Tide Begins Fall Practice August 6

The date for a college football team begins its fall camp is predicated on two primary factors. When is the first game? When do fall semester (or quarter) classes begin at the college? Teams have a few options, but the formula works around those set dates.

A team is allowed a certain number of practice opportunities, including days in which two-a-day practices are allowed (which are not permitted on consecutive days and not permitted when classes are in session).

As had been revealed earlier in the summer, Alabama's football team will officially report on August 5. Practice will begin August 6, the first day of work in full gear will be August 10, and classes will begin on August 19.

Alabama opens the 2009 season on Saturday, September 5, against Virginia Tech in the GeorgiaDome in Atlanta. Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central time) with national television coverage by ABC.

It's almost a joke to announce that players will report on a certain date for fall camp. Virtually every returning player and every newcomer who was academically eligible to enter The University for either the first or second session of summer school has been in Tuscaloosa. The summer voluntary workout sessions, without benefit of a coaching staff, are commonly called "pass skel" referring to the work of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends going against linebackers and defensive backs. But there are also drills for linemen with offense going against defense.

Once upon a time there was a popular school of thought that freshmen should not arrive on campus until fall camp. That theory was based on the premise that a freshman would have too much independence (meaning opportunity to go astray). Today the newcomers are encouraged to arrive early, get started on classes, get accustomed to campus life, get to know their new teammates, and begin to get acclimated to the physical and mental demands of football at the college level.

A few years ago the NCAA helped the process of freshmen arriving in the summer by allowing colleges to begin paying the expenses in the summer (tuition, room, board, books—a limited number of books, of course). Prior to that the freshman could not begin to receive scholarship benefits until the beginning of fall camp.

There is not a great deal of difference in the opening practice dates for Southeastern Conference teams. The reporting dates, first day of practice, first day in pads, and first day of classes for the other SEC teams:

Arkansas reports August 5, practices August 6, in pads August 10, in class August 24.

Auburn—August 4, August 5, August 9, August 17.

Florida—August 6 (report and practice), August 12, August 24.

Georgia—August 3, August 4, August 10, August 17.

Kentucky—August 6, August 7, August 12, August 26.

LSU—August 5, August 6, first day in pads to be determined, August 24.

Ole Miss—Freshmen report August 8, returning players report August 9, first practice August 10, first day in pads August 14, first day of classes August 24.

Mississippi State—August 2, August 3, August 7, August 17.

South Carolina—August 3, August 4, August 10, August 20.

Tennessee—August 3, August 4, August 8, August 19.

Vanderbilt-- Freshmen report August 5, returning players report August 6, first practice August 7, first day in pads August 11, first day of classes August 26.

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