Aug. 5, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team practiced in full pads for the first time this fall in a two-hour workout on Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously today is the first day in pads,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “What we are concerned about is technically getting done what we need to do to become a better football team. To have the focus, intensity and the mental energy to give the kind of effort to stay focused on what you need to do to do your job.”
It was another hot day for the Crimson Tide football team as the temperatures climbed into the mid-90s. The coaching staff spent time during Tuesday’s practice reemphasizing many of the things covered during the first five days of camp.
“Everybody has to push and help everybody get through (the practices) and be able to this because we technically need to get better as a team,” Saban said. “Especially with the young players on the team who are obviously a little bit overloaded with all they have learned in five practices. They need to continue to show that they can play with high energy, give a lot of effort, and play with a lot of mental toughness. They are going to make mental errors, and we expect that at this point, but they are the guys that can play football in a way we want for them to play.”
The play of tight ends Travis McCall and Nick Walker has been a positive in terms of returning experience for Alabama early on in 2008. Walker started all 13 games last year and made 23 catches for 204 yards with two touchdowns while McCall started eight games and made six catches.
“We are pleased with Travis and Nick has had a really good summer and has done a really good job in fall camp,” Saban said.
Coach Saban also addressed Alabama’s peer intervention program that takes place during fall camp and covers issues like drugs, alcohol, gambling, spiritual development and how to treat the opposite sex. The UA program brings in professional speakers that help build on the Crimson Tide’s summer program.
“Lisa LaMaster was here and did a seminar on media relations,” Saban said. “Kevin Elko, who is a very good motivational speaker, did a nice job of talking with the guys about positive energy and attitude. Gene Washington did a great job with life after football and the FBI guys were here last night talking to the guys about gambling in athletics.
“So we have a lot of these things going on in camp. It is another indication of how we try and educate our guys to make good choices and decisions so they have a chance to be more successful by making the right choices and decisions in what they do and don’t do.”
The Crimson Tide returns to the practice field on Wednesday for the first two-a-days session of the fall. The first practice is slated for 9:30 a.m. before finishing off the day with a 7:30 p.m. workout.