The squad completed stretching, special teams work and most of their individual periods before an approaching storm moved the squad, spectators and scores of coaches on campus for this week's clinic indoors for seven-on-seven and team periods to end the practice.
"We had some 11-on-11 at the end with some live tackling, and we need more of that. We need a lot of experience in that area," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said. "I thought we had a good practice. We had a couple of guys nicked up but everyone came back."
Alabama will scrimmage on Saturday at 10:15 at Bryant-Denny Stadium (open to the public). Shula said the rotation will likely be eight plays for each the first and second team units and six for the third string.
"We'll mix in some punting at halftime and we need to get some field goals, too. I don't know how many plays, we've just got to see with injuries," he said.
There was more good injury news than bad Thursday, as receiver Nikita Stover returned to practice after missing time with a left groin strain. Stover's leg was wrapped, and his day was marked with inconsistency overall.
"Nikita practiced today but he is behind," Shula said.
Transfer Jonathan Lowe, a 5-7 transfer from Mississippi State, would normally be low on the radar screen, but with Will Oakley and Stover having been injured he is getting more repetitions with the large group hanging behind Keith Brown, DJ Hall and Matt Caddell as the top three wideouts. Lowe will not be eligible to play until 2007.
"That's kind of where we're at with our depth (at wide receiver)," Shula said. "He's a little lost running our system. I know he did some punt returns over there but I haven't watched him yet."
Travis McCall had an MRI on a twisted ankle suffered last Saturday, and Shula said the MRI "came back okay. He's probably going to be out this week."
Shula said Glenn Coffee would be re-evaluated after spring break to determine more about his pelvic area. "He wants to be out there." Although the injury seems reminiscent of the early stages of Kenneth Darby's symptoms last year, it is too early to say if it like Darby's injury or something else.
"We don't think so right now," Shula said, asked if it was like Darby's injury. "I'm not a doctor, and the doctors say he needs to rest it. The sports hernia is not diagnosed right away, which is something I find interesting, but I'm not a doctor."
The leadership theme continued to get some play Thursday. Shula said, "The biggest thing is that some guys are more vocal. Ramzee Robinson, Le'Ron McClain. I'm not saying it's a rah-rah thing, but certain special situations where they are talking to the team and encouraging them."
Thursday marked the arrival of scores of high school coaches attending Alabama's coaching clinic and spring practices. The clinic is running beginning Thursday night through Friday in Tuscaloosa.
Tonight, Tide running backs coach Sparky Woods and defensive backs coach Chris Ball will give clinics following dinner at Bryant-Denny Stadium's scholarship room.
On Friday the other Tide coaches will present, and former Texas A&M Head Coach R.C. Slocumb will also address the high school coaches.
"It's good to have them in here," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said. "There are some good coaches here. They're a little closer to the drills than we let y'all. We will spend time with them tonight and tomorrow pretty much all the way up until practice."