Thursday Alabama Notebook

'Team Alabama' woke up to a chilly morning in Mobile with the temperature 30-degrees colder than Wednesday. Players were in their sweats to keep warm and still focused on the task at hand preparing for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic this Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

It was another day of shoulder pads and helmets during the Thursday morning session for the Alabama All-Stars. The players spent most of the practice session reviewing plays and different reads. Practice got a late start as the team arrived at Murphy High School, but had to drive a few miles up the road to Lipscomb Stadium.

The offense and defense were together for the beginning of practice. The team walked through plays before spending time working on field goals with Foley kicker Jorge Santa Maria.

Coach Josh Niblett split the linemen and skill positions players in groups. The linemen went to one half of the field while the skill position players worked seven-on-seven.

Coty Blanchard, quarterback from Centre-Cherokee County, came out to play again today. He had several strikes to the end zone for touchdowns. He seemed to find a good rhythm with better timing with his receivers.

It makes a quarterback's job a little easier with players like Solomon Patton, four-star from Mobile-Murphy and Josh Magee, two-star from Hoover. Patton had a very good day catching the ball, and cornerbacks are trying to stick with him.

Several defensive backs stood out during the morning seven-on-seven action. Auburn cornerback Pee Wee Cobb has been breaking well on the ball and has the speed to keep up with guys like Patton and Magee.

Demarcus Milliner, five-star cornerback from Millbrook-Stanhope Elmore, is making a lot of plays. He had several very nice pass break-ups Thursday working at safety.

The best defensive play came from Jarrick Williams, four-star safety from Prichard-Blount, who faced Solomon Patton. Patton appeared to have beaten Williams in the end zone, but Williams had a diving break-up that drew a lot of praise from the coaching staff.

'Team Alabama' concluded practice working on kickoff return. This team has a lot of speed, and they could see several different players returning kicks. The three players who are back deep are the players who were in the final heat in the Class 6A state championship for the 100m, Corey Grant, Scout.com four-star running back from Opelika, Solomon Patton and Demarcus Milliner. Grant won the 100m and 200m state championship, but Milliner was the deepest of the three in Mobile.

Quotable: Alabama All-Star Head Coach Josh Niblett (Hoover):

"I have been really pleased with the way the players have been performing this week," said Niblitt. "The practices have been very up-tempo for these guys. Everything is starting to come together, and I am pleased where we are at."

Quotable No. 2: Future Tider Demarcus Milliner on Alabama's win over Florida in the SEC Championship:

"I was watching the SEC championship with my friends. I knew they were going to win it. It was a great win for us. They beat Florida pretty bad. In the end the best team came out on top."

Quotable No. 3: Future Gator Solomon Pattton on Florida losing the SEC Championship:

"It was a tough loss for us. I feel good about our future. We are basically rebuilding. We are getting a class like Tebow's, and in a few years we are going to be really good."


The All-Star Classic is nationally-televised live this year by VERSUS, the cable sports network available in more than 70 million homes nationwide. Check your local listings.

The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic Game has been set Saturday, Dec. 12th at 12:30 p.m. in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Tickets sell for $10 each and purchased by calling 251-344-2000.

Tickets are also available in Mobile at the All-Star Classic's office at 105 N. Conception Street in downtown Mobile, and at Rick's Sporting Goods located at 5614 Old Shell Road. Tickets are also available in Mississippi at three M&M Bank locations – Lucedale, Ocean Springs and the main branch in Pascagoula.

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