High School Coaches Fill Bama Practice

As many as 800 high school football coaches packed the Thomas-Drew practice fields for Alabama's fourth spring football practice on Friday as a part of the two-day coaching clinic being put on by Tide Head Coach Nick Saban and his staff this weekend.

Saban did not make himself nor any players or assistants available for media interviews on Friday, citing the coaching clinic. The squad will practice again on Saturday with Saban speaking to reporters after practice, and will then be off until Tuesday of next week.

Saturday's practice will mark the conclusion of the first week of spring practice under Saban and the fifth of 15 practices allowed by NCAA rules.

Thus far, Saban has seemed satisfied with the progress of his players, but has given little away in terms of strategy. How the offense will take shape under 28-year-old coordinator Major Applewhite, with influence from assistant head coach Joe Pendry, and Saban himself, remains the biggest mystery to the media and the public since Saban has always used the same defense since becoming a head coach.

Notable position shifts to date include B.J. Stabler from right tackle to right guard, Brian Motley from offensive line to defensive line, Brandon Fanney from defensive tackle to outside linebacker and the conversion of defensive ends Keith Saunders and Zeke Knight to outside linebackers who can also walk up to the line and play with their hands on the ground as a defensive end.

According to Saban, DJ Hall and John Parker Wilson have consistently had standout practices on offense and the receivers as a group have been the recipients of the most consistent post-practice praise. Running backs have not had as much of a chance to be in the mix, however, since Bama has had only two days in full pads and running backs are best tested against more contact.

The biggest concern for Alabama in the spring will be on the defensive front seven, where Alabama lost starters Jeremy Clark, Juwan Simpson and Terrence Jones from a group that was thinly recruited in recent years.


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