A few of the upperclassmen said their emphasis on summer conditioning helps them withstand the demands of fall camp, plus the growing familiarity with the staff and their scheme helps them retain the basic information year to year.
But what the Tigers forget or have yet to learn is provided in concentrated lessons during August. Head coach Nick Saban showed his eye for detail with the cornerbacks Wednesday morning when two players were improperly spreading their legs to fend off a blocking receiver.
To correct their mistake, he got the corners to take a "baby step" back instead of putting their feet apart. The difference between where their feet were and where they were supposed to be was mere inches, but it made a huge difference in how he was able to execute on the play.
Although two starters in the secondary are dealing with injuries, both were available for Wednesday morning's workout and are not experiencing any complications. Free safety Damien James says the only limitation he has is that he's not allowed to hit with the left shoulder he dislocated last week. He forgot Tuesday and came in contact with wide receiver Michael Clayton. The coaching staff scolded him for it.
"I'll probably be in the red (no-contact) jersey for another week," said James. "I may not get to hit again until Virginia Tech, but I can do everything else in practice."
Right cornerback Demetrius Hookfin says the shoulder injury he suffered in Tuesday's practice is not at all serious. A television camera taped Hookfin as he collided with another defensive back on a tackling drill and came away with a limp, motionless arm. Hookfin practiced in a no-contact jersey Wednesday morning and said he should be cleared shortly by team doctors.
Hookfin says there is more pressure for him this year as the Tigers' field corner - the man responsible for covering the receiver on the wide side of the field. But he thinks the entire secondary will be much improved this season due primarily to a new attitude.
"It's confidence. We believe in ourselves," said Hookfin. "We don't think we're going to be outmatched."
Offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski missed his second day of practice in a row with an infection in his right leg just above the ankle and was on crutches Wednesday. While the injury is painful, it is not considered serious.
Defensive lineman Kenderick Allen was back at practice Wednesday after making his fall debut the day before. While the rest of the team was in full gear, Allen remained in "shells" and worked out at end and tackle.
Defensive end Tory Collins had a no-contact jersey on and practiced with havy bandages on his right hand.
The rest of the injured Tigers on Wednesday were defensive backs Keron Gordon (knee) Jeff Cook (sternum) and Vernon Russell (ankle) and walk-on fullback Kevin Steltz (unspecified).
The Tigers end two-a-days officially with a 7:30 p.m. practice tonight and will take part in their second fall scrimmage Thursday at 3 p.m. The team gets Friday and Sunday off around a Saturday practice and begins full-fleged preparations for the Virginia Tech game next Monday - the first day of class at LSU.