Photo report: basic drills teach skills

After a walk-through and stretching, Bama moves quickly into a serious of drills designed to emphasize fundamental blocking and tackling above all else.

Back two years ago when Brandon Miree signed with the Tide, Shaun Alexander (who happened to grow up close to Miree's home) made a habit of describing the Cincinnati native as a "faster, stronger version of me." Truthfully, the two are markedly different runners, but one thing they do share in common is a smile capable of making friends of strangers in an instant. In recent assessments of the tailback position, Coach Franchione has termed Miree a solid No. 2.

Offensive Line Coach Jim Bob Helduser walks amid a sea of oversized legs. After an initial walk-through period used for teaching schemes, Tide Strength & Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard makes certain every athlete is as loose as possible before beginning physical contact.

With Strength Coach Steve Martin looking on, junior wideout Sam Collins works to properly loosen his 'I-T band,' a series of muscles and tendons from the ilium (largest bone in the pelvis) to the tibia. As Coach Fran noted recently, the longer two-a-days continue, the more bumps, pulls and strains start to take a toll on an athlete's body.

When Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush talks about a disciplined, sound football squad, the man is not just blowing smoke. Each day every unit on the Tide defense spends time practicing tackling fundamentals. Here, the athletes attack the tackling dummy down low, grabbing hold and immediately twisting around, thereby guaranteeing that the 'ball carrier' will go down.

In what has become an annual ritual, University president Dr. Andrew Sorenson was a visitor to practice this week, addressing the squad following warmups. Here, Franchione and Athletics Director Mal Moore talk with Sorenson during drills.

Super-Freshman Brodie Croyle let's fly with the pass. Croyle entered school last January to get a jump on the learning process, but at this point it appears that the coaches could choose to redshirt him.

Anyone that doubts two-a-days are a physically demanding time need only look at Terry Jones Jr.'s sweat-soaked t-shirt. That's strong safety Waine Bacon walking next to Jones.

If Alabama is to turn things around after last season's 3-8 record, then one or more quarterbacks must step up and seize the job. Here, Spencer Pennington (#13), Brodie Croyle (#12), Tyler Watts (#14) and Andrew Zow (#5) walk off the practice field with Coach Koenning.

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