Hot? It's Not Hot

The heat wave in Alabama is national news, but not a topic of conversation among a group upon whom it would seemingly have a major effect. Alabama's football team completed its first week of fall camp Thursday afternoon with a two-hour practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on another scorching hot day at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.

Temperatures reached 103 degrees during the two-hour practice, with the heat index touching 112 degrees. Referring in a light-hearted way to a question about the weather, Alabama Coach Nick Saban addressed the temptation to be preoccupied by the heat.

"We are not allowed to talk about that in this building," Saban said. "What are you going to do about it? It's called the ‘poor me's.' That's going to be your ad campaign. I can't do it. What are you telling the other guys? "I'm hot.' ‘I'm tired.' ‘I don't' know if I can make it.' ‘I'm hungry.' ‘I'm thirsty.' It is called the ‘poor me's.' I have to work out here in the heat. Everybody else is doing it, though.

"We can only make them do so much. They have to want to do it at some time and everyone learns that the best day of your life is the day you decide your life is your own. There are no apologies, no excuses, nobody to lean on, nobody to blame. It's your life and you have the responsibility to make of it whatever you want. That is the challenge for all of us."

Saban said, "I think we're making some progress."

Saban broke down various traits of football players – those who practice well all the time, those who practice well sometimes, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who aren't aware of what's happening.

"We need to get a critical mass of those who make things happen," he said.

He was reluctant to discuss a planned Saturday scrimmage because there is a Thursday practice to be evaluated and two practice sessions on Friday. "Every day and every play is an opportunity to improve," he said, explaining that he was interested in the "now."

But, he did say that he viewed the scrimmage as another opportunity for players to do things on their own. "That's maturity," he said. "That's being able to compete in games. We'll continue to keep making them, but we want them to do it on their own."

Saban confirmed that freshman defensive back Chris Lett (Pensacola, Fla.) had returned to the team and his situation would be monitored daily. Lett had not previously practiced due to an undisclosed medical situation.

He also noted that tailback Roy Upchurch is in a black (no contact) jersey because of shoulder surgery in the summer ("Old news") and said that freshman defensive end Jeremy Elder had been in a black jersey after suffering a neck injury, but that Elder was back at work.

In answer to a question about redshirt freshman tailback Terry Grant, Saban agreed that Grant looks "pretty fast." The coach added that Grant is quick and does a good job of being able to change direction. "We've been pleased with what he can do," Saban said. He also noted that Grant (5-10, 188) had gotten a little bigger and stronger in the summer, which is important. As he has in the past, Saban mentioned the importance of having a two-man rotation at tailback to give Grant rest.

The Crimson Tide will be back on the field Friday for its second two-a-day practice sessions at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Alabama will hold its first scrimmage on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. All practices, including Saturday's scrimmage, are closed to the public.

Alabama will open the 2007 season Saturday, September 1, against Western Carolina in Bryant-Denny Stadium.


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