Dec. 31, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama moved its final practice of the 2011 calendar year outside, the first outdoor practice since bowl preparations began on Dec. 19, to the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility and worked for two hours in shells.
The focus of the Crimson Tide's practice was special teams, which figures to play a key role in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"We went outside today in shells," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "This is about the nicest day we have had all year. One thing we really can't do well indoors is practicing the kicking game. The timing of catching punts relative to the punt return or kickoffs relative to the kick return or the coverage team trying to position themselves based on the punt is not possible to do indoors.
"We have been looking for a day to go out to work on that and today was the perfect day to do that. We were able to work on all aspects of the kicking game and spend about twice as much time on all phases of the kicking game, so it worked out very well that we could go outside and try to get some of that done."
Alabama will take New Year's Day off and then return to Tuscaloosa on Monday, Jan. 2, to meet and workout with practice resuming on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The Tide will then practice the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 4, before departing for New Orleans that afternoon.
"We have basically had a good couple weeks of work," Saban said. "We have gone through two cycles of practicing then giving the players a few days off, then going through four days of practice this week. The players will get tomorrow off then come back Monday and do a little stretch and stride meeting then go back to practice Tuesday and Wednesday morning before we travel down there. We need to continue to work and improve not only fundamentally but on how we are going to execute."
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