Bama kicks off spring practices today

rlee@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 13, 2009 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two months removed from its 31-17 loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl, the Alabama football team will conduct the first of fifteen spring practices today at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields on the Alabama campus.

The Crimson Tide will reconvene on March 23 following Alabama’s spring break for its second practice ultimately culminating in the annual A-Day game on April 18.

“Players have worked hard,” Saban said last week in regards to offseason workouts. “Obviously, this is the biggest step for the guys who have never done it before.”

Alabama was originally set to begin spring practice on March 23 but moved it up to today, scratching the April 11 practice date in order to avoid a conflict with Easter.

“The way we arrived at that was, we always practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday,” Saban said. “And I’m always a little bit sensitive about Easter. We were kind of backed up between getting ready to go spring recruiting, so the only way to do the odd day out was to have it before or after. We decided to have it before. And really, those first two days in helmets are teaching days anyway, so it’s not bad to have a day under our belt.”

Offensive linemen James Carpenter (Augusta, Ga.) and Chance Warmack (Atlanta) along with defensive lineman Kerry Murphy (Hoover, Ala.) and running back Jermaine Preyear (Mobile, Ala.) — part of Alabama’s consensus top three recruiting class from February — are already enrolled in classes at the university and will be able to participate in spring practice.

Additionally, spring practice will also give the Tide a chance to try players out at new positions, a topic Saban touched on last week.

Among the possible changes, the most noteworthy include sophomore outside linebacker Jerrell Harris’ probable move to inside linebacker and sophomore Chris Jackson’s move back to wide receiver. B.J. Scott, a dual-threat, five-star receiver and defensive back out of the Mobile area, will try his hand at safety after notching only two catches for seven yards last year as a receiver.

Furthermore, freshman linebacker Michael Williams will move to tight end, a spot he occupied during Sugar Bowl practice.

“We’ll try B.J. Scott a little bit at safety first,” Saban said. “We want to see what his capacity is to learn and adjust. Maybe we’ll look at him at corner at some point in time too. And again, this is just an experiment. It’s not a final decision.”

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