TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Alabama football team worked out in shorts and wrapped up spring practice number one Thursday afternoon. A pair of new assistant coaches - Jim McElwain (offensive coordinator) and Bobby Williams (tight ends/special teams) - took the practice field for the first time since joining the Alabama staff as did freshman wide receiver Chris Jackson and freshman kicker Corey Smith, who enrolled early.
“We have an opportunity to get two practices in before spring break,” said head coach Nick Saban. “The continuity will not be what it has been but at the time this is an opportunity for our players to say, hey we’ve got a little bit of an adverse circumstance here, let’s see how much maturity we have to manage our way through it.’ We are going to take a week off and they will need to go work and do some things to maintain their condition level.”
The team concluded the fourth quarter conditioning program on Tuesday and Pro Day was held on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is probably the most enjoyable part of coaching relative to being able to teach your players your system,” said Saban. “We don’t have any games so we spend a lot of time on the details of what we do.”
Alabama returns 49 lettermen this spring from the 2007 squad which includes 15 starters plus all of the key special teams contributors from last season.
“The first day is always exciting,” said junior offensive tackle Andre Smith. “Overall the intensity was really high today. It felt great to actually go out there and compete against my teammates.”
The Crimson Tide will practice again Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. before taking a week off for spring break. The team returns to practice on Monday, March 24 after the break and the A-Day Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12. Spring drills conclude with practice number 15 on Monday, April 14.