Halftime Speech Was "Aggressive"

Were you upset, even angry at Alabama's first half performance against Vanderbilt last Saturday? Apparently, you weren't alone. Alabama center Antoine Caldwell described a halftime address from Head Coach Mike Shula that served as a wake-up call to the team.

"It was kind of more of an aggressive speech, but it was what we needed," he said. "We can do a lot better than we're doing. Naturally, we were down 10-3 and we could have scored a lot more points than we did. The halftime speech Coach Shula gave us this weekend, until now, put in our mind that we need to step up our intensity and get on the same page. I think we had a great practice today."

Caldwell is one of the offensive players who hasn't needed a pep talk in the first two games. Shula named him as one of the players who has been among the best in the first two games, and offensive line coach Bob Connelly said Caldwell was the only offensive lineman who had "graded out winning" in both games.

"Andre Smith graded out winning in the second game," he said, "Chris Capps graded out winning in the first game. I guess Antoine would be the only one who has graded out winning in both games."

Alabama practiced outside in the rain on Tuesday afternoon, something that's been rare in the past because of either dry weather or moving indoors to avoid lightning in the area which usually accompanies the rain. Isolated thunderstorms are expected to be in the area Wednesday, and Saturday's long range forecast is for another dry and hot afternoon followed by a tolerable night.

The wet conditions weren't an excuse for D.J. Hall dripping two passes in the early individual drills, though. Hall spent the moments just after practice doing somersaults with his pads and helmet on out on the practice field. The gimmick is intended to serve as a punishment for dropping passes in practice.

"I dropped balls," he said. "I've got to get myself back right. I don't need to be out here dropping balls. I normally do push-ups but I think I had two (drops) in warm-ups."

Hall still fields questions about his suspension for the first game, and who helped him over whatever his troubles were. He countered the impression that he was in the coach's doghouse.

"Really, it was the coaching staff that really pulled me through a lot of my stuff," he said. "They would call me, come talk to me, bring me to the office, close the door, sit down and talk to me one-on-one. That's why I think I have more respect for this coaching staff than a lot of people understand. Coach Shula especially, but my position coach, Coach Cheese, Coach Connelly, Coach Ungerer, and even coaches on the defensive side. They really looked and me and were like ‘Man, it's okay. Everybody's with you.' That was a big part of me being on this team and having a lot of respect for this team."

Kyle Tatum, who was suspended from last week's game, said he expects to be back in the mix this week. Tatum kept mum on the suspension, saying, "If there are any questions about that, you can as Coach Shula." Tatum also said his shoulder has "been banged up, but it's something I have to play with. I'm good to go."

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