Photo Report: Summer is for running

The way Head Srength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard sees it, coaching football can sometimes be like a tag-team event. At the conclusion of spring drills, Coach Franchione 'handed off' the squad to Pollard whose job it has been to continue the strength gains while at the same time whipping the athletes into playing shape for football. With everyone working hard, the last few months have gone well, and Pollard is almost ready to hand the players back to Coach Fran for fall two-a-days.

So what have the Bama players been up to lately? Well, if it's summertime, then wind sprints--and lots of them--are a regular part of every athlete's day. Here, Aries Monroe (second from left), Ahmaad Galloway (third from left in gray sweatshirt), Josh Averitt (center) and Nick Signaigo (on the yardline to the right) lead the team across the field. Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard reports that the squad isn't just running more this month to get in shape for fall--in fact, they've been running hard all summer to increase the conditioning level of the team. All the players in the photo can't be identified, but Justin Smiley is over Averitt's left shoulder, Nautyn McKay-Loescher is over Signaigo's left shoulder and Dante Ellington is back behind him (in the white t-shirt).

Almost everything but the cornerback's face is blurred, as Thurman Ward sprints off the line. One of the most physically gifted of Bama's cornerbacks, Ward hopes to become a prime member of the playing rotation this fall. Behind him getting water are kicker Alex Fox (left) and middle linebacker Darius Gilbert.

So you want to play quarterback for Alabama, huh? The pain on Tyler Watts' face (not to mention the sweat pouring off his back) proves that wearing the Crimson jersey isn't all fun and games. Winning teams are forged under the broiling sun during long summer months, and this squad is determined to pay the price. Over his right shoulder are Victor Ellis and Ahmaad Galloway.

Always looking to maximize the benefits from every exercise, Coach Pollard has the athletes work position-specific moves as they begin their run. Here, offensive linemen (left to right) Matt Lomax, Justin Smiley and incoming freshman J.B. Closner take a side step before exploding into their sprint. That's Aries Monroe catching his breath to the left.

Tight end Terry Jones Jr. leaps into his run. He and fellow upperclassmen Kindal Moorehead (in sweatshirt), Victor Ellis (standing to Moorehead's right) and Kenny King were running together this day. For the seniors, this will be their last season at Alabama, and as a group they're determined to make it a good one.

Refusing to give in to fatigue, sophomore tailback Brandon Miree holds himself upright as he walks between sprints. Virtually the entire squad is in the best shape of their lives. Always a broad, powerfully built athlete for a tailback, Miree personally has lost over 15 pounds from last season.

Redshirt freshman Tarry Givens takes a peak across the field in the middle of his wind sprints. Standing 6-5 and now sporting some added muscle obtained last season and during the past several months, Givens hopes to battle for a spot in the playing rotation at wide receiver.

After their runs, the squad members high step over track hurdles to stretch muscles. In turn they step forward, sideways left, sideways right and then backwards to help loosen hip and groin muscles and hopefully prevent injuries later on. Left to right: Thurman Ward (with Tyler Harris beyond his right shoulder), Victor Ellis, Terry Jones Jr., an unidentified player and Corey Ferguson.

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