It's Another Good Day

Alabama's first two days of spring practice have been pleasing to Crimson Tide Head Football Coach Dennis Franchione. NCAA rules mandate that those first two days must be non-contact, so the emphasis as Alabama opened spring drills has been on the mental. Bama has been out in shorts and helmets Thursday and Friday. That will change Saturday when Bama will go into full gear for the first time this spring.

Alabama spring practice will continue through the A-Day Game on April 13.

After Friday's two-and-a-half-hour workout, Franchione said, "It was a good day. We got a lot done. We installed some more offense and defense. There were a few mistakes, but we've put a lot in these first two days. It's a credit to their recall and to what we got done last fall. We won't know if they can execute it until we get into pads, but the mental part of it has been good."

He added, "We might not have had this much in after 10 or 12 days last spring." Franchione has noted that coaching his second spring at Alabama is completely different than last year when players and coaches were new to one another and Tide players were having to learn all new schemes and terminology and practice pace.

Franchione has also been pleased with the physical conditioning of the squad. "I knew we were stronger," the coach said, "but I didn't know how the running would be and it has been pretty good."

The Tide coach said a great deal can be accomplished in the non-contact practices. "It's the teaching part," he said. "Installation (of offense and defense), execution, steps, assignments, alignments." He pointed out that a player has to be confident in the mental part, in his assignments, in order to be a confident player.

He said, "This is what you enjoy most as a coach. This is the time for evaluating players and seeing what they can do. It's a fun time for a coach because you don't have to worry about an opponent immediately. We're concentrating on our team."

Although he wouldn't signal out anyone, Franchione said "A lot of them looked good. I don't know if anyone stood out more than the rest. Obviously, the skill position guys have a better chance to stand out when you are in shorts." Even though, he added, he noticed good things by the offensive and defensive linemen in performing various drills.

One player did come in for special mention. Offensive guard Justin Smiley had arthroscopic knee surgery recently and was expected to miss some early practice time. Franchione said, "He did everything nine or 10 days after having his knee scoped. He didn't miss a beat and he didn't have any ill effects. He went all day Thursday and Friday morning there was no swelling or anything. The doctors did a good job and Justin is tough, particularly mentally. After knee surgery the mental part is often the most important."

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