Aug. 7, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama football team held its first combined practice of fall training camp on Friday with a two-hour workout in shorts and helmets at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.
The entire 105-man roster battled high humidity and temperatures in the 90s. The Crimson Tide's first day of practice on Thursday was a split session that consisted of veterans in the morning and newcomers that evening. UA will return to the practice field on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. workout.
"It was good to get back into the swing of things," Alabama defensive end Lorenzo Washington said following Friday's practice. "Yesterday we had two practices with the varsity going in the morning, and we were able to get a lot of things in. Then the new guys practiced last night and we all came in this morning and watched tape to see what we needed to work on. Today we got a pretty good workout in the heat of the day, and we were able to get some things accomplished."
Alabama's success on the field over the past two seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has also coincided with the Crimson Tide's success in the classroom. Three more Alabama football players will earn their degrees on Saturday during the University's summer commencement ceremonies at Coleman Coliseum.
Quarterback Greg McElroy (business marketing), defensive end Lorenzo Washington (human environmental science) and wide receiver Travis Sikes (consumer affairs) will all earn their degrees prior to the start of the 2009 season. McElroy will finish his undergraduate degree in just three years with a 3.85 grade point average and graduate magna cum laude.
"It is a great feeling to get this first degree finished," McElroy said. "I made it a priority of mine to graduate in as short of an amount of time as possible, so I can focus on football and getting my masters degree in something that interests me."
An impressive 11 Crimson Tide players will take the field in 2009 with degrees already in hand, including Drew Davis (marketing), Tyrone King (Health Studies), Eryk Anders (Health Studies), P.J. Fitzgerald (management), Mike Johnson (consumer affairs), Cory Reamer (finance), Chris Rogers (consumer affairs) and Ali Sharrief (human environmental science). On top of that another 10 players are on track to graduate in December.
The USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll was also released on Friday with Alabama checking in at No. 5, the highest preseason ranking since the Tide opened the 2000 season at No. 3. Florida earned the No. 1 ranking followed by Texas, Oklahoma and Southern California.
Alabama has three opponents on its 2009 schedule that are ranked in the preseason top 25, which is tied with LSU for the most of any team in the USA Today Coaches' Poll rankings. Ohio State and Mississippi are next with two top 25 opponents.
The Crimson Tide will hold their annual Fan Day on Sunday, August 9, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fan Day will begin with an open practice from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Following the conclusion of practice, players and coaches will be available for autographs on the field. Fans may enter the stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. through the northeast gates (37-38).