Practices Go Well; Scrimmage Looms

Nothing good comes from looking past the task at hand. In the case of Alabama football players, there are two tasks—the second day of two-a-day practices on Friday. But it wouldn't be a surprise if there isn't some thought given to Saturday. That's when the Crimson Tide has its first scrimmage.

Alabama was in full gear for a Thursday afternoon practice. On Friday, Bama will have two practices. Then on Saturday Bama heads to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first scrimmage of fall camp.

Saban explained that the scrimmage will be an evaluation for the players. In ordinary practice situations a coach is hovering over the player as he goes through his drills and any mistakes are corrected. In the scrimmage, the players are on their own, just playing football.

As all Alabama practices, the scrimmage is closed to the public and media, although several hundred members of Red Elephant Clubs will be in attendance.

There are several positions where Bama coaches are probably still searching for starters (theoretically, every position, but realistically a half dozen or so). But there is also great interest in some back-up positions, notably quarterback.

Although starting quarterback John Parker Wilson will get his share of plays Saturday, Saban said at least three back-ups would get about 25 snaps each. The back-ups, in no particular order, are Greg McElroy, Nick Fanuzzi, Star Jackson, and walk-on Thomas Dorrah. "It's important for all of our back-up guys to get experience and it's important for us to see how they handle it," Saban said.

Following Thursday's practice, which marked the end of the first week of fall camp, Saban said, "I've been really pleased and happy about the way our team has progressed. This is kind of the dog days of two-a-days. It's hot everywhere. Everybody is sore and tired everywhere in the SEC and everybody we have to play. The teams that manage that the best and continue to persevere and improve in difficult circumstances are the ones that have the chance to make the most significant improvement.

"I think our team has gotten a little bit better every day and I'm pleased with the effort and progress we've had to this point in practice. (Wednesday) we had two practices and we had a lot of energy and enthusiasm (Wednesday night) and I think the hard work that the players did this summer, relative to their conditioning, is probably helping them a little bit. A little cloud cover and breeze probably helped them a little bit (today).

"The guys that can manage the circumstances and overcome the adversity of the external factors that affect their performance are the guys that make the most improvement. I think that is especially true with the inexperienced young players, the freshmen. Some of them are making progress and some of them struggle a little more in the difficult circumstances, but we are pleased and happy with where those guys are and we want to work with them everyday so we can take them from where they are and continue to get better and improve."

Saban said that freshman wide receiver Chris Jackson returned to practice on Thursday after having been out a couple of days with an ankle injury. Junior running back Baron Huber and junior defensive back Ali Sharrief were in black (non contact) jerseys on Thursday after suffering "little concussions."

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