08 August 2011
The University of Alabama football team began week two of their 2011 fall camp on Monday. The practice was held in shells, and featured a giant moving water mister to help keep the players as cool as possible during another 100 degree Tuscaloosa afternoon.
Here's what you need to know:
Arie Kouandjio was absent from practice after suffering an injury late during yesterday's fan day practice. While he was driven off of the field in a golf cart, he walked back onto the field for the autograph session without any visible brace. Coach Saban will address the media on Tuesday, and some poor reporter will certainly ask about the injury status. Thankfully no one has really speculated about the extent of the injury, so hopefully Coach Saban will keep his cool when answering. Who am I kidding? I love it when Coach Saban goes after the media... I want to see more angry Nick Saban on SportsCenter.
Eddie Lacy and Brian Vogler were cleared for contact after wearing black no contact jerseys during fan day. That's an especially good sign for Lacy, who I thought might be in black for a few practices to protect his injured pectoral. It will be interesting to see how he fares during Tuesday's first practice in full pads. It will likely be more interesting to see how he recovers from the first day of real contact. He's now wearing a wrap that extends down his right arm rather than the brace that he wore during the first week of practice.
The injury to Vogler clearly wasn't serious, as whatever the mystery ailment was kept in him black for exactly one day.
Duron Carter has still not been cleared, but as we told you on Friday, that's not likely to happen until later in the week. I've been hearing Wednesday all weekend, with hope for it to come down earlier. Either way, it seems to be a matter of "when" and not "if", which is especially good for a Tide receiving corps that is still searching for a complete rotation.
Yesterday it was Jim McElwain and Phillip Sims bragging about DeAndrew White, and today it was A.J. McCarron and Brandon Gibson doing the talking. Either way, the redshirt freshman has been the most talked about player of fall camp so far.
Blake Sims practiced for the first time out of black no contact jersey. He hasn't been injured, but has been spending most of his time with the quarterbacks. He still took some quarterback reps, but spent much more time with the running backs. So he was dressed as a running back. That's a good idea, as he's likely to actually have to deal with contact if he's carrying the football in a game. Sure, the quarterbacks have to absorb contact some during a game, but by design they aren't supposed to get hit. I guess technically, if every play is designed to score a touchdown, then neither would a running back, but I think you get my point here.
Expect Blake to move back and forth between the two positions for the rest of camp, and even during the season. The staff would like to redshirt Phillip Ely, so Blake would become the backup quarterback if someone were to happen to either McCarron or Phillip Sims.
Christion Jones was back with the running backs today, giving Burton Burns his first full backfield of the fall. Jones has alternated between the running backs and wide receivers every practice so far. That could mean that the idea is for him to be a multi-purpose guy, similar to how Florida used Percy Harvin and Bama was theoretically going to use Corey Grant before he transferred to Auburn. It could also mean that Burton Burns and Mike Groh are both pushing hard to get him at their position and Nick Saban and Jim McElwain want a good look at him both places before a decision is made.
When Nick Saban signs junior college players, he expects them to have an impact immediately. That worked with James Carpenter in 2009 and DeQuan Menzie in 2010. Brandon Lewis actually took a medical redshirt in 2010, so it would be inaccurate to claim that he was a "miss". The junior college guys from this class look like they will be impact guys, though. Quinton Dial and Jesse Williams seem to already be squarely entrenched in the rotation at opposite defensive end positions. Ironically, this could keep Lewis from playing as much.
The development of Dial and Williams has freed up William Ming to make a move to outside linebacker. At 283 lbs., the redshirt sophomore is likely to be getting a look at the jack rather than the sam. Hopefully Ming will settle into one position or the other and avoid the type of back and forth that plagued the career of Glenn Harbin.
The Tide will work in full pads for the first time on Tuesday. We'll hold our breath for good injury luck, and have our normal report.
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