Tide Opens Florida Practice In Cold

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Alabama football team practiced for approximately two hours at Dr. Phillips High School Sunday, resuming preparation for the Capital One Bowl Game against Michigan State on Saturday. Florida hasn't been spared the regional hard winter. The Crimson Tide worked out in shells in cold conditions with temperatures in the 40s and a relatively strong wind that added to the chill.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "Michigan State's got a very good all-around team. I think one of the best things about Michigan State's team is that they don't beat themselves a lot. They really play sound, fundamental, well-coached football and have really good schemes on both sides of the ball and their players do a really good job of executing. I think they've had a lot of success, they've got a lot of confidence. It's going to be a challenge for us to play our best game."

The day started with a bowl event at DisneyQuest Sunday morning. Alabama joined Michigan State, North Carolina State, and West Virginia at the Florida Citrus Sports "Day for Kids" gathering at the five-story arcade. More than 300 physically, emotionally, and financially challenged children were paired with players from each of the four teams, who served as escorts and friends for the morning.

North Carolina State and West Virginia play in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando on Tuesday.

"What a great opportunity to spend the morning with some children from the Orlando area at the DisneyQuest event," Alabama right guard Barrett Jones said following Sunday's practice. "It was a lot of fun interacting with these kids, and having the chance to make a positive impression on them. We were then able to get back on the practice field and get to work on Michigan State. It was a little chilly out there today for Florida, but we had a good day of work. The team has the opportunity to visit Sea World this (Sunday) afternoon, and then we will get ready for another day of work on Monday."

"I think everybody has gotten here that had issues with the weather," said Saban. "I think all that got resolved and I think everybody got here. There were only two guys that didn't (arrive Saturday for dinner) and I know one of them got here for sure and I'm assuming the other one was supposed to get here like at nine."

The team arrived Saturday evening and enjoyed a Christmas dinner with their teammates and Alabama staff members. The full bowl roster was present and accounted for at Sunday's practice.

"We've been off for three days and everybody just got here," said Saban when asked about the mood of the team at the morning event. "We got rounded up last night and had a little Christmas dinner. We'll get back to practice today and get a much better feel for it today. I'm sure we'll go through a little bit of a transition getting everyone back into the swing of things, but we had good work at home so we're making progress."

Alabama will return to meetings Monday morning and then hit the practice fields again Monday at 11 a.m. for the second workout of bowl week. The Capital One Bowl is set for a 12 p.m. (CST) kickoff and will be carried by ESPN with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe calling the action.

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