Alabama football team returns to spring practice

rlee@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 23, 2009 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Ten days after holding its first practice of the spring, Alabama will resume spring practice today at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields on the Alabama campus.

The Crimson Tide was off last week due to spring break but is scheduled to practice on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday rotation for the next three weeks. Alabama will practice 13 more times following today, culminating in the A-Day game April 18.

“The purpose of spring ball is to give every member on the team the best chance to be successful, I’d say that’s the No. 1 goal,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “Knowledge, technique, what to do, how to do it, why it’s important to do it that way. I think for every player that’s critical.”

In his first press conference of the spring, Saban announced senior linebacker Prince Hall was “suspended indefinitely” for violating team rules and policies. Fellow senior linebacker Brandon Fanney also was suspended but only for the March 13 practice. Saban said he did not know, however, when Fanney would return.

Among the more noteworthy position changes from the Tide’s first practice were sophomore B.J. Scott’s move from wide receiver to cornerback and sophomore linebacker Jerrell Harris’ switch from the outside to the inside.

Additionally, freshman cornerback Robby Green was working with the safety unit while senior offensive lineman Evan Cardwell, junior offensive lineman William Vlachos and sophomore offensive lineman Barrett Jones all took turns under center.

Sophomore John Michael Boswell and junior college transfer James Carpenter worked at left tackle while senior lineman Brian Motley and junior lineman David Ross lined up at right guard.

Junior wide receiver Earl Alexander (Central-Phenix City) and senior running back Roy Upchurch, as expected, had on black no-contact jerseys during the Tide’s first practice. Alexander is coming off surgery on his right shoulder while Upchurch had surgery on his neck.

Junior defensive back Kareem Jackson had a cast on his left hand from surgery he said he received in January. He was not in a no-contact jersey and joked it wouldn’t affect him until the team practiced in pads.

The Tide will practice today at 4:30 p.m.

“We still need to develop a sense of purpose as a team,” Saban said. “We need to see how hungry this team is, what their drive is and what their commitment to a standard of excellence is in terms of what they can accomplish as a team. I think that’s a part of developing the team chemistry. That’s something that we hope gets nurtured along here in spring practice.”

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