This Week Tide Football Begins

On Wednesday, Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban will address the media on the beginning of Fall Camp, the first phase of the complete Crimson Tide football team in preparation for the opening game of the 2009 football season.

College football at the level at which Alabama competes is year-round business, so the opening of practice on Thursday could hardly be called the start. In Nick Saban's process, many, many parts have already led up to the opening game. And there are more to come.

What can Saban tell us that hasn't already been discussed? He was just recently at Southeastern Conference Media Days and touched on his concerns (offensive line, kickoff coverage, etc.).

He'll probably be asked about being on the poll list of unpopular sports figures, but that's not really a question for him; it's a question for the pollster.

(An aside on that: a "poll" is not a question put to everyone. It is a sample. I've never been polled. A friend of mine said he was polled one time. He said when he was in college years ago, students going into the student union were met with people handing out sample packs of Chesterfield cigarettes. When the students emerged from the student union group of pollsters was there to ask the brand of the last cigarette they had smoked. In other words, a poll can be manipulated.)

He may be asked about the offensive line or some other important aspect of the Crimson Tide, but the answers to those questions will come in Fall Camp, which continues through the end of the month.

Game preparation week will begin on Monday, August 31. Bama opens the season on September 5 against Virginia Tech.

One question that can finally be answered: How did Saban squeeze returning players and new signees into the NCAA limit of 85 scholarshipped players for the start of fall camp.

Along the same lines, there may be information available on a handful of signees whose academic eligibility has not yet been announced.

The first day of full practice on Thursday is expected to be split into two sessions, a morning workout for returning players and an evening session for newcomers.

Fan Day, an open practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium, will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT Sunday, August 9. All other practices are closed.

The team will have its first practice with players in full gear on Monday, August 10.

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