Color Coded

Years ago, in the Paul Bryant era of Alabama football, practice was a kaleidoscope of colors, different colors designating offense or defense and which team–first team, second team, etc.–the player was on.

Alabama Mike Shula has elected to resurrect that color-coding system this spring, in part because he thinks it will be a motivating factor.

And just as under Bryant, the quarterbacks will not be coded by depth. Quarterbacks wear jerseys of a different hue to designate them as protected against contact.

Although there may be some practice organization benefits to having the players identifiable, the real value to Shula is in promoting competition.

"We want the ones who are starters to have to fight every day to hold on, and we want the guys behind them to know that they can be in one of those (first team) jerseys the next day," Shula said. "We want them in competition."

In fact, he said, there can be battlefield promotions. "We could give a guy a new jersey on the practice field," Shula said. "We've got extra jerseys out there."

He said a player might be awarded a new jersey at a team meeting, or he might just find his new jersey in his locker when he reports for practice.

The code is:

First team offense in white, second team offense in gold, third team offense in green.

First team defense in crimson, second team defense in blue, third team defense in black.

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