Countdown to Kickoff
Football Media Day Transcript



Aug. 7, 2011

Head Coach Nick Saban
Opening Statement:
"We are excited about the challenges and opportunities that this team has this year. By every indication that we've seen in the first couple of practices, we have a lot of guys that are committed to a high standard. We obviously, like every team, have some question marks and challenges. Some players on the team need to take advantage of those opportunities created by those questions and challenges and how that all works out will go a long way in determining where this team can go. It's not really about expectations. It's really about how many guys go and do their job on a consistent basis versus how many blinking lights we have of guys who don't seem to be able to get it right whether it's personally, academically or athletically. All of those things contribute to the competitive character and consistency that you can go out and play with."

"Finishing is a big thing for this team. I don't think we finished well last year whether it was plays, games, season or however you want to look at it. I think that's all about mindset. It doesn't really have anything to do with how fast you run or how high you jump. This is a tough time of the year when you are going through fall camp. It's the time of the year that players have to go earn it. You have to pay the price for success upfront. From a football player standpoint, everybody kind of expects that because you grow up with it whether it's high school, college or wherever. I think the way we do it now is so much more player-friendly to have the five days of acclamation; two days in shorts, two days with shoulder pads and then you finally get into pads. You have to have one practice a day and then you can start doing two-a-days. We never practice here unless the players can eat twice and drink twice between every practice only for their ability to recover. When you practice in these kinds of circumstances and conditions that we practice in, in the long term you are better off because you have more guys practicing and less guys having problems. That contributes to how you can develop players as a team."

"It's also very important to the team's success that the guys make good choices about what they do, and what they don't do. We spend an entire year trying to create the right thoughts, habits and priorities for players so that they make good choices and decisions. We invest a lot in that, and it's a part of who they are, which goes a long way in determining the kind of success we can have as a team. Dr. Earl Suttle was here last night as a speaker for the team, and he always comes up with a good quote. He said, `You have freedom of choice, but you don't have freedom of consequence.' It's certainly something that is fitting for our team where we are right now in terms of what you do individually as well as what you do collectively and how you invest your time for your future, not only as a football player but as a person and what kind of career you can develop off the field in school."

"We were happy yesterday to have eight players that are currently on our team graduate but still have eligibility left. Several other guys have graduated as well. Hardie Buck, Josh Chapman, Phelon Jones, Barrett Jones, Alfred McCullough, Morgan Ogilvie, Chris Underwood and William Vlachos. We'd like to congratulate them and their families. We have some guys that have finished their eligibility that also graduated yesterday. We continues to be very pleased with the academic success we've been able to have in helping guys develop careers."

"As far as practice the last couple of days, when you are installing like we are installing, about the first eight practices that you have are really heavy installation. For young players, especially who everyone has the most interest in trying to evaluate, that's the most difficult time to evaluate because the learning curve is accentuated and accelerated, and you are trying to teach all these things. It's more about evaluating how a guy is learning what he is supposed to do than it is about what he can do. I know everybody wants some instant prediction of who is going to play, who is going to contribute and which young guy is going to be able to do this or that or whatever. Football is a developmental game, and I've talked about that before. It's going to take some time for us to be able to install things with these players so that they develop a little confidence in what they are supposed to do, how they are supposed to do it and why it's important to do it that way so they can actually go out there with some confidence and direct their efforts in a positive direction toward their unit. I know everybody wants to ask questions about certain guys and it's just too early to tell. I'm pleased with the freshman group. We have some guys that are probably going to develop into some good players and maybe some guys there that contribute and help this team. There are certainly a lot of opportunities especially in certain areas of the team. We are hopeful that some of those guys can develop and be contributors this year."

On Trent Richardson this year being to top guy at running back:
"I don't see a big difference. Trent is who he is, and he's always been a good leader, a hard worker and a guy that affects other people because of the kind of person that he is. Now that his circumstances have changed, and he can be the lead dog at running back, that doesn't really create a new person. He's always been a good player because of who he is. He has done a really good job all summer, and he had a good spring. He's practiced very well the past two days. He doesn't have any issues health wise that's keeping him from being able to do the things he needs to do to develop as a player."

