07 September 2010
The Alabama football team began practice for Penn State on Monday. After a week one tune up against San Jose State, the Tide gets ready for its first real challenge this coming Saturday.
Here's what you need to know:
Mark Ingram is still listed as "day to day". Both he and Wesley Neighbors began what Coach Saban called, "dry-land rehab" but it is unkown at this time whether either will be ready for the Penn State game. History has shown us that Wednesday is the key day with this staff. If they aren't practicing by Wednesday, don't expect them to play.
D.J. Fluker was limited in practice after spraining his ankle on Saturday. The staff didn't feel like the injury was very serious, but there was a good bit of swelling over the weekend. Alfred McCullough worked in his place with the first unit in his place. They expect him to be able to go more tomorrow, and to play on Saturday.
Courtney Upshaw was also limited after spraining his ankle on Saturday. He was able to go a little more on Monday than Fluker was, and he is also expected to be ready to play. Ed Stinson got extra work in his spot with the first unit.
If Upshaw were unable to play, Dont'a Hightower might take some snaps at the jack, with the Tide having more options in the middle. On top of both Chris Jordan and Nico Johnson having worked and played at the position, true freshman C.J. Mosley had an impressive debut against San Jose State.
Alabama has decided not to appeal the suspension of Marcell Darues, so he will not play this weekend. Damion Square got the start in his place this past Saturday, and it is expected that he will start again this week. It will be interesting to see exactly what role Bama will have for Brandon Moore. He missed the first game due to suspension, but he has been working ahead of several players who did play.
Coach Saban has indicated in the past that he always believes that a team's greatest improvement comes between week one and two. So it should be interesting to see exactly what areas the staff focuses on during practice this week. Obviously the staff has had a chance to study the film and will find areas, but as a fan, it's tough to identify areas of concern.
There were a handful of plays where the Tide didn't tackle well, and the punt return game can certainly use some work. Otherwise, Bama did pretty much everything well against San Jose State.
The game plan on both offense and defense will be more complex this week, so that's likely what the team will spend most of the week working on.
Bama will work again on Tuesday, and we'll have our normal report.
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