March 29, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team practiced for two hours on Monday in full pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.
Monday's workout marked the sixth practice of the spring and the fourth in full pads for the Tide. UA is working toward its first scrimmage of the fall on Friday, April 2.
"Practice has been going really well," Crimson Tide nose guard Josh Chapman said following Monday's practice. "I feel we got a little better as a defensive line today. We have to use these spring practices to become a better football team, and I think we have been able to do that. If you put in the work every day, you are going to become a better football player."
Alabama is using the spring to reload on the defensive side of the football after losing nine starters on the defensive side of the football. The lone returners for UA on defense are safety Mark Barron and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who has 16 career starts, but missed the final 10 games of the 2009 season due to a knee injury.
Nose guard will be one of the key positions the Crimson Tide must replace this spring. Terrence Cody departs after starting 26 games over the past two years and helping the Tide defense surrender just 76.1 rushing yards per game and 2.71 yards per carry over the last 28 games.
Junior Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) brings the most experience to the position. He has played in 27 games over the past two seasons while making two starts and recording 33 tackles. Joining Chapman at nose guard this spring is sophomore Kerry Murphy, who played in six games and made three tackles as a true freshman in 2009.
"From my experience, the most important thing as a returning veteran on our defensive line is to help the young guys develop so we can establish some depth along the front," Chapman said following Monday's practice. "The more we can help these young guys learn the defense, the better we are going to be this fall."
Alabama will return to the practice field at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, for practice No. 7 of the spring.