Sprinting toward the fall

With the start of fall camp less than a month away, the Tide squad is running for its life--its football life that is. <br><br>The players know that time is running short, and essentially the last thing an athlete wants to do is have to "play himself into shape" during two-a-days.

(Above left) Senior wideout Brandon Greer takes off. For this year at least, Alabama will sport plenty of experience at wide receiver. No less than six senior athletes, including Greer, have seen game experience.

Wesley Britt warms up before the workout begins. Head Strength and Coditioning Coach Ben Pollard utilizes movement warmups whenever possible, to both stretch and train the various ligaments and muscles in the proper movements. Two quarterbacks are waiting their turn, Mike Machen (left) and Spencer Pennington (right).

If there exists a more competitive group of athletes than football players, we'd like to see them. Essentially you can't put players together running without scores of individual "races" cropping up. Here Thurman Ward (left) and Juwan Garth (right) explode off the line. Who won? Probably Ward, but Garth runs very well for a linebacker. Very well.

More challenging--and also more football specific--is a race with the competitors starting off lying down. It obviously trains the reflexes, but the technique also helps the athlete remember to stay low off the line. The goal is physiologically impossible of course, but you want the athlete to try and rise and take his first step in the same instant. By the way, that's offensive tackle Evan Mathis (left) just barely beating guard Justin Smiley (right) off the line. But as "Big Smiles" would quickly point out, that doesn't mean Mathis won the race.

When you look at Clint Johnston up close, you'd hardly peg him as fast. But the weight-room warrior actually runs very well. He's one of three tight ends (including David Cavan and Donald Clarke) that are expected to see extensive playing time this season.

This workout took place inside the Indoor Facility, giving the athletes relief from the July sun. But as Triandos Luke and Todd Bates (behind Luke) show, there was more than enough energy expended. From now until the start of fall camp, the Tide squad will focus especially on getting into running shape for the season.

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