10 August 2011
The Alabama football team had its second practice of the day on Wednesday night. The practice in shells was held once the sun had mostly set, giving the Tide players a full day's worth of a break from the blistering afternoon heat.
Here's what you need to know:
Undra Billingsley still didn't participate. He is going to be okay, but when you go to the hospital for an illness, it's usually a bad idea to practice in 100 degree heat, or suit it up twice in the same day for a few days.
Duron Carter still wasn't at practice. The longer this goes on, the worse the news will get. We're not to that point yet, but something needs to happen before the middle of next week.
Ryan Kelly was absent for the third consecutive practice. There is no official word, but it seems like it's a relatively minor injury.
Christion Jones worked more with the running backs than wide receivers - the exact opposite of the morning practice.
Eddie Lacy (pectoral) and Trent Richardson (hamstring) both continue to wear wraps, but neither guys looks to be limited at all.
While that might not seem like much, when guys that have been dealing with nagging injuries are able to practice without limitation for the second time in the same day - especially when the pads were on for the first practice - it tells you a lot about where they are from an injury standpoint. There is not a more important guy on the team than Richardson, and Lacy will play a big role in the offense. Those two guys being healthy is the difference between contending for a title and not.
Answering a question from earlier - Brent Calloway has progressed nicely. He's a big kid, and looks like a really good athlete. Unfortunately he missed a lot of time wrapping up his academics. While the time that he misses was sans-coaches, the guys that are able to participate in 7-on-7 voluntary drills learn a heck of a lot about the schemes they will be running, and get great experience in dealing with the massive increase in the speed of the game. So Brent is playing a bit of catch up on a few things. If Dee Hart was healthy and able to play this season I think you would see Brent destined for a redshirt. With Bama having only three definite scholarship guys at his position (Blake Sims and Christion Jones move around a lot), he stands a good chance of playing. The athleticism and strength are there. Now he has to learn the system.
One guy we haven't talked about much during the camp is Mark Barron. He was withheld from contact through all ofthe spring, but he finally looks completely healthy after off-season surgery to repair the torn pectoral he suffered in the game against Auburn. Sorry for bringing up that memory. Mark will be a team captain for this group - write that down in pen. He is one of the more vocal leaders on the team, but he also leads by example. The guy he reminds me most of is Cornelius Griffin. He's not quite as vocal as Rolando McClain, but also has that mean streak that Griffin had. The guys on the 2009 team didn't want to disappoint Rolando. The guys on the 1999 SEC Championship team were afraid to disappoint Griffin. Barron and Dont'a Hightower have both fallen into that role, and it should pay huge dividends for the Tide defense. Griffin was only second team All-SEC, but he went on to a solid NFL Career. He was the leader of that unit, though. And Barron is poised to step into that role.
Barrett Jones on offense is assuming more of the Mike Johnson style of leadership. He's not afraid to challenge someone who is not pulling their weight, but his leadership is more of motivational style. He goes for the "impact and inspire" type of leadership that Johnson was so crucial in providing for the 2009 National Championship team.
The good news is that this Bama team has leaders. That was something that the 2010 team, at times, lacked. Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, and Marcell Dareus were great players, but they were more internally focused players - especially Jones and Dareus. That type of "lead by example" player is a great thing to have, especially in star players. But one thing that the 2010 team lacked was a guy who would get in the face of his teammates and drive them to work harder, to push further, to challenge themselves more. That won't be a problem in 2011. Not only does the Tide have that type of leadership this year, but the external motivating factors of the death of a teammate and the destruction of "home" on April 27 is driving this team. Do you think there's a guy on this team who wants to look Carson Tinker in the face if they quit in the 4th Quarter of a tough game? Motivation matters, and this team has plenty of it. The good news is that this team also has guys that are capable of bringing that motivation into the forefront when it's needed most.
Bama will practice again on Thursday afternoon, before another two-a-day practice on Friday. The fall's first scrimmage will come on Saturday. Don't expect a lot of things to change between now and then, but look for some things to begin to take shape next week.
Either way, we'll have our normal reports.
|< Prev||Next >|