March 24, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team donned full pads for the first time this spring as the Crimson Tide practiced for roughly two hours at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility Wednesday.
The weather cooperated with sunny skies and temperatures in the lower 70s. It was the first time the team had been in pads since the Crimson Tide's 37-21 win over Texas in the BCS National Championship Game on January 7.
"Today was the first day in pads, which is always a little different for the players," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "It has been quite a long time since they have had pads on. It is always a difficult adjustment for the players to carry their pads and go through their first practice.
"I was really pleased with the way our players kind of persevered it, and we obviously have a long way to go with players in various stages of development. One of the goals for the spring was to get as many players as we can to develop and understand the system. "
Saban also applauded Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram, who was selected as one of 14 semifinalists this week for the 80th annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which honors the nation's top amateur athlete. The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 and is based on leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism.
"It is a great honor," Ingram said referring to his selection as a semifinalist for the Sullivan Award. "Not too many football players have won (the Sullivan Award). It is another great honor just to be mention for that award. I truly am grateful to be on that list because I know how rare it is for a football player."
There have only been five football players win the Sullivan Award, including Doc Blanchard (Army) in 1945, Arnold Tucker (Army) in 1946, Charlie Ward (Florida State) in 1993, Peyton Manning (Tennessee) in 1997 and Tim Tebow (Florida) in 2007. Finalist will be determined by April 2 and the winner will be announced in New York City on Wednesday, April 14.
Alabama's 2010 Coaching Clinic will once again feature some of the top coaches in football. The clinic begins Thursday evening and concludes Saturday. This year's lineup includes two of the most successful head coaches at the NFL and college level in Marty Schottenheimer (Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers) and Danny Ford (Clemson and Arkansas).
Also speaking will be two current NFL coordinators - Scott Linehan (Detroit's offensive coordinator) and Mel Tucker (Jacksonville's defensive coordinator), and one current college coordinator in Jim Bollman (Ohio State's offensive coordinator). A pair of Alabama alums will be on hand as Amos Jones, the assistant special teams coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and George Teague (played in the NFL with Green Bay, Dallas and Miami) are scheduled to speak. High school championship coaches will also speak in sessions on Friday and Saturday.
Alabama will practice again on Friday and Saturday as they work toward the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, April 17, at 2 p.m. The 2010 A-Day Game will be televised nationally by ESPN.