Aug. 8, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama held its third football practice of the 2009 fall training camp on Saturday with a two-hour workout on the grass fields at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.
It marked the first opportunity of the fall for the Crimson Tide players to put on the pads as the Tide donned shoulder pads and helmets. UA will put on full pads Monday.
It marked the second straight day that the varsity and newcomers practiced at the same time. The fifth-ranked Crimson Tide return eight starters on the defensive side of the ball for 2009 but are looking to replace seven starters on offense, including three on the offensive line.
Three Alabama players, quarterback Greg McElroy (business marketing), defensive end Lorenzo Washington (human environmental science) and wide receiver Travis Sikes (consumer affairs) participated in commencement ceremonies Saturday morning prior to the start of practice.
"It was an great thing to walk across the stage this morning and graduate," Washington said after Saturday's practice. "It really shows what five years of hard work and dedication can achieve. It was a long race, like a marathon, that you can't see the end, but when you finally get to the finish line it is an amazing feeling."
Preseason honors continue to roll in for the Tide this week with the selection of senior cornerback Javier Arenas to the Jim Thorpe Award "watch list." Arenas, who is a Playboy Preseason All-American as a return specialist and a first-team preseason All-SEC choice at corner, is among 31 defensive backs from across the nation named to the Thorpe Award's initial list of candidates.
The Thorpe Award is one of college football's most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
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).