Veterans talk about first day back

The second phase of Mike Shula's first year got underway on Saturday--even though the spring session came after the fall. Nevertheless, players were eager to get back on the field.

"We started off on a good note," cornerback Charlie Peprah said. "The intensity was there. You could tell people were anxious to get on the football field. We're trying to get rid of that 4-9 taste in our mouth. We had a lot of mistakes, but the intensity was there."

Running back Ray Hudson, a senior who is looking to be the Crimson Tide's No. 1 tailback this season, agreed.

"It felt good," Hudson said. "We just had to workout the cobwebs. It felt good. We're all working together and coming together as a team."

For most all of the players, there was some rustiness. After all, it's been nearly four months since the Tide hit the field in a game or practice situation. Peprah had some spirited battles with receivers such as Tyrone Prothro in pass drills.

"I felt I could have done better," Peprah said. "I wasn't as behind as I thought I was going to be."

Charlie Peprah will be counted on for veteran leadership this year.

The receiving group will enter the season inexperienced, so that will be a main focus this spring--to identify playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Peprah mentioned who he thought were the most improved.

"Prothro, Matt Caddell and Brandon Brooks were the good ones," Peprah said. "AC (Antonio Carter) was out there coaching them. They're just going to teach the rest of them and they'll all get better every day."

For Hudson, he felt a little rusty, but doesn't expect that to last very long.

"There was rustiness as far as route running and picking plays back up but that's about it," Hudson said.

When comparing the first day of spring to the first day of fall practice--Shula's first practice with the team, Hudson mentioned one thing--tempo.

"We're going 100 miles an hour when we were about half speed when he first came out," Hudson said. "We did a lot more reps and installed a lot. It was like he knew we were veterans."

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