This Is Week Tide Begins Fall Camp

There has been plenty of football activity since January 7, the night Alabama won the 2009 national championship with a 37-21 victory over Texas at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This Wednesday, with the temperature in Tuscaloosa expected to be close to 100, the attention notches up for the 2010 Crimson Tide.



Although most Alabama football players have been in Tuscaloosa working out for a couple of hot summer months, players will officially report for fall camp on Wednesday. That includes newcomers, the 11 who joined the Tide last January and went through the Fourth Quarter off-season program and spring drills, and an expected 14 additions, the total of 25 permitted.

Fall camp involves 105 players, up to 85 of them scholarshipped players, having 29 sessions before the first game. Alabama opens the season a month after players report, at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday, September 4, hosting San Jose State. It will be the first game in expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium with over 101,000 attending.

Alabama's first practice day will be Thursday. Ordinarily, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has the veterans in a morning workout on the first day, the newcomers (along with a handful of veterans at certain positions in order to fill out positions so practice can be conducted) in a later session. Saban also uses a few days for the allotted two-d-day practices before the start of classes at The University on August 18. Those two-a-days cannot be consecutive.

When students begin classes on August 18, it is also possible to expand the roster. Saban is expected to have a squad of about 125 for the remainder of fall camp and for the beginning of game week preparations, which will be the week of August 29.

Alabama fans will have an opportunity to watch one practice, on Sunday, August 8, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The practice will begin at 2:30. Following the practice, players and coaches (including Saban) will be available for a brief time for autographs.

On Wednesday, Saban will meet with the media to discuss the 2010 team. As he has done in most public and press opportunities since the BCS Championship Game, he will point out that a different team went 14-0 in 2009. This is a new team.

Saban may or may not have some status report on star Tide defensive end Marcell Dareus, who was involved in a well-publicized agent scandal in the summer. Alabama's compliance office, in cooperation with the NCAA, has been investigating the matter and it would be a bit of a surprise if the matter was announced as having been resolved.

Throughout the summer there have been rumors about the status of various players and eligibility matters. An early summer report was that no Alabama football player was in summer school because he had to be for academic eligibility. Most media members are savvy enough to not ask Saban about a rumor, but in some way the question will be asked regarding the return of players—although he usually addresses such matters without being asked.

The matter of a depth chart may come up, either by a rookie to Saban football or by the coach. Alabama, of course, does not have a depth chart until the week of the first game.

Bama opens fall camp as the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Southeastern Conference and national champion. The Tide has won 24 consecutive regular season games, going undefeated in regular season each of the past two years.

This year's Bama squad will have a rebuilt defense and re-stocked kicking game.

Alabama does return most of an offense that is expected to be high-powered with the likes of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson at tailback, Greg McElroy at quarterback, and Julio Jones at wide receiver.

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