23 December 2011
This will likely be it for the practice reports prior to Christmas. Bama is expected to practice again on Friday before the players will be allowed to head home to see their families. The Tide has switched to full pads as it continues to prepare for its rematch with LSU in the BCS Championship Game. Because of cold weather, rain, and the fact that the game will be played inside, Bama has practiced in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
Here's what you need to know:
Harrison Jones missed practice on Thursday after injuring a hand. He has played a limited role in a handful of games this season, but it is unlikely that he will see action in the game regardless of his health. At this point the attention would turn to spring practice and whether or not he will be healthy by then.
Phelon Jones returned to practice after missing a couple of days with the flu bug. He played in the first game after Dre Kirkpatrick was assaulted by Tyran Mathieu, and is the Tide's fourth corner behind Dre, DeQuan Menzie, and DeMarcus Milliner. With LSU expected to be run heavy with Jordan Jefferson at quarterback, he is unlikely to play unless there are injuries. I imagine he'll likely be well past the flue by January 9, though.
Mark Barron (rib) and Eddie Lacy (toe) are taking things light as a precaution. Both guys should be good to go by the time the game rolls around, though they will likely not be 100%. Barron's injury appears to be a similar rib cartilage injury to the one that Javier Arenas had in 2009. Javy played through that, and when you consider that Mark played some against Auburn in 2010 with a torn pectoral, I don't think we'll see him sitting out because of pain. Lacy's turf toe will be the best it's been since midseason, but it won't completely heal until the long layoff before spring practice.
Dee Hart (knee) and Jonathan Atchison (bicep) were the only players visible in black jerseys (other than the quarterbacks), but both guys did participate in individual drills. Arie and Cyrus Kouandjio have been at some practices riding stationary bikes, and have missed others to do rehab on their surgically repaired knees.
Trent Richardson is still wearing a protective brace on his right wrist, but there does not appear to be any reason for concern.
Alfred McCullough looks like he will get the nod at left guard over Anthony Steen. They've gone back and forth as the year has gone on, and it looks like the staff is going to go with the senior. Bama will likely go unbalanced at times and use six linemen, so expect we'll see Steen get some snaps anyway.
It also looks like Vinnie Sunseri will start in place of Will Lowery again. The true freshman started the Auburn game after Lowery tore his ACL on senior day.
Michael Bowman and Ronald Carswell were both absent from practice due to disciplinary reasons. Carswell looks likely to transfer, but Bowman plegded via twitter that he would be Bama's best receiver in 2012. With Darius Hanks and Marquis Maze set to play their final games for Bama, there will certainly be a need for someone to step up. Bowman hasn't made it through a season without a suspension yet, so he probably needs to start with the off the field stuff, and then try to work on the actual football details.
Duron Carter has also been absent, though all signs are that his absence is excused.
Otherwise, Bama is continuing to work on fundamentals. After a three week layoff, that is an absolute necessity. With only 15 practices before the game, you typically will see a team use three or four practices for fundamentals, with the rest going for actual game prep. With the Tide having already prepped for LSU once this season, the staff can afford to use a couple of extra days to help knock the rust off.
Bama will return to practice on Wednesday and we'll have our normal report.