Practice, Take Two

It was a sloppy hour and 20 minutes of practice, on the Alabama football team's second day on the field Wednesday before Head Coach Mike Shula decided his squad should try it again, from the top.

After a 3:30 p.m. start, the horn sounded with 3:19 remaining in period 13, an hour and 10 minutes into practice, and the team was called back to the starting point to begin stretching all over again.

"What we saw early wasn't what we we're about," Shula said. "When we started it over is more like the way we do things. We can't accept some of the things that went on early in practice."

"The lengths of time that you have to concentrate and the ability to do that is so important for our success and that's where that leadership has to come in and these guys have to get through this first part of practice with all the extra running. As good a shape they're in, you can't simulate what they're going through this first couple of days."

The team went inside with about an hour left in practice, dodging a monstrous thunderstorm that produced lightning, thunder and buckets of rain. The day ended at about 6:30 p.m. with conditioning running in the indoor facility.

Shula said there wasn't any one thing that caused practice to re-start, just general inattentiveness, along with too many balls dropped and fumbled. Neither were the defensive coaches pleased with the early portions of practice, seeing at more mistakes that usual.

"It was probably the same all over today to start with," Shula said.

Shula has the luxury of re-starting practice only for a short time. Once classes begin in two weeks the team will be limited to 20 hours of work per week and no more.

"The reality is when game time comes and we have one guy make a mistake here and one guy make a mistake there all of a sudden it takes away from all the good that you do," Shula said. "Obviously, we've got to get better than we were today, but at the end the tempo was a lot better."

Alabama continues its acclimation period with a 3:30 p.m. (CT) practice on Thursday. The Crimson Tide practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on Thursday and Friday, before its first full pads workout on Saturday afternoon.

Shula said in the first two days of practice in shorts and helmets, true freshman B.J. Stabler has already began to stand out.

"B.J. Stabler has looked good, and it's early for those guys in shorts," Shula said. "But B.J. has done some good things. We obviously want to find out when the pads come on."

Shula said aside from too much fumbling, running backs Glen Coffee and Roy Upchurch had impressed him among the true freshmen, along with Chris Keys and Eryk Anders.

"Chris Keys has done some good things," he said. "Yesterday he did some good things that showed up. He and Cory Reamer, as young safeties back there, looked pretty good like they understand things pretty well back there and have gotten off to a good start."

Shula continued to heap praise on the efforts of Le'Ron McClain in the off-season. "He looks stronger and he's slimmer. He's moving around quicker and his endurance is better than it's ever been."

Names on Shula's injured list included Chris Harris, Ramzee Robinson, Cody Davis, and Kenneth Vandervoort, but none seemed major.

Shula said Ramzee Robinson sprained his lower back, but did not think it would keep him out of practice long. Chris Harris tweaked his hamstring toward the middle of practice, and Cody Davis strained his hamstring on Tuesday, Shula said.

Vandervoort's injury was a hamstring injury, also.

Alabama will be featured on FSN South on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. FSN South will offer a 30-minute preview of the Crimson Tide's football season, including interviews, highlights and analysis.

Alabama's half hour will be preceded by Auburn's preview at 9 p.m. for lead-in programming.

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