Photo report: scenes from Fall Camp

'Two-a-days.' <p>Just say the words, and football players past and present immediately understand. Those late-summer days spent under the usually blistering sun are when a group of athletes transforms itself into a team. And sometimes pictures are the best medium for conveying what occurs.

For the players, Fall Camp will likely remain one of the most physically demanding things they will ever do in their lives. As Coach Franchione noted recently, "Even the NFL doesn't use a schedule of two-a-days six days in a row." In the photo, tight end Terry Jones Jr. shows the obvious after-effects of morning work in the Alabama heat and humidity.


Along with the tremendous physical effort required, Fall Camp is as much about the mental aspects of football as anything else. Learn your assignments; learn the proper techniques; know what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it and how it's supposed to be done... Or find yourself sitting on the bench, come game day. Here, quarterbacks Brodie Croyle (#12) and Andrew Zow (#5) listen to their position coach's instructions during warmups.


But for all the absolutely vital mental preparation required, never doubt that an athlete's ticket to playing time is physical talent. Perform--carry out your assignments on the field, or the coaches will find someone who will. During warmups for Saturday morning's kicking scrimmage, junior Sam Collins uses every bit of bounce in his receiver's legs to reach high for an overthrown ball.


In a photo giving the viewer a glimpse of Crimson history past and future, Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore (who owns multiple championship rings from his time as assistant coach to Coach Bryant) and Head Coach Dennis Franchione spend a moment at practice. Moore brought Franchione in, explaining that he was searching for an experienced head coach who was a "proven winner," and Franchione has said that he hopes to add his own chapter to Crimson Tide history.


On of the things that distinguishes Franchione practices from many of his coaching peers is the relentless, almost startling focus on repetition and learning. From how to tuck the ball away after catching a pass, to multiple repetitions fighting off a blocker and immediately sliding over to make the tackle, the attention to detail and emphasis on fundamentals is clear. In the photo, Freddie Milons (right) tries to distract Roberto McBride as he fields a punt.


Following a schedule jam-packed with two full practice sessions, multiple meetings and a minumum four meals a day, the players can start to wear down from the grind. But like recruits attempting to make it through Marine Corps boot camp, some things in life must simply be endured. In the photo sophomore tailback Santonio Beard almost seems to be enjoying his brief moment of rest during stretching.


Of course the purpose of all that intense activity is clear--build a winning football squad, capable of transferring onto the field what they learn during two-a-days. Running full speed, wideout Antonio 'AC' Carter has the pass timed perfectly as the football comes in over his shoulder.


One of the more interesting aspects of Fall Camp is the obvious bond that develops among the players--despite the fact that they're competing against each other for roles on the team. Showing the point clearly, the camera catches Anthony Bryant (left) and David Daniel (right) sharing a laugh. Technically the two are rivals, battling each other for the starting job at Nose Tackle. But the two first became friends last season and since that time have continued to share both a position and a friendship.



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