Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Football Awaits First Day of Practice in Full Pads


Friday, August 08, 2003

Dennis Alexander
Dennis Alexander

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --  After four days of intense work, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team is ready to don the pads.

First-year head coach Mike Shula will conduct his first full-pad practice on Saturday afternoon.

"The whole practice won't be tackling, but there will be some," Shula said in anticipation of the first day of pads.  "We will really focus on the fundamentals of tackling.  We will teach guys how to put their head on the ball, wrapping up and how to take care of the football when some is trying to take the ball away."

The Crimson Tide worked in helmets and shoulder pads each of the last two days, picking up the tempo on the field each day.

"We worked in the plus territory today and the guys handled that pretty well for the most part," Shula added.  "There was a lot of new stuff for them to learn today.  (The red zone) is the most important area on the field.  We can't have any turnovers and we always need to score some points.

"Overall it was pretty good.  It was the second day of hitting, so the guys will be pretty sore tonight and tomorrow."

Following Saturday's first full pad practice, the Crimson Tide will begin two-a-day practices on Sunday.   The two-a-day sessions will be held Aug. 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 while one-a-day practices will be conducted on Aug. 11,13, 15, 17 and 19 before classes begin on Aug. 20.

Alabama will begin the 2003 season on Aug. 30 against South Florida at Birmingham's Legion Field.  The game will be televised nationally by ESPN, with kickoff scheduled at 2 p.m. (CDT).