On Blake Sims role on the team this year:
"I think he could have multiple roles. I read in the paper the other day that he wasn't working at running back and that nobody else was working at running back except two guys. I don't know where that information is coming from or what message board it was on or if you guys in your five minutes of watching practice could ascertain what we do the entire practice. All you are doing is creating misinformation again. I feel sorry for our fans that everybody creates so much misinformation. Blake has worked at running back in each practice. He also has worked at quarterback as a third quarterback and has developed nicely. He's improved his passing and he's very athletic, so he can create other problems. He's also a guy that can do quarterback type running plays because of his running ability. He's got a much better handle on the knowledge and experience that he needs to have to be a contributor on offense. His role actually could be both of those things. He could end up being a contributor at running back or being a third quarterback who contributes to the team in a different way maybe than our other quarterbacks do."

On work ethic and leadership from the quarterbacks:
"Both guys have done a really good job of working hard and spending a lot of time trying to learn what they need to do. They enjoy that part of the game. They are both "gym rat" kind of guys if you want to call them that. Both of them do a good job of affecting their teammates. Our team does seven-on-seven all summer, two or three days a week which coaches are not involved in and no one can supervise that. They do it completely on their own and so the quarterbacks manage it for the entire offense and those guys did an outstanding job of doing that. I'm pleased with both guys. It would make it a little easier to make a determination if both guys weren't doing things in a very positive way."

On the benefits of two-a-days:
"We have the same number of practice days we've always had. I think they may be a little more spread out now which is probably a good thing especially here where heat is an issue. The opportunity to spread things out a little bit more is much better management for the health and safety of the players. We actually did it when you couldn't do it. We were allowed 29 practices before the first game. Before they changed the rule of being able to spread it out more, we would only practice 24 or 25 times before the first game. We actually had more guys practice in 25 practices than we had in 29 before we started doing it. We actually submitted all the information to the NCAA so they would change the rules for the health and safety of the players. They saw the benefits from a medical standpoint in terms of the numbers of guys who got IV's, injuries and had heat related problems and that's how we got to where we are now."

On Rob Ezell and the characters on this year's team:
"Rob Ezell is now working as a coach, so he's assuming the same role in a different capacity. I'm sure he can do it better than ever now because he's around more and gets the other perspective that the coaches get rather than just what the players get. I haven't seen or heard it. He does a pretty good job of hiding it, but I'm sure I will sneak up on him one of these days. I'm really not sure who the guys on the team are. I don't go in the locker room much. I feel like that's a place for the players. We want to have great relationships with the players and be close to them and talk to as many guys as we can and help them manage through any issues or problems they are having personally, academically or athletically. I don't know for sure who those guys are, but I really do like the personality of the team."

On Jim McElwain:
"I think Jim does a really good job at developing quarterbacks. Everybody has their own style. I've been with guys before that have been very difficult on the quarterbacks to the point where I said I don't think you could play for yourself. I'm just talking about other quarterback coaches I've been around. Jim's disposition is that he's a teacher first. He does a really good job of teaching players, he has really good progression of how he teaches them technically in how to be accurate and most efficient in throwing the ball but also in the knowledge and experience you need to make the kind of choices and decisions relative to what the defense is doing and taking what the defense gives you. I think his record speaks for itself. You'd have to check the record but I think he's only had one quarterback in the last 15 years that hasn't had the opportunity to play at the next level. I think that speaks volumes about the good job of developing quarterbacks that he does. I think everybody's got to coach the players like they coach the players. It's not for me to evaluate the intensity somebody works with as long as it is effective and it is player friendly. When I say player friendly, you don't like to have coaches on your staff that are getting on players so bad that none of the players can really respond to it in a positive way. One of the things that is part our pyramid of success is being positive and supportive and helping provide a direction to develop but also emotionally supportive in helping guys develop the confidence they need to play. That is being a teacher. If there was one word I could describe Jim as it would be that he's a very good teacher."

