29 September 2010
The Alabama football team practiced in full pads on Wednesday. It is the final practice of the week with a media viewing period.
Here's what you need to know:
Marcell Dareus practiced today, and Coach Saban seems to think he'll be ready by game time. He won't be 100%, but very few guys are at this point in the season.
Jarrick Williams was in a black jersey after suffering a slight shoulder separation. Coach Saban indicated that he will have off-season surgery. I take that to mean that he'll continue to be limited in practice in the hopes that the staff can get a medical redshirt for this year, but they will put off the surgery just in case a great injury situation forces the need for him to play.
There was a lot of talk today about Florida using a five man front to combat the Tide's rushing attack. That shouldn't come as much of a shock to anyone, as Bama has seen team throw a variety of things at them over the last two year, and the Tide is 18-0. Florida is going to do everything they can to stop the run, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will work. Sure, there will be individual plays that it works, likely even entire series. What you can't simulate in practice is the sheer physicality of not just Ingram and Richardson, but also the Tide linemen. And there is a cumulative affect that wears a team out after continuous plays. So expect to see Bama go right into the teeth of the defense, even if it isn't working. Why? Because it's what Bama has to do in order to wear the Gator defense down.
That doesn't mean the Tide offense will abandon the pass completely, or that we won't see misdirection in an attempt to exploit the weaknesses created by a defense using a five-man front. Bama will do these things also. But when you are getting frustrated in the middle of the second quarter, wanting to scream, "why are we trying to run up the middle against that?!?", remember that it is necessary to allow Bama to do what it really wants to do late in the game.
Greg McElroy is continuing to progress nicely with the leg injury that limited him earlier in the week. He's a tough guy, so don't expect to see anything on Saturday that would show an injury.
Expect to see more of Nico Johnson this week, after he had another solid game against Arkansas. There have been rumors that we might see Nico taking snaps at the mike, with Dont'a Hightower at the will. Johnson hasn't played the mike in a game yet, so I'm a bit skeptical, but any opportunity to get Hightower back into his most comfortable position is probably worth at least taking a look at. We didn't see this during the media viewing period, but there has been a lot of talk about it in Tuscaloosa.
Overall the intensity has continued to rise this week. While the Gators certainly have revenge on their minds, the Tide isn't ready to let go of the "champions" mantle quite yet. Expect Florida to come out fired up and with a lot of emotion. But unlike last December in Atlanta when Florida looked flat, expect Bama to match that emotion. This team is ready.
Bama will practice again in full pads on Thursday before a walk-through on Friday. Both practices will be closed to the media.
If anything happens of importance, we'll let you know.
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