26 August 2011
The University of Alabama football team had its third full squad workout of the 2011 season on Friday. The guys who joined the team on Wednesday were legally able to wear shells for the first time, and the rest of the team joined them in shorts, helmets, and shoulder pads. It was a very hot day in Tuscaloosa, and it looked as if the staff wanted to give the team a little bit of a break on what was likely a very important practice.
Here's what you need to know:
Coach Saban indicated earlier in the week that Bama would likely start its game plan preparations for the Kent State game on Friday. Based on the shorter than normal media viewing period, and the fact that the media saw little more than stretching, Bama did just that. The scout team also made its first appearance of the season, though the media was not inside long enough to see who was playing the part of any specific Kent State players.
Dee Hart and Kellen Williams continued to ride stationary bikes. Coach Saban said on Thursday that he hoped that Williams would be good to go on Monday after turning an ankle early this week. Hart isn't expected to begin practicing, even on a limited basis, until October after having surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Speaking of torn ACLs, and diverting from football for a moment, the University released the news that incoming 7-foot basketball center Moussa Gueye had surgery to repair an ACL he tore during voluntary workouts on Wednesday. Gueye was expected to be a major contributor for the Tide this season, so this is a pretty big loss. It's possible that he could be cleared to play around the beginning of the SEC schedule, but that's only if everything goes exceptionally well during his rehab. It's likely that he has been lost for the season.
Getting back to football, the only other thing that was visible during the brief viewing period was that after two days of wearing a wrap on his hand, Dont'a Hightower was back to wearing just a glove. He's fine, and will not be limited this season. While it's wrong to compare anyone to Julio Jones when it comes to toughness, it probably is fair to say that if Julio could play wide receiver one week after similar surgery to fix a more serious injury, that Dont'a will be fine playing linebacker three weeks after.
The fact that there is virtually no other news is a good sign. Bama has begun actual game preparations without the type of huge distractions going on at Ohio State or Miami. Or the brand new on at LSU that has seen the Tigers lose their starting quarterback for their opener against Oregon. This has been a quiet pre-season for Bama off the field, and that's always a good thing.
I wish there was more, but unfortunately we've reached that time where information is tough to come by. This staff is very good at keeping information from getting out. Most good staffs are.
Bama will practice again on Saturday before taking Sunday off. We'll have our normal report.
And, by the way... after Saturday's practice and the off day... it will officially be game week! It's doubtful that you needed to be reminded of that, but it's fun to say. Expect a depth chart to be released on Monday, as well. I still think we'll see the dreaded "or" at quarterback, but the rest of the chart should be interesting.
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