On Mark Barron at safety:
"Mark is a very good player, but we don't create expectations for our players publicly. Mark is one of the better leaders that we have on the team and certainly the leader of that group. He has gotten more assertive and more mature as he's gotten older. Mark has very good knowledge of our defense. He helps other players with that. He's a very physical player. He has gotten to where he is a very good cover safety. His size is a tremendous asset to him. He played extremely well for us last year, and I would think that he will have a great year this year. There is nothing to indicate otherwise. He's in really good shape. He's had a really great summer and off season and has no issues out there with the peck injury that he had. We are excited about his future and his opportunity maybe to be one of the best safeties in the country."

On Dee Milliner progress:
"Last year we had a lot of young guys playing in the secondary that hadn't played before. I think Mark was the only guy that had significant playing time. Dee Millner was a freshman and regardless of what position you play and your potential to be a good player, football is a developmental game so you are going to get to be a lot better player past your freshman year. He did a really good job for us last year. One thing we continue to work on is that he has better knowledge and experience but I talk about finishing being a mindset; finishing plays and finishing the game and not being a guy that as soon as things seem to be going well you become at ease with yourself. He's made a tremendous amount of improvement in that. At his position when you play in the corner in the secondary, when you make a mistake you give up plays. We probably gave up too many big plays last year, not Dee, but as a group. It will be a key to us being successful next year that we minimize the number of big plays that we give up. We were one of the top teams in the country in red area scoring. If you get off the field on third down and you play well in the red area and you don't give up big plays, all the sudden you become pretty hard to score on. The big play part of it is the thing we really need to improve on."

Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain
Opening Statement:
"Obviously we have a few holes to fill, which is actually kind of an exciting thing. We are really excited about the competition that we have at a lot of positions, which only helps your team get better. Our coaching staff is very excited about how the guys are working to compete, and how they're pushing each other to get better on a daily basis.

"I guess one of the things, by position, that will probably come up is about the quarterback situation. I think the good thing is that we will play with a quarterback this year. We can go ahead and put that to rest. We are very excited about what we have happening at that position. A lot of people will go through and have a quarterback situation wondering who to play simply because they don't really have a capable player at that position. I think that we are fortunate here, and again we are going to find out when the bullets fly, but we are very fortunate about having some quality players at the position. Phillip Sims, AJ McCarron and Blake Sims have done a fantastic job at the position and have learned and really done a good job of studying. Now as you watch and you see practice and you see some of the things in the spring, they actually wear these black jerseys. And these black jerseys kind of make them like they have a force field in front of them. They know that they are not going to get hit, so what we need to do is to go to that point where we find out base fundamentals, the concepts, where to go with the ball and the checks to make. Those kinds of things, from a mental stand point, have been very good so far. We need to make sure that we are putting them in pressure situations to see how we handle that, and at this point all three players have done a great job of handling those types of situations. The good news is we have options at the position and a lot of places in the country are searching for a guy to get back there. We are fortunate enough to have some really good players at the spot."

"You know our running back position there has been a big panic because some guys have been dinged up or whatever. We will go to war with the guys that we have. Jalston Fowler has done a fantastic job for us and has really become a big back for us. He is a guy that has great hands. Obviously Eddie (Lacy) will be ready for us, and then there is this guy. This number 3 guy. I forget his name (joking). Anyway he is pretty good too. Trent (Richardson) is a heck of a player, and we are excited to have him back. We feel good at that position. We need to develop some depth there as well and see how some of the young guys come along. I'd love to tell you who those young guys will be. We have had two days in underwear (shorts) out there, no pads, so we really don't know who is going to be able to handle the heat on that right now."

