Tide Has Another Good Practice

Alabama Head Football Coach Mike Price admitted to a miscalculation following Monday's Crimson Tide practice. "Did it rain?" he asked. Told that it had not, Price shook his head and said, "I missed that one." Bama's ninth football practice of the spring was its first in the indoor practice facility.

Still, Price said, "It was a good workout." He said the offense is "picking up the passing game pretty well," and said that working indoors probably benefitted that aspect of play. He added, "The offensive line has protected pretty well and is doing better."

Alabama put in a fifth phase of the kicking game Monday. The kickoff return schemes were added to punting, punt block, field goal, and field goal block. However, personnel decisions in those kicking game phases have not been made. Still to come is kickoff coverage.

Price said the Tide would continue to add some schemes, including "more two tight end offense" and the use of two running backs in goalline work.

The head coach said Bama would have "20 to 25" scrimmage plays Wednesday for those who did not take part in Saturday's scrimmage. A second full scrimmage practice is scheduled for Saturday (2 p.m. CST) as part of Alabama's annual spring coaching clinic, which is Friday and Saturday. Bama's 15th and final work of the spring will be in the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium March 29.

Price said an examination of the videotapes of Saturday's scrimmage revealed that his first impression had been correct, that the defense performed very well. "The defense really improved," he said. "It wasn't that the offense had some adversity. The offense just really did well."

Overall, he said, the team is about where he would have expected it to be at this point.

Joe Kines, Bama's defensive coordinator, said the defense was better Saturday. "We tightened it up," he said. "We didn't blow as many assignments. When you have 11 in the right place it's a lot better than having nine in the right place. There was more consistency. We've had good effort all along, but just effort without execution is not good enough."

Kines said the defensive front "as a group, the tackles and ends," were particularly improved. "We still had some busts, but not as many," he said.

The four men who were expected to form the Tide's defensive front have had very few work days as a group. End Nautyn McKay-Loescher has missed most work with illness and end Antwan Odom has been out for much of the spring with a concussion. Tackles Ahmad Childress also had an illness that sidelined him a few days, while tackle Anthony Bryant was out for about a week with a bruised coccyx (tailbone). Todd Bates, Leslie Williams and Chris Harris have gotten much of the practice time at end. They will be joined for the remainder of spring practice by Mark Anderson, who had been a back-up at weakside linebacker. Juwan Garth is number two behind Brooks Daniels at that weakside spot.

Other than players rising into spots vacated by players who completed their eligibility and the moves of fullbacks – Greg McLain to number one tight end and Juke King to strongside linebacker, before he was lost for the spring with a knee injury – the change of Anderson from linebacker to defensive end is the only notable position change.

A guess at first team players through the first half of spring practice:

On offense, wide receivers Triandos Luke, Zach Fletcher and Dre Fulgham; tight end Greg McLain; tackles Wesley Britt and Evan Mathis; guards Justin Smiley and Dennis Alexander; center J.B. Closner; quarterback Brodie Croyle; and tailback Shaud Williams.

On defense, owing to absences, the ends would probably be Todd Bates and Chris Harris; tackles Ahmad Childress and Anthony Bryant; linebackers Brooks Daniels, Freddie Roach, and Cornelius Wortham; cornerbacks Charlie Peprah and Anthony Madison; and safeties Charles Jones and Roman Harper.

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