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Crimson Tide Nearing the End of Bowl Practice in Tuscaloosa



Crimson Tide Nearing the End of Bowl Practice in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ?? The University of Alabama football team held its next-to-last on-campus bowl practice Friday afternoon with a two-hour session in full gear at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.

The Crimson Tide football team ran through its normal Wednesday routine, working on red-zone offense, red-zone defense and third down situations under mild conditions.  The team will hold its final Tuscaloosa workout on Saturday at 11 a.m., before a two-day holiday break.

“Saturday will be our last practice,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.  “We will do it earlier in the day.  The players will be excused Saturday to go home; be out of here by 1:30 p.m. or so.  They will have Sunday and Monday off and travel on Tuesday afternoon and the only opportunity we will have because of the practice schedule to practice under the lights will be Christmas night.  So we will probably do that in a light fashion and do a repeat of game week, in terms of preparation and review, once we get there.”

Coach Saban met with the media on Thursday afternoon and here are some of his comments:

On the football team’s academic progress:
“We don’t have any other academic issues that we need to report since we got the grades in.  It was really a good semester for us academically.  That’s two back-to-back.  The players have done a really good job.  We are really pleased with the overall results we have gotten.  That’s a real positive academically for us.”

On Jimmy Johns’ move to linebacker:
“Jimmy Johns has done a fairly good job, probably better than we anticipated, in terms of being able to learn.  He has learned things well.  For him to try and apply that to game plan is probably the next level of what he needs to be able to do.  We will probably leave him there for the remainder of this week and go from there.”

On offensive line:
“On the offensive line, (Antonie) Caldwell has remained at center and Mike (Johnson) at right tackle.  So, it is now like it was the way we started the season and that seems to be working out just fine for us.”

On the progress of freshman class:
“I felt really good about the freshman class that we were able to kind of piece together last year, in 31 days of recruiting or whatever it was we had.  I think we have some players in that class that will be very good players.  I think it’s unrealistic at times that all of these guys think they are going to come in and play.  I think there are guys that are capable of doing that, especially the guys at skill positions.  To me it’s all about maturity.  In line positions and developmental positions, this is some of the areas that we had the most need for; linebacker being one of those.  We had two linebackers letter and one is a starter.  I think it’s pretty difficult; we really didn’t recruit that many defensive backs, so that wasn’t an opportunity for anybody.  I’m not disappointed in anybody in the freshman class and my expectations weren’t that there would be more guys play.  I think those guys just need to be patient about developing and working hard to do what they need to do to become better players and hopefully we will get a tremendous amount of improvement out of some of those guys this year and next year they will be able to contribute next football season.”