"On the offensive line, we do have some returning depth at that position. Right now we are still in trying to develop who are the five best that work together up there positionally. There is a pretty good chance William Vlachos is going to be the center. We have talked before, like in the game of baseball, you want to be strong up the middle, and I think that is something that in the game of football as well, in both offense and defense. Being strong up the middle is something that is very important. With William, he allows us to really have a crutch as a young quarterback in some of the things that we need to do in front identification because he has been there and he can help those guys a lot in both the run game and the pass game and the certain kind of checks it needs based on a look. We are really excited about having that guy in front of those quarterbacks.

"The tight end position we feel very good about with Brad Smelley returning as well as Michael Williams. We do still need to develop a little bit of depth there. That will be a great competition in the spring for us. The wide receiver spot, we did lose a guy by the name of Julio (Jones) that was a pretty decent player. I don't think that you ever really replace a guy like Julio Jones for all the things that he can do, however what you need to do is by committee and make sure that the guys step up and fill the void that needs to be there. We do have some experience in (Marquis) Maze and (Darius) Hanks. I think DeAndrew White has had a really good spring and done some good things this fall already and had a great summer."

"The development at some of the other spots, we've got to see where that goes. Brandon Gibson is a guy that can kind of fit in at a lot of different spots for us. He is a veteran, done a great job here, is a real leader, and he is the kind of guy that can be a multi-positional player."

"I know this. We are very excited as an offensive staff. We are very excited about the guys on our team, and we are very excited about the way that they have approached the Fourth Quarter program, spring ball, what they did over the summer and now it is a matter of getting that mental toughness that pushes us through. That makes us an elite team. That's the thing that we are really working on right now is that mental part about what it is going to take when everyone is firing their best shot at you on every Saturday."

On what makes the quarterbacks different from each other:
"Each guy has a gift, and the gift is that they have strong arms and quick releases. Both of those things add up to now being able to go ahead and maybe use more of the field in some of the passing game parts. AJ (McCarron) has been here a semester longer, but really the development as far as that part goes from a mental standpoint. I've been really happy with how both of them grasp the things that we ask them to do, and I wouldn't say that one has one thing more than the other. I would say they both fit really well in the system that we are putting in, and I think that one of the things that you do offensively is find the parts you have and don't exploit the weakness. Let's make sure we expand on the positive and strengths and that goes as well with Blake (Sims)."

On Blake Sims:
"He has some abilities with his feet, but he also throws it really well. We have been happy with how he has accepted both roles, and he is really looking to help this football team. That's the great thing about Blake.

On reps for Darius Hanks in training camp:
"He goes through like he normally would, but the thing that we need to do is to make sure that we teach multiple spots to other guys so that we have the flexibility to play in that position. The way we practice here, reps really aren't an issue. There are a lot of guys getting a lot of reps by the way that we practice, so it's more a matter of making sure that a guy can play multiple positions whether Z, X or H and be effective in there.

On facing other defenses in the Southeastern Conference:
"The one thing that you see in this league, difference wise, is the size on the defensive fronts and the quickness and speed up front. The skill positions, the safeties, the size of the linebackers, the speed and the size is what really differentiates this league from a lot of places. I'm not saying that other places don't have it, but on a day in and day out basis you're seeing that from a lot of teams. You really have to focus in a game plan situation where there are some elite players that you have to actually game plan around, much like you do in the NFL."

On Michael Williams and the tight end position becoming more a part of the passing game:
"I think Michael has done a really good job as far as developing physically and understanding and the communication part between him and the tackle in the run game as well as in the passing game giving you that big body down field that can go work on certain people. The thing that Mike has done a fantastic job of is learning the game and the nuisances of the position, which now really help him both in the passing game and in the run game. As far as featuring a guy, you know we aren't a big feature team. If that's where the throw will go, then it will go there, and he is really capable of making those plays."

On Eddie Lacy:
"The game of football for Eddie, at some times, wasn't the most important thing, and it has really become that (the most important thing) to him. What he did last spring and through the offseason is fantastic. I think that he is really a quality runner, and he really can catch the ball. I think that you guys might have seen some of that in the spring as well. He is a guy that really gives us a great answer as well as Trent (Richardson) in the backfield."

