Hugs For D.J. Hall

Big hug. Give a big hug. That's the way it was for Alabama junior wide receiver D.J. Hall as he reunited with his teammates Monday. Hall had missed the Cotton Bowl game to end the 2006 season, then missed summer workouts to be home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

D.J. Hall was back on campus Monday night and back on a hot, hot Alabama practice field Tuesday afternoon. Monday night was better than Tuesday afternoon.

"It was tough today," Hall said following the workout. "It was real hot. I tried to fight through it, but I cramped up."

Hall, expected to be one of Bama's leaders as a returning starter at wide receiver, missed part of the workout because of his reaction to the heat.

"I've got to get my conditioning level up to college level with the rest of my team," he said. "I worked out this summer, but what I did was not as intense as what they did here."

Hall said there was never any question that he would be with the Alabama football team this fall. "I never doubted I'd be back," he said. "I had some personal issues I had to deal with and Coach Shula was good enough to let me go home for the summer. Rumors started and I'd hear about them from my teammates. I was talking to them. They weren't worried. Y'all (sportswriters) interviewed them this summer, K.D. (Kenneth Darby) and them, and they said I was coming back. And I'm back."

He said he addressed his teammates at a Monday night meeting. He was asked if "most of them" supported him.

"Not ‘most of them,'" Hall said. "All of them. I got more hugs yesterday than at any time in my life."

He said his absence in the Cotton Bowl was a different issue than his reason for going home this summer.

Hall predicted that he would show marked improvement in conditioning "after two or three practices. Not all the way back, but a lot closer."

As for his teammates, he said, "I could see how hard they've been working and it motivates me to get up to that level."

He downplayed any problem he might have insofar as not having worked with new quarterback John Parker Wilson this summer. "J.P. and I had a pretty good connection in the spring," he said. "I wouldn't say we're out of sync."

Hall was winner of the Dixie Howell Award as the outstanding player in the A-Day Game last spring as he had seven receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Hall said he noticed the play of newcomers at wide receiver–Mike McCoy, Earl Alexander, and Jake Jones. "Mike, Earl and Jake all worked hard today," he said. "That impressed me. They can do it. They are going to have to do it. We need depth at receiver."

Hall was Alabama's leading receiver last fall with 48 catches for 676 yards and five touchdowns.

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