Monday, March 03, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- The University of Alabama opened spring football practice Monday afternoon, the first under new Tide coach Mike Price.
"I enjoyed my first practice," Price said. "I've waited all my life for this day and it went just like I thought it would. Things looked a little mixed-up at times, but we knew that would happen. I was excited leading up to practice during the day, but once I got out there, it went just like I expected it would go."
To the casual observer, Monday's practice may have looked like any other, but there were several nuances that set it apart. Under Price's system, the quarterbacks will wear yellow jerseys and each practice begins with a station drill led by each assistant coach. The practice concludes with a one-on-one passing drill that allows anyone to be the quarterback.
"We did want to make sure the players left the field with a good feeling," Price said of the passing drill to conclude practice. "It just takes a few minutes to do something like that and I think the players really enjoyed it.
"I love the player's attitude. Practice isn't always fun, but winning on Saturday is, and we are working towards that goal.
"We did a lot of individual work today, a lot of fundamental drills. We want to make sure that the drills are run properly and everyone understands what they are doing. There was a lot of teaching going on."
Price singled-out the three quarterbacks, "the looked very athletic"; Greg McLain who moved from fullback to tight end; the linebackers, "they looked great" and the secondary.
"We still have to learn all the players, especially the walk-ons," Price said, "but it seems this is a group that enjoys the game of football."
The Tide has 29 consecutive days to get in the NCAA-mandated 15 practice opportunities, three of which must be in shorts.
Alabama will generally practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday leading up to the March 29 A-Day game. Practice is open to the public and will begin at 3:30 p.m. each weekday, while Saturday's practice will start at 10 a.m.
"This will be our first A-Day game and we will be treating it like a regular season game," Price said. "We'll utilize that opportunity to see what it is like during a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium and we would like to break the spring game attendance record."