On the intangibles when looking at quarterbacks:
"The big thing is really decision making. At the end of the day, you want to end every series with a kick. The times that we were unsuccessful last year, quite honestly we just gave the ball away. The guy that handles it every down is the quarterback, so the way that he handles the ball security issue, his risk and reward, those are all things that are on every rep that we really look at."

On replacing Mark Ingram:
"Well I think the one thing is Mark (Ingram) was an unbelievable player, and Trent learned some very valuable lessons from him on the things that he needed to do. Why there isn't that much concern, I think part of it is when you're at the University of Alabama you come here with expecting to be a good player, to have good players, and part of that might be the strength of the offensive line. I don't ever really look at it, and we are excited for Mark and we are going to miss him, but at the same time you've got to move on. That's the one thing that we just stress to our guys. Who is going to pick up the flag and who is going to be the next guy?"

On potentially sharing the quarterback position:
"The good thing is that those two guys will battle it out. I don't look at it as a battle because the two guys have actually done what they can do and want to do to help this team win. I think that's what separates our situation right now is we have guys that are unselfish, that are competing, but they want what's best for the team, and they will handle it that way."

On potentially moving D.J. Fluker from right side to left tackle:
"I think it's one of those deals where he has become fairly comfortable at that spot, and right now it's not as much as which tackle as it is which five guys are going to work together the best. Those are really five individual positions that must work as one obviously on every single snap, so it has more to do with how those guys blend together."

On the advantage of using a script for a game:
"I think that everybody has it a little bit different, but one of the things is trying to find out in that first script what some of their ideas are to handle some motion shifts and what their ideas are to handle some formations. In our case, it was how are they going to put some extra coverage on Julio (Jones) or whatever it is week-to-week, so we try to put those things in more to find out what their thoughts are going to be for the week. You will get off script when you get into a down and distance situation, your first third and short. You're not going to stay on script for that, but what you like to do is try and get back on script. I think the other thing is it allows your players to play fast. They know what's coming. They practice those things, and it really allows them to play fast in that first part of the game because it's very important, obviously, to get off to a good start."

Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart
Opening Statement:
"I'm really excited about this group. You ask why? We have a lot of good leaders, and this is one of the first complete groups that we recruited here at Alabama; from top to bottom, offense and defense. They're all of our kids that you have a relationship with from when you recruited them. You went in their homes. I'm really excited about these guys because they have good attitudes. They're excited, so they're fun to coach. There is a lot of great competition going on out there, and we are trying to create depth through camp. I think this is the first time that I've spoken to the media so soon. We have only had two practices and both the practices have been in shorts. As you well know, football is not a game of shorts. It's hard to measure a lot of things until we start pads popping and doing some things out there that should start today."

"Our obvious goal for the off-season is to improve in turnovers. We were 118 out of 120 in forcing fumbles. When you look at the turnover stats, it's a little misleading because we had a lot of interceptions, but we did not force many fumbles. That's usually indicative of big contact and people ripping the ball out. We have to improve sacks and tackles for loss. That is one of the big goals and a big emphasis for us this year. I felt like we were really good in the red area last year, and that kind of saved a young defense. We had two big turnovers against Florida, one big one against Arkansas and a big one against Tennessee, so we saved ourselves in the red area by playing well and protected a young defense. Statistically, we overachieved, but in big games we did not play as well as we should have. We let ourselves down, and that should be changed this year. We expect to have a better year this year."

On Dre Kirkpatrick getting national attention early, and how he has changed on and off the field:
"I think it started around the bowl game last year with Dre. He did a really good job in Orlando of focusing and concentrating and really practicing hard. I don't know if a light clicked on in Orlando, but I remember when we came back from the bowl game, I looked in the weight room in January, and he was in there working out. I thought that was a little out-of-character for him to be down there by himself when there is not a group down there. He was really working hard, and I think he has really bought into that. I think he wants to be a good player, and he wants to continue to improve to be as good as he can be. For the last two days, the light is turned on, and he has practiced hard. He is a guy that has to stay with it and always be that way: not be on a rollercoaster ride."



