With his teammates (and position coach Mark Tommerdahl) blurred in the background, tight end Donald Clarke makes the leaping catch in practice. So far Alabama has only used two tight ends (starter Terry Jones Jr. and backup Theo Sanders), but Clarke has the look of a player too good to keep on the bench.
Saleem Rasheed (#11) and Kindal Moorehead (#54) make the tackle. Though the game took place less than two weeks ago, intervening world events have made it seem like it was last season when the Tide topped Vanderbilt in Nashville, 12-9.
Ahmaad Galloway hauls in the pass during practice this past week. The junior tailback has been the workhorse for Bama in its first two games, carrying the ball 21 and 24 times. And the unexpected mid-season departure of former Tider Brandon Miree to Pittsburgh has suddenly made Galloway almost indispensible.
Bama's starting offensive line walks up to the line versus the Commodores. Heading into the season the unit was a source of concern for Tide fans, but Terry Jones Jr. (#82), Wesley Britt (#70), Justin Smilely (#78), Alonzo Ephraim (#58), Marico Portis (#71) and Dante Ellington (#65) have performed better than expected.
A rare athlete who can make the difficult seem routine, senior wideout Freddie Milons makes an acrobatic catch on the practice field. Not surprisingly, Milons' 338 yards of total offense have demonstrated that the Mississippi native is once again the Tide's most electrifying player.
After taking the pitch from Tyler Watts (#14), Santonio Beard (#34) turns upfield behind the blocking of fullback Nick Signaigo (#30). It's not Alabama's base offensive play--despite reports to the contrary--but the Tide has often used the option in its first two games to keep opposing defenses honest.
Shown hauling in an over-the-shoulder catch during practice this week, junior Sam Collins shows his athleticism. He, Milons, Antonio Carter, Triandos Luke and Jason McAddley have comprised Bama's primary receiving group in the first two games.
From attitude to offensive and defensive schemes, there have been many changes from last year's Tide to this. But probably the most prominent has been at the very top. Head Coach Dennis Franchione is an experienced leader, looming 'large and in charge' as he directs the Tide from the sidelines.