Tide Football Gets Back To Practice

There was a new element to March Madness when the Alabama football team reported back this week to resume spring practice. Although Alabama Coach Nick Saban said he was "happy to see everybody get back healthy and happy and safely," he had a slight amendment to the report.

"Blake Sims had a little hip injury playing basketball or something during the break," Alabama Coach Nick Saban said. "We try to get these guys not to play basketball, but they all think they can play in the NBA, so I guess we've just got to suffer the consequences for that."

Sims is a third-year tailback who has also played quarterback. Tailback is an area of interest this spring with Trent Richardson having completed his eligibility and last year's back-up, Eddie Lacy, sitting out this spring after having undergone surgery to repair a turf toe injury.

Alabama was back for its second day of spring practice Monday. The Tide had practiced on Friday, March 9, then players had been on spring break for a week before resuming Monday.

There was some good news on the injury front. Starting left guard Chance Warmack had been held out of the first practice with a slight injury, but was back Monday.

Saban said, "Even though today wasn't the first day of practice, it seemed as such.

"I thought under the circumstances, I was pleased with the effort and the way guys picked up from where we left off. We added to what we needed to do.

"I think the big question for everybody is, how much will you invest in yourself and in the team so that we can get better. So that you can get better individually, and so that we can get better. It's special to be all you can be. You can't really take anything for granted. You've got to learn to be accountable and responsible to give effort, play with toughness, be accountable to do your job and execute on a consistent basis.

"Right now, we've got too many young guys that are talented guys that need to learn how to do that with more consistency. The mental toughness to be able to focus and keep an intensity level, regardless of circumstances or what happens.

"It will be interesting to see as we continue to add things, how much paralysis by analysis we really get, especially with some of the young guys. We're going to keep on keeping on like we always do."

There's a little more than usual going on this week. Bama will have its third practice of the spring Wednesday, then on Friday and Saturday will come under greater than usual scrutiny, although nothing else about practice will change. That's because Alabama will have its annual spring coaching clinic, which is expected to attract in excess of 1,000 high school coaches.

"I think we've got a pretty stellar lineup," Saban said. "Bill Parcells and Lou Holtz are probably as fine a speakers as (possible). Bill Parcells usually doesn't do this type of thing, so this is kind of an exclusive with him coming here. Lou Holtz is a phenomenal speaker. "

Saban said others include former Tide player and longtime FSU Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews, former Tide running back star Bobby Humphrey, and the head coaches of the six Alabama high school championship teams.

Saban said, "Our clinic philosophy is, it's our one way we can serve the high school coaches and give back professionally the most we possibly can by having a quality clinic and spending as much time as we possibly can. Our coaches are available Thursday night in coaches' corner type thing where everybody's got a (chalk) board, answer questions, visit with guys. We've grown our clinic to over 1,000 folks now, and it's because of the quality and what the guys get out of it. It's our way to give back to the people who give so much to us in terms of the way they inspire and guage, and develop young players. That helps make our program all that it is."

The coaches will watch Alabama'S Friday and Saturday practices, neither of which will be a scrimmage. But, Saban, said, that won't affect the players.

"The players on the field had better be focused on what they're doing," the Tide coach said. "We don't do anything different. We give the coaches the opportunity to see what we do in practice, how we coach, an opportunity to look at the drills we do, but we really don't do anything different. They see the organization and the multiples of drills we do. We stay on our plan of what we want to try to accomplish. We have a schedule of things we do each day, so they'll see two days of those drills Friday and Saturday, because this year, Saturday will not be a scrimmage."

Among visitors at practice Monday were members of the new Penn State coaching staff.

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