On Mark Barron and his pectoral injury:
"I haven't even noticed it to be honest with you. I'm not over there with the defensive backs, and we haven't tackled yet. I would think that would start to show up today or the next day. I see no indications, and actually, I had forgotten about it until you just mentioned it. We haven't seen it or noticed it."

On Dont'a Hightower this year compared to last year with the knee injury:
"It is a big difference. I tell him all the time, there was a point in time last year in camp when he had two knee braces on and really struggled on loose plays. He had a hard time getting backs on the ground. It was noticeable because it wasn't the Dont'a that we all knew. Throughout spring ball and even going into fall, although he has only been in shorts, he looks a lot faster and quicker. He has changed his body a little bit. He has lower body fat percentage. His weight is similar, but he has better composition. Dont'a really has a good attitude, and I think he has more confidence in his leadership skills when he plays well, and he is playing well right now. He has to continue to do that. We are excited, and I'm happy for Dont'a because it was hard on him. He knew that he wasn't playing as well as he could have last year."

On preseason accolades and if the players are hungrier after last year:
"I don't really know many of the preseason accolades because I don't pay too much attention to it. I don't know exactly what you are referencing when you say that, but I'll say that they are hungry because some of them were embarrassed. Some of them didn't play as well as they should have last year, and they want to play better this year. There were a lot of lessons that our guys learned last year, especially defensively, and we were a young team. I expect them to grow up. I assure you, if they're not hungry, that's our job to put an end to that. They practiced two days like they are hungry, but it matters to me a lot more on the 15th and 16th day than the first two."

On Courtney Upshaw and DeQuan Menzie coming back from injuries and how good will they be:
"So far, both of them have practiced well. Both of them are great kids, and they both have great attitudes. I feel like Courtney has matured every year. DeQuan, we have only seen really a fall and a spring, as he wasn't with us prior to that. Both of them can develop, but the most important thing for us is to provide depth for them, so if something does happen to them, we've got someone who can fill that role, fill it immediately and provide us with sufficient backup. Both of those kids have bright futures, and both of them are talented kids. They just have to stay injury free, and I've seen no indication out there of injury."

On Mark Barron's maturity as a leader and how good can he be in the Alabama system:
"Mark is a great kid. It brings a smile to my face to think about recruiting Mark. He was in one of the first classes that we recruited here, and I can remember recruiting him and telling him, once he mastered this defense, that he was going to be a great player, and that has happened. The first year, he was still learning it. I can remember the Utah game when we stuck him in there. One of the first plays he went in, we ended up giving up a touchdown pass. He was so disappointed in himself because he had worked so hard to play that dime position: that money position. Mark is such a great kid, and to see how far he has come now, how much success he has had, all the way through the National Championship year to last year having a pretty good year, and then into this year. I'm excited for Mark. He is a great person. Although, he is not a vocal leader, trust me, they all listen when he speaks, and they all watch when he practices which is important."

On the defensive line and not having a playmaker like Marcell Dareus:
"We certainly have to do it by committee. I will say that. It's hard to say when you have a Marcell Dareus type because you can coach a long time and never coach someone that talented. It's going to be done by committee. I hope, and I would like to think, that we are going to have more depth this year and only time will tell that. We hope that we can get it done through a different method by having a little more depth, playing some more guys and hoping some guys will step up. We have to get some guys to step up at those positions."

On whether or not there is a quarterback on defense this year like Rolando McClain was:
"Sure. Dont'a Hightower. He's the guy. Mark's a little like that, but Dont'a is a little more vocal than Mark. I certainly think that Dont'a has the capability to do that and be that leader. He wanted to be that last year. He could just never get around to doing it because he wasn't 100 percent."

