Little Less Cody Means Better Play

One might have expected Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody to shed a few pounds under the grilling he was getting from sportswriters following the first practice of fall camp Thursday. The subject, as it often is with Cody, was his weight.

On Thursday morning, Terrence Cody was out with his teammates as Alabama opened fall training camp with most returning players taking part in a two-hour morning practice. The remainder of the team—newcomers and a handful of returning players (Tyler Love, Chance Warmack, Kerry Murphy, Demetrius Goode, Morgan Ogilvie among them)—were to have a separate practice Thursday night.

Cody, the 6-5 senior sensation, is listed at 354 pounds, and he said that is close to correct. "Maybe 355, 356," he hedged. So that's the same as last year, someone suggested.

"If they had me listed at 354 last year, they had me listed wrong," Cody said.

Actually, "Mount Cody" was listed at 380 when he reported as a junior college transfer prior to the 2008 season. He said he was, "More like 367, 370." In the post-season he was listed at 365.

"I'm in a whole lot better shape," Cody said following Thursday's work. "I'm a little tired. It was pretty hot out there. But it felt good to be back practicing football. It's been a long time."

Cody said that he took better care of himself in the summer, watching his diet and running more. He said one benefit is that his knees don't hurt as much as they did last year. He also said he is stronger than he has been.

But he's not where he needs to be. "The coaches tell me I'll be a lot better player at 340 or 345," he said. "That's my goal, to be at 345 by the end of fall camp."

Cody said, "I don't eat during the day. I just eat at night. That's my enemy."

Prior to the start of practice, in a Wednesday press briefing, Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked about Terrence Cody's summer program to get into better football shape. Saban said, "He has made some progress. If we had a game today we wouldn't put him in on third down, but he's made some progress. He weighs less than he ever did last year and he's probably in better shape than he ever was last year. Has he reached all the goals that we established for him? He has come close and we want to continue to help him work through camp so that he as an opportunity to maybe achieve those goals."

He said both he and fellow nose tackle Josh Chapman have a "goal to show that we're in better shape and can go more plays. We don't want to be two-down guys. We want to show we can be in on third down and rush the passer."

Cody said he and Chapman have worked out together and pushed each other. "Coach Saban talks about helping your teammates," he said, "about getting each other better. It's important this year because we lost some key players. The ones replacing them are young, but they've looked pretty good out there."

Cody, a native of Fort Myers, Fla., came to Alabama from Gulf Coast Community College in Mississippi. He was an instant success, proving to be a disruptive force against opposing defenses. Although he was credited with just 24 tackles on the season, he was a consensus All-America selection.

It goes without saying he is a Big Man On Campus. He has also become one of the most recognized men at The University and in Tuscaloosa.

"I really can't go out in Tuscaloosa without someone recognizing me and asking me for my autograph or asking me to pose with them for a photograph," Cody said. "I have a little superstar status on campus. It's cool. It doesn't bother me.

"I can't hide myself."

Alabama's defense ranked third in the nation last year, but faltered as the Tide lost its final two games to finish the season 12-2. Bama returns eight starters, including Cody, to that defensive unit.

Alabama will hold its first combined practice of the season on Friday with the veterans and newcomers all slated for a 2:30 p.m. workout at the Drew-Thomas Practice Facility.

The Crimson Tide will hold its annual Fan Day on Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fan Day will begin with an open practice from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Following the conclusion of practice, players and coaches will be available for autographs on the field. Fans may enter the stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. through the northeast gates (37-38). All other practices are closed.

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