In the top photo Brodie Croyle takes the center snap from Alonzo Ephraim with Waine Bacon looking on from his safety position. In full compliance with NCAA regulations, there was not a coach anywhere in sight during the pass-skel drills. In fact, by the time the various players had gathered on this afternoon, the parking lot was essentially emptied of coaching cars. But though the atmosphere was certainly more relaxed than during a regular practice, the various seniors (Jonathan Richey, Victor Ellis, Andrew Zow, Gerald Dixon, and others) made sure things moved along smoothly.
Obviously the purpose of practice is always to get better, but summer 'players-only' workouts can also resemble good old-fashioned neighborhood football. Here, junior wideout Antionio Carter continues some good-natured jawing at the defense. "You never touched me!" is a familiar line from two-hand touch games everywhere. And even though these are SEC-caliber athletes, it's still a game.
One of the best athletes on the squad, junior middle linebacker Saleem Rasheed proves it by 'jumping out of the picture frame' during warmups before the start of pass skels. He may be an All-American candidate on defense, but Rasheed couldn't resist briefly trying his hand at receiver on the sideline.
How would you like these guys on your side at the next summer pick-up game? Andrew Zow looks over the defense before taking the snap from junior quick guard/center Marico Portis. And his options? Why All-Star candidates Terry Jones Jr. and Freddie Milons of course. Not bad.
Obviously primed and in peak condition for the fall, senior free safety Reggie Myles looks ready to play UCLA now. It's his last season at Alabama, and Myles is determined to make an impression for the pro scouts.
As Santonio Beard explained afterwards, these sessions are more for receivers and tight ends than running backs. But the backs were actually used quite a bit as the quarterbacks finished their reads. Here Ahmaad Galloway looks back as the 'safety valve' receiver on the play, but Zow (who had an excellent day throwing the ball) has already spotted his man downfield. After the play--in the fine traditions of backyard football everywhere--Galloway complained good-naturedly "I was open!" But his quarterback just smiled and pointed to the 15-yard gain.
It's your team's turn on defense, and as you look across the line this is what you see... As with two-hand touch football games everywhere, there was plenty of laughing and jawing back and forth among the players. But with junior Alonzo Ephraim snapping the ball and freshman phenom Brodie Croyle calling the signals, the athleticism is obviously on a whole other level. Behind Croyle waiting their turn are Portis and Beard.