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August 17, 2010

Notebook: Crimson Tide closes camp as classes begin

TUSCALOOSA _ The University of Alabama football team concluded fall camp with a two-hour workout in full pads inside the Hank Crisp Facility on Tuesday afternoon.

With classes set to begin, the Crimson Tide will start getting into its usual routines Wednesday, with practice held at 3:30 p.m. and the final preseason scrimmage scheduled for Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
As usual, all practices are closed to the public.

"I think the intensity and spirit is coming back a little bit with the players," Saban said. "Maybe morning when we practiced I was a little bit disappointed.

"I think with the heat, coming off a scrimmage, coming off of a day off probably affected everybody's focus and ability to sort of sustain what we were trying to do. I was really pleased that the players bounced back and did very well last night and today."

While the rest of the walk-ons are allowed to join the team and begin their acclamation process, the depth chart will start to be solidified and roles defined for the upcoming season. Players who aren't expected to contribute this fall will start working on the scout team..

"I think this is a big week in terms of the improvement of the team because we'll have to make some decision about who we're going to coach after this scrimmage," Saban said.

Injury report

Practice was held inside due to the threat of inclement weather, and sure enough a few minutes after players stretch a downpour hit campus.

Not inside the Hank Crisp Facility were the three players who wore black jerseys while riding stationary bikes the evening before, freshman all-around player Blake Sims (dislocated toe), freshman cornerback DeMarcus Milliner (ankle), and freshman cornerback DeQuan Menzie (hamstring). Saban hinted that Milliner's injury may take the longest to recover from.

Freshman D.J. Fluker returned to practice after missing the evening part of Monday's two-a-day due to being ill.

Freshman safety Kendall Kelly remains out due to heat-related issues.

Watching the watchmen

Tuesday was a busy morning for watch lists.

Sophomore Dont'a Hightower and sophomore Nico Johnson were named to the watch list for the Butkus Award for the nation's best linebacker. Johnson stepped in for Hightower at weakside linebacker last season after he sustained a knee injury.

Senior Greg McElroy was named to the watch list for the Manning Award. It's the only major quarterback trophy handed out after bowl games are played.

Alabama didn't have anyone on the inaugural watch list for the Hornung Award for most versatile player by the Louisville Sports Commission.

Here's the rundown of player awards:
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Julio Jones named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 15
Butkus Award (linebacker): Dont'a Hightower and Nico Johnson named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 21 (Rolando McClain reigning winner).
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
William Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): Semifinalists announced Sept. 30.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Watch list announced Aug. 20.
Ray Guy Award (punter): No one named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 12.
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 6 (Mark Ingram reigning winner).
Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Marcell Dareus was named to the watch list. Midseason list to be announced in November.
Paul Hornung Award (most versatile): No one named to watch list. Finalists announced in early December.
Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): Watch list announced Aug. 20.
Lott Trophy (defensive impact player): Mark Barron on watch list. Quarterfinalists expected to be announced in October.
John Mackey Award (tight end): No one on watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 15.
Manning Award (quarterback, includes bowls): Greg McElroy named to watch list. Finalists named Nov. 29.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Greg McElroy named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 18.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 25.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): James Carpenter and Barrett Jones on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 21.
Rimington Trophy (center): Watch list announced Aug. 27.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Mark Barron named to watch list. Semifinalists announced November.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists expected to be announced in November.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Watch list announced Aug. 23.

Tide-bits

Safety Robbie Green, who is suspended for the season, is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday. Although he could have practiced with the team during camp, coaches had him use the time to have his tonsils removed so and put another player on the 105-man roster.

Saban announced that true freshman Corey Grant working at cornerback is not a permanent move and called sophomore Michael Bowman's look at H-back experimental. Kerry Murphy continued to take some snaps with the first-unit at nose tackle.

Coaches haven't ruled out using different kickers for kickoffs and field goals his season and the competition between punters continues as well. Although he has numerous options Saban said he's happy with Julio Jones and Marquis Maze on punt returns, with Jones and Trent Richardson deep on kick returns. "We really need to make progress on special teams," he said in general. A walk-on who might land a regular roll on special teams is sophomore wide receiver Hardie Buck.

In part due to the numerous injuries, the secondary continues to see different players taking on new roles. During individual drills Mark Barron was at star, with Will Lowery and Nick Perry at the safety spots with Perry deep, and Dre Kirkpatrick and B.J. Scott at the corners. When they switched to dime coverage, Barron lined up at money, Lowery was at start and Robert Lester, who is coming off a concussion Saturday, was at safety.

Nike announced that Alabama will be one of 10 schools to wear "uniquely designed" uniforms for at least one game this season, joining Boise State, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon State, Pitt, TCU, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The uniform will be unveiled Sept. 1, along with the schedule for those games.

ESPN's all-access special, "Training Days: Rolling with the Alabama Crimson Tide," will air Wednesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on ESPNU and Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.


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