"Another week would be a lot better and would let us get a lot more accomplished. All we have left is Wednesday, and half of that practice will be taken up with a scrimmage for the players that didn't scrimmage last Saturday."
The Alabama football team completed its 13th spring practice Monday with a 90-minute workout in full pads at Thomas-Drew field. The Tide will practice on Wednesday in the last practice before Saturday's spring game, scheduled to start at 1 pm (CST).
"Today was a good practice," Mike Price said. "We started off a little slow, but things picked up." Offensively Alabama worked on red-zone offense, two-minute drill and the running game.
Price said that spring practice has gone well, but the measure of next year's Tide team will be determined in voluntary off-season workouts the next several months. "If we work hard on our own, we can be a good ball club," he said. "The players need to run routes, practice pass patterns and throw the ball. But I can't do anything about that. I can't take role."
Price has praised the Tide defense in previous weeks, and today it was the offense's turn. "The offense is ahead of where I thought we'd be," he said.
Saturday promises to be a full day for Price and the Tide team. Fan Day at Coleman Coliseum is scheduled from 9 to 11, the gates at Bryant-Denny Stadium open at noon. The Walk-of-Fame Ceremony, honoring last season's football captains, will take place at the West sideline just before kickoff, which is scheduled at 1:06.
"I'm aiming for us to be the best we can be on both offense and defense," Price said of the A-Day scrimmage. "I want the coaches to coach hard. I want the coaches to game plan for the scrimmage. We'll have assistants up in the press box with sideline phones. We'll go through our pre-game rituals just like in the fall."
Since most of the current staff has never coached in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Price plans to take A-Day this year much more seriously than he likely will in the future. "I don't want the team to be embarrassed or to be embarrassed myself," he said. "I want the players to look well coached. I want to see us play our best football to date. So far this spring we've held penalties and fumbles to a minimum. I want us to be a disciplined team that takes care of the football."
Price has challenged Crimson Tide fans to fill up the lower half of Bryant-Denny, hoping for a crowd of 55,000 plus. The unofficial record for A-Day attendance is 51,000. Admission is free.
Price commented on the two most prominent position changes of spring. Sophomore Mark Anderson moved from outside linebacker to defensive end, while last year's starting fullback, Greg McLain, is now working at tight end. "Anderson has done great," Price said. "He's going to be a very good player for us. That's where he'll be next year. He'll end up being really good before he's done. We'll work him as a speed rush end, where we really didn't have anyone before."
"I think McLain can play at tight end, but it's taken him a little longer to learn the new position," Price said.
Price added that junior David Cavan has done very well this year at tight end. Cavan was placed on scholarship this semester. "I'm taking credit for him," Price joked. "He's my first recruit. He gets down field, he catches the ball and he runs with it after the catch."
- Defensive end Antwan Odom returned to practice Monday. Price hopes he'll be able to play Saturday.
- Middle linebacker Freddie Roach did not practice, but he watched in street clothes.
- Ends Nautyn McKay-Loescher and Todd Bates are both out for the spring. McKay-Loescher is reportedly recovering from mononucleosis, while an infection has sidelined Bates.
- Former Tide All-America and current Seattle Seahawk running back Shaun Alexander was a visitor to practice.
- Price noted that between half and 2/3s of the offensive package has been installed.
- Saturday's A-Day scrimmage, including the kicking game, will be completely "live," except for the quarterbacks who will be wearing the yellow "no contact" jerseys.