at this point is that he will probably play on Saturday. That's six days after having hand surgery for a wide receiver. Wow. I still doubt we'll see him on special teams, but at this point, nothing would surprise me.
Unfortunately the news is not as good for D.J. Fluker, who has been ruled out for the game this weekend. His groin injury is more severe than initial thought, and he could be out for longer than two weeks. Alfred McCullough will start in his place, though there has been no public commitment to a backup.
Chris Jordan (hamstring) and Courtney Upshaw (ankle) are both improving, and we could see both guys place this Saturday. Upshaw is crucial to Bama's pass rush, and there was a noticeable absence in consistent pressure on South Carolina when he was out. Jordan has fallen behind both Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley, but he has been a stalwart on special teams, and the Tide would like to get him back on the field in that role.
Look for an increase in run calls this week. No one was happy with the lack of the rushing attack in Columbia, and while no one is saying anything in public, it looks as though there will be a new commitment to the run. It's pretty simple - 17 carries combined for Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson is simply not enough. Look for that total to increase pretty considerably, possibly even to double.
The Bama defense is having to prepare for two different offenses this week, as the Rebels actually run different offensive sets based on which quarterback is in the game. The biggest threat is, of course, transfer Jeremiah Masoli, and Bama is using a variety of guys to emulate him on the scout team. He is a true dual threat quarterback; a threat to beat you with a pinpoint pass or a long run. Look for Bama to push for pressure up the middle and to use someone to spy him. Expect Mark Barron to have a big game.
Bama will practice again on Thursday, before having a walk-through on Friday. Both practices will be closed to the public, but we will let you know if we hear anything.
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