Alabama Goes Back To Its Beginning

Alabama's football team had its sixth and seventh practices of Fall camp on Tuesday. The sixth practice was in the morning and the second scheduled for the early evening. Bama will have only three such two-a-days in Fall camp, which ends with the start of classes a week from Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban knows something about building a football team. He built LSU into a national champion and at Bama it took him only three years to lead the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season and national championship.

Indeed, Bama has gone undefeated in regular season play the past two years. Bama's 14-0 record in 2009 followed a 12-2 mark in 2008. In both years, Saban has received National Coach of the Year honors.

It's reasonable to say he knows how to coach a football team.

As Bama hit the sixth practice of Fall camp Tuesday morning, Saban was going backwards, in a manner of speaking.

"Today was the sixth practice and we went back to Day One and Day Two with an emphasis on the things we put in so the players could re-learn it," Saban said at a mid-day press briefing. "That's how we've always done it."

Saban previously has explained the process, and reviewed it Tuesday.

"The first five days at practice we do a lot of installation," he said. "I think we probably reached sort of overload, especially with some of the young players. That's sort of the Gestalt theory of learning – whole, part, whole -- throw it up against the wall, see what sticks, throw it up against the wall again, see what sticks again. Do that multiple times and you get more learning."

It continues to be very hot in Tuscaloosa, real temperature reaching to about 100 and the heat index (combination of heat and humidity) much higher.

Saban said, "We continue to do a pretty good job as a team of managing the circumstances we're in – talking about basically heat, which is pretty challenging right now. Players are doing a good job of taking good care of themselves, re-hydrating and resting, and guys are having pretty good practices. They have been finishing and pushing through it and showing mental toughness and maturity in being able to do that."

The Tide coach also said that a challenge for the coaching staff and young players is making those players aware of what is needed to improve. Saban explained that coaches aren't being critical of players, but rather working to make them aware of changes that have to be made. "That's important for everyone on our team, to be able to do that so we can make improvement," he said.

The coach made note of the return of Mark Ingram to practice. Ingram had to complete the mandatory practices in shorts and shells before being able to participate in two-a-day work in full gear.

"Mark's got a lot of experience, he's practiced hard, he's in good shape, and I don't think this will have any impact on his development as a player," Saban said.

Alabama opens the 2010 season Sept. 4 hosting San Jose State.

Alabama junior receiver Julio Jones received more accolades on Tuesday when the Biletnikoff Award announced its 2010 watch list. Jones led the Tide in receiving in 2009 with 596 yards on 43 receptions. His four touchdowns was also a team high.

It was also announced Tuesday that Alabama will be the focus of one of four regional cover for Sports Illustrated's 2010 college football preview. Dont'a Hightower, Mark Barron and Marcell Dareus grace the Alabama cover as part of SI's defensive theme.

It marks the eighth Sports Illustrated cover for the Crimson Tide since Saban arrived prior to the 2007 season and the fifth since the beginning of last season.

ESPNU and ESPN have also announced the schedule for its College Football Special: Alabama All-Access. Excerpts from the special will be featured on nightly half-hour prime-time shows on Monday, August 9 – Friday, Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU with a re-air each night at 11 p.m. on ESPNU. The hour-long special will then debut on Wednesday, Aug. 18, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU (with a re-air at 11 p.m.) and be followed on Thursday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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