"You wake up about this time of year early in the morning and your heart's beating 100 miles an hour," Kines said Thursday. "I don't know any year it hasn't been like that. Somehow your body knows this thing's fixing to happen. You just do it the same way you've always done it."
Kines gets questioned about scheme and philosophy all the time, but he continued to try to stress the importance of fundamentals on Thursday.
"Any time you get ahead of getting them in a good stance and getting them fundamentally sound you make a big mistake," he said. "You try to get that base up under you so you've got something to work with. There's been some years as you go through it that all of a sudden you get down the road a little piece, you look back and you wonder why you've been playing bad and you say 'Well, crap. No wonder, we never did cover this to start with.'" We're going to work real hard to let that happen to us this year."
"It's just like that bull rider when they ring that bell. It don't ever change. You know that thing's fixing to buck, jerk and pull. It's always the same."
The defense that had holes all throughout the line in the spring has had a relatively healthy summer, with the known exception of Mark Anderson's arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago. Kines expects the line to be in tact when practice begins Tuesday.
"As far as the injury report goes, we're going to start with a clean slate," Kines said.
Kines applauded a rule change that allowed freshmen to receive financial aide the summer before their season begins, which encourages freshmen to get to class early.
"The old ones have really adopted this group, or assimilated them a lot quicker," he said. "It's fixing to really pick up for them and they don't know it yet. It'll get real fast here in a day or two, but at least they've had a little introduction to it."
The Crimson Tide lost just two starters in the front seven of the defense, but Kines indicated that building depth up front is among his top concerns. In the secondary, Kines said he does not anticipate any newcomers pushing for immediate playing time, but, "Somebody needs to up front. We need somebody in that front seven, some young guy, to say I can help and I can help real quick."
"Hopefully there's a couple up front. We could use two for sure and if three would come on - the more that come on the better, obviously. We're in a situation numbers wise where we need a couple of guys that didn't play last year to step up and say they can play."
The defense is not depth-starved, however. While Kines would like to play 35-40, or all of his defensive players during a game, he said a more realistic goal would be for the defense to be about two-and-a-half units deep.
"We'd like to play them all if we could, seriously," he said. "We went back and looked at the numbers last year and we played two and a half deep at a lot of places. We'll approach camp that way.
"We're not going to play them if they're not ready, but we're going to try to get at least two deep at most positions and up front rushing the passer you need every hand you can get."
The first milestone on Kines' calendar after the beginning of practice will be the first scrimmage after a week of acclimation and another few days in full pads.
"Our deal right now is to try to get to that first scrimmage," he said. "We need to get these freshmen taught so when we put them on the field in that first scrimmage they can play and show us what they can do. If we get to the first scrimmage and they don't know what to do then they don't have a good opportunity to play and show you what they've got. Our main concern right now is to get that first week done so we can get them ready for that first scrimmage."
"The best thing we've got going right now is the kids know the defense and they can help the young ones."