Sunday Morning Still Hot

Two-a-day practices began Sunday on the Capstone, and the Alabama football team set practices times at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., out of the peak hours of the heat of the day. But it was still hot on Sunday's practice slightly over two hours, and the heat beat down as the squad wrapped up practice on the outdoor turf field, or the "green skillet" as one player called it exiting the field.

Scuffles in pre-season fall camp aren't all that uncommon, and Alabama had its first today. It was a bit unusual, however, that the brief altercation happened between two defensive tackles. Justin Britt and Jeremy Clark were tangled up the squad's first fight of the year as groups moved from one drill to the next. Britt and Clark both said the fight was a normal case of tempers flaring.

"We were just trying to encourage each other, and each of us didn't want to be encouraged," Britt said.

Juwan Simspon was swamped by reporters as he jogged off the practice field Sunday morning, but the interview didn't take long. Simpson went down and was in severe pain for several minutes holding his right leg during the early portion of practice, but he came off without a limp and a bandage job around his shin.

"I got kicked in the leg," he said. "I was more scared myself than anything."

Tim Castille continued to get more work on Sunday morning, getting in the mix during "compete" drills where backs had to pick up blitzing linebackers and protect them from reaching a spot representing where the quarterback would be. Castille's knee held up well during the drill.

Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader is obviously anxious to get Castille back into the lineup. "Tim, he's been good to me," he said Sunday. "It's a good thing I'm not (head trainer) Rodney Brown."

"I'd have him out there. That's a coach's point of view. Then again, you can't put him out there too soon, but we're looking forward to having him back."

Le'Ron McClain has had a fantastic fall camp in Castille's stead, but with Castille's leg not completely healed depth at that position is needed. Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader said that Kyle Bennett and Vic Horn have both been impressive in trying to earn that spot.

Kyle has been as good as he's ever been in his assignment," Rader said. "Victor Horn has been a very pleasant surprise, having hardly any reps at all and coming in making as few mistakes as he has made. It has really helped his confidence."

After struggling in pass-catching on Saturday, Keith Brown left practice about mid-way through on Sunday morning. Rader said Brown was injured, but deferred health issues to Head Coach Mike Shula, who did not plan to give interviews until Sunday's evening practice had completed.

"We miss Keith. Keith's got to get back out there," Rader said.

Receivers coach Charlie Harbison said Brown was with athletic trainer Rodney Brown, and that he expected Brown to be fine.

Freshman Prince Hall fared well against starting fullback Le'Ron in a blitz drill Sunday morning. The two collided in what was probably the loudest pad popping of the day and Hall was able to separate from McClain to get to the towel that had been placed in the vicinity of where the quarterback would be.

Eric Gray limped off the field Saturday afternoon and was on the injured list Sunday morning. He and Byron Walton were new additions to the list, which includes Ramzee Robinson (back strain), Chris Harris (hamstring), Kenneth Vandervoort (hamstring), Mark Anderson (recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery), Cody Davis (hamstring) and Juke King (hamstring).

Shula is expected to give complete injury updates Sunday evening, but Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines said the list of injured was short.

"We've been really lucky so far," Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines said. "Right now I'd guess we're about as healthy as anybody in the country going through two-a-days. You're always going to have your nicks and bruises but right now we're pretty much on track.

Matt Collins showed he can fill a hole on the inside as well as anyone on the team. Collins filled and drilled Glen Coffee on an inside running play during inside drill.

Top prospect and Homewood offensive lineman David Ross attended Sunday mornings practice.

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