Countdown to Kickoff
Crimson Tide Returns to Practice Field



Aug. 19, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - After a two-day break following the conclusion of fall camp, the University of Alabama football team returned to the practice field Tuesday afternoon with a two-hour practice in full pads.

"Well, it was good to get back to practice today," Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said afterward. "It was good that the players got a couple of days off. We did get some time to review the film with them, make corrections and do a walk-thru with them. We spent some time with some of the younger players to help them improve and develop. At this time of the year, usually after the second scrimmage, we make lists on offense and defense at every position and position specific of what we need to do to improve and help our performance. We've had some time to do that now and those things were kind of emphasized today in practice as well as some things we haven't had as much time to work on."

Saban also commented on last Saturday's scrimmage and said he saw a lot of improvement and that the Tide made progress as a team.

"I was encouraged by the scrimmage after watching the film of the scrimmage," Saban said. "I think we were more aggressive. We were more physical on both sides of the ball. We showed a lot more toughness. We made some big plays on offense, which is a good thing; obviously defensively you don't like to give them up. I was pretty pleased overall with effort and intensity and the improvement we made from the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage. I think that's the most important thing and the improvement of a lot of the younger players. That was pretty significant. A lot of the young players really got a lot better in one week, a lot of its probably anxiety, a lot of it's a little bit of confidence and a lot of it is probably more knowledge and experience, in terms of feeling comfortable with what they are required to do and how they are expected to do it. We felt like we made a lot of progress as a team.

"We are not disappointed at all with where we are right now, but we certainly recognize the fact that we have a lot of things we can improve on. Today's practice and tomorrow's practice will be kind of dedicated to try and to improve on the fundamental things we need to do to get better and some of things that we haven't been able to practice enough on and then Thursday, we will probably center our focus more toward the first game."

Saban also stated that sophomore linebacker Charlie Higgenbotham (Birmingham, Ala.) missed practice on Tuesday with a pulled groin.

Junior place kicker Leigh Tiffin (Muscle Shoals, Ala.), junior punter P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.) and junior defensive back Tyrone King (Birmingham, Ala.) were all placed on scholarship this week, according to Saban.

Saban said the scholarships were awarded because "each one of these guys has played the most significant role of any of the guys who have walked on our team," Saban said. "I think this is a message to all guys that want to walk on. We try to reinforce positive performance, guys that become contributors to our team in any way, shape of form; we certainly like to put them on scholarship when scholarships are available. We are happy and pleased that we able to reward these guys for their effort and contribution to the team."

Saban also said that freshman Chris Jordan (Brentwood, Tenn.) is now working at linebacker and sophomore Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) is working at offensive guard. McCullough played one game last season on the defensive line.

Alabama returns to practice on Wednesday, Aug. 20, which is the first day of class for the 2008 fall semester.

No. 24 Alabama will open the 2008 season on Saturday, Aug. 30 against No. 9 Clemson in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be televised nationally by ABC Sports beginning at 7 p.m. (CDT). The game will also be aired live by ESPN Radio. The popular ESPN College Gameday pregame show will also be live from Atlanta from 9-11 (CDT) on Aug, 30.