Tuesday, August 10, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Second-year University of Alabama head coach Mike Shula wants to see improvement from his football team each and everyday throughout the season.
He saw that on Tuesday as the Crimson Tide wrapped up its first day of preseason camp after a two hour and 45-minute workout. Alabama began the session outside, but was eventually forced indoors when the moderate to heavy showers were accompanied by lightning.
"This was a lot better than last year's first day, I'll tell you that," Shula quipped. "There is an urgency with this football team to get better all the time. That is what we hit them with every day.
"We showed them a lot today and the guys are getting familiar with the system and we will add more stuff tonight. The tempo was pretty good. The mindset has been pretty good, but we need to understand that we have to get better every day."
That everyday improvement to a football team with so many new faces. Including walk-ons, 30 of the 104 players on the field Tuesday were out for the first time in an Alabama uniform. Add in 16 redshirt freshmen from last season and Alabama has 46 newcomers and redshirt freshmen on its 104-man roster this preseason.
"We are pretty new," Shula added. "There were a lot of new faces out there today. As I watched toward the end of practice and then through the conditioning, it looks as though we are in better shape than we were this time last year."
Shula did single out a few of the newcomers who caught his eye during their first practice with the Crimson Tide, including DJ Hall (FL, Fr., 6-3, 183, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), Keith Brown (FL, Fr., 6-3, 185, Gulfport, Miss.) and Travis Robinson (RCB, Fr., 5-10, 180, Tuscaloosa).
"When you combine size with speed there is a better opportunity to get open," Shula added. "This is a physical game and everyone is competing for the football. I saw a lot of the younger guys going against the older guys and for the first day, I thought they did a pretty good job."
Alabama will continue its one-a-day sessions in helmets through Friday, Aug. 13. The first day of pads is Saturday, Aug. 14 with the first day of two-a-days beginning Sunday, Aug. 15.
The Crimson Tide will practice Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 2:45 p.m. and all sessions are closed to the general public.