15 September 2010
The Alabama football team worked in full pads on Tuesday as they continue to prepare for the first road game of the season this Saturday.
Here's what you need to know:
The injury situation is improving daily.
Mark Ingram continues to work with the first unit at running back, and he looks very fluid doing it. He certainly won't be 100% when the game kicks on Saturday, but he's be cleared by the doctors and will play. And while Eddie Lacy has looked like a nice running back so far, having an Ingram-Richardson backfield combo will simply be too much for most opposing defenses.
James Carpenter was back working with the first unit at left tackle. He was limited in practice on Monday and Alfred McCullough worked in his spot. He's still showing an obvious limp, but should be good enough by Saturday to play. McCullough got in a full quarter's worth of snaps against Penn State, and he should be ready to go if needed.
Courtney Upshaw looks like he's doing a little more each day. I doubt that he'll be back to full speed by Saturday, but we should see him more than what we saw against Penn State. Ed Stinson played well with Upshaw basically only taking a handful of snaps, and Duke's offense should not pose enough problems for Upshaw to have to rush back.
Chris Jordan is recovering well from his shoulder injury, and looks ready to go. The staff is being careful with him; limiting him some. But he's still working with the first group, which indicates that he'll likely be good to go on Saturday.
DeMarcus Milliner worked with the first group again today, indicating that he might have come out of the Penn State game more as a precaution than anything else. I expect we'll see him get the start at corner again.
What will help that is that DeQuan Menzie actually missed Tuesday's practice. Several Bama players are sick, and Menzie was being held out as a precaution. The day off will likely help his legs recover a bit from a heavy dose of playing time against Penn State. Phelon Jones worked with the first unit at the star position.
The only bit of depth chart news that is happening is the expected emergence of Damion Square to first string at the defensive end spot opposite Marcell Dareus. Luther Davis will still play a lot, but Square is an explosive player that was ahead of Davis at the point he was injured in 2009. After two games of starting in place of Dareus, it looks like he'll continue to be a part of the starting lineup.
After two games played, when all of the news coming out of practices is good, you have to be pleased. Bama has not been challenged in its first two games, despite playing one top 25 opponent. At this point, the challenge for the staff is keeping the guys from buying too much into the hype. Duke shouldn't provide much more of a challenge than what we've seen, but the three game stretch that follows will likely define the season.
Trips to Arkansas and South Carolina sandwich a home game with Florida, with all three teams ranked in the top 13 of the current AP poll. And if you've never been to Fayetteville or Columbia for a game, let me tell you that both places are loud. Both places are tough to places to win, and a home game with Florida is no joke.
We've seen a lot of substitutions through the first two games. Against San Jose State that was a function of the score. Against Penn State it was mostly due to small injuries. I think it was probably also by design. With the "Bye Week 6" coming up on the schedule, the staff is taking advantage of every opportunity to get rest for guys. Look for that to continue this weekend, with the staff getting the added bonus of getting young guys their first snap in road games.
Bama will practice again on Wednesday; the last practice of the week with a media viewing period. We'll have our normal report.
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