On Trey Depriest:
"Trey is a great kid. He has gotten a little bigger. He has put on five or 10 pounds since he has been here. He is a very instinctive football player. He finds the ball, and makes a lot of plays on the ball. He did a lot of that in the spring. Trey has really good speed, and he has done a good job of being patient and trying to learn the defense and not getting frustrated, which some freshman do. He has a great future ahead of him. He keeps his head on straight. We are really excited about Trey. In the two days that we have had him out there, he is a lot further along than the other freshman out there because he went through the 15 days of spring practice. Trey has a great opportunity. He has to slow down on some things because he is so fast."

On Dee Milliner and his progress over the last season and how he has developed:
"Dee has matured a lot. We recruited Dee from Stanhope Elmore, and he had to grow up fast. He was forced to. He got thrown into the SEC and had to play early because of the situation we were in. It was trial by fire, and he has matured and has learned how to deal with some things. He has to continue to compete hard and fight for his job every day. There's some great competition going on at corner, and nothing is going to be handed to anybody; Dre, or him or DeQuan. They have to compete for it, and that's what we want. We want some competition there, and Dee's right in the middle of that. He has done a good job for two days, but like I said, it's hard to tell. It's going to be easier to tell on day 15 than on day two."

On if there is an advantage to being a 3-4 defense versus a 4-3 defense:
"Sure. I think if you are just one thing, in anything you do, it's just like war. You sit in the same place long enough, they're going to get you. If they know where you are going to be and you're predictable, they're going to get you. That's one thing that I will say. We are unpredictable, and we are hard to figure out for an offense. We like going from 3-4 to 4-3 to other defenses to confuse people. That's why we get some of the turnovers that we get and interceptions that we get. They're not real sure, and when they're sure of things, they can plan on them and attack you in certain areas. We like to be multiple and be sure of those things."

Senior Defensive Tackle Josh Chapman
On Fan Day:
"It is always great to show our appreciation towards the fans for all the support they give us. It is a time to give back to them for all they have given us."

On the start of camp:
"Over the summer it is all about conditioning and getting your running in but now it's time to put the pads on. I know everyone would rather pop the pads than run."

On the progress of the younger players:
"We have a great group that has come in and they are learning fast. I don't think we have ever had a group that has picked things up this quickly. Especially on the defensive line where we have a few guys that are learning fast and are hungry to learn."

Senior Linebacker Courtney Upshaw
On the first few days of camp:
"The first few days of camp have gone really well. It is just nice to get back into the swing of things. We will just come out and practice hard and continue to try and get better."

On having the fans at practice:
"It is always good to get the fans out here and give them a look at what Alabama has in store for them. Especially since the tornado hit this is a big season for the fans as well, so we just want to go out there and show them what we can do, and give them a good season."

Senior Center William Vlachos
On the status of the offensive line:
"We have some experience back on the offensive line. Barrett (Jones) is practicing at a new spot at left tackle and has done an excellent job but right now we aren't too concerned with what position everyone is in, it is more about getting better fundamentally day-in and day-out and focusing on the little things. Once we focus on that, all the rest will take care of itself."

On getting the younger players up to speed:
"That is something that Barrett (Jones) and I have taken upon our shoulders. The newcomers we have this year are extremely impressive. The way they are all competing and have a grasp of what is going on has really jumped out at me. They are all very talented and the sky is the limit with them."

On interacting with the fans on Fan Day:
"I think Fan Day is a great thing. I am glad that we do it. It wouldn't necessarily be that much fun to play football here if it wasn't for the fans. The support is something that we obviously appreciate and are cognizant of. So days like this are special and we are happy to be a part of it with them."

Senior Wide Receiver Marquis Maze
On the new group of receivers:
"Camp has been going really well. We have a good group of younger guys that are learning and coming together. They really look like they will have a bright future and come in here and help us right away."

On being one of the veteran receivers in the start of camp:
"It's good knowing there will be a lot of opportunities for us this season. We will just need to make the most out of those opportunities even if it means not catching balls but making plays in other ways like blocking downfield and helping others succeed in the offense."