UA football gears up for another winning season

UA+football+gears+up+for+another+winning+season

Leading the running back through drills, junior Mark Ingram demonstrates how to properly explode through a block. / CW | Jerrod Seaton

Jason Galloway

After the Alabama football team held practice Monday morning, a few players knew something needed to change.

A group of team members that included quarterback Greg McElroy, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and tight end Preston Dial pulled the team together for a players-only meeting after the Monday practice, the first practice after a scrimmage in which the offense torched the defense through the air.

“We just emphasized on keeping the tempo up to Coach [Nick] Saban’s standards, up to championship standards,” Dial said Monday. “We went out there [Monday], and it was just little things here and there.”

Something must have clicked. On Tuesday, Saban said it was not difficult to notice the difference between the morning and evening practices during Monday’s two-a-day.

“We’ve had two really good practices, [Monday] night and [Tuesday],” he said after practice Tuesday. “I think the intensity, a little bit of the spirit, is coming back a little bit with the players. I think that Monday morning when we practiced, I was a little disappointed.

“I think the heat, coming off a scrimmage, coming off a day off, probably affected everybody’s focus and ability to sustain what we’re trying to do. I was really pleased that the players bounced back and did very well [Monday] night and also [Tuesday].”

On Tuesday, Saban also said practices this week, and particularly another scrimmage on Saturday, are important in terms of improvement.

“We will have to make some decisions about who we’re going to coach after [Saturday’s] scrimmage,” he said. “I think a lot of guys are getting reps right now, especially in the secondary.”

Walk-ons join team

The first day of class also marks the first day extra walk-ons join the Crimson Tide in fall camp.

“I was a walk-on, actually, for a little while before I earned a scholarship,” Saban said Tuesday of his college career as a safety at Kent State University. “So, I have a lot of compassion for guys who really want to play, who love the game, who are willing to go out every day and try to get themselves better to see if they have an opportunity to contribute to the team someday.”

One particular walk-on, sophomore safety Will Lowery from Hoover High, played with the first team defense during April’s A-Day game. Lowery is a candidate for the starting free safety position just two years after another walk-on, Rashad Johnson, became an All-SEC performer at that position.

“I think that Will Lowery is obviously a guy that is going to be a contributor to our team in some way this year,” Saban said. “It could be a fairly significant role. And there are players like that that are out there, and we’d like as many of them to get an opportunity to come to Alabama as we can.”

Practice notes

– Sophomore offensive linemen Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker ran drills in a group with James Carpenter, William Vlachos and Barrett Jones. Saban said Tuesday that Warmack is among the Tide’s five best offensive linemen right now.

– Safety Robby Green returned to practice for the first time this fall Wednesday after having his tonsils removed. He is ineligible for the 2010 season due to an NCAA violation.