TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Just one practice remains before Saturday afternoons A-Day Game and the experimentation is hitting another level.
The most notable plot-twist Tuesday came on the offensive line.
All-conference right guard Barrett Jones took turns as the first-team left tackle -- the only spot on the line without a returning starter. Athens (Ala.) High School graduate Alfred McCullough and junior college transfer Aaron Douglas were the top two names competing for the job vacated by the graduated James Carpenter.
I dont know if its temporary or a long-term deal, but (Tuesday) Barrett took all snaps at left tackle with the ones, and he did a very good job, senior center William Vlachos said. Obviously, Barretts a smart guy, and we feel confident putting him anywhere. He snapped the ball some today. Anthony Steen snapped the ball today. A lot of just Lets see who can do it, who cant.
Last week, Jones said he had played tackle before but not recently. There arent many similarities between the interior and exterior spots on the offensive line.
Theres a big difference, especially pass-protection-wise, Jones said. Dealing with the edge rushers out in space is a lot different from blocking a defensive tackle. You have someone on each side, whereas at tackle youre out in space all by yourself on an island a lot of times.
The tinkering on the offensive line isnt out of the ordinary, Vlachos said.
I guess its my experience since Ive been involved in spring practice here, that last week is kind of a time when you experiment with some things and get a feel of some people doing different stuff at different spots, Vlachos said. I dont think its relative to performance. Alfreds done a great job at left tackle. Anthony Steen was at right tackle today, and he did a great job. Barretts done a great job at right guard.
So, really, its just kind of one of those deals that you want to see and get a little taste of what somebody can do in some spots so youre not having to scratch and get something together for the middle of LSU week or something like that.
Alabama practices at 4:30 p.m. today for the final tune-up before the 3 p.m. Saturday spring game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Tight end Brad Smelley said he has done the drill a million times. Just once, though, it broke his wrist.
The senior from Tuscaloosa has been limited all spring by the broken bone suffered in the winter off-season conditioning. Smelley just hit it wrong to fracture the bone.
It didnt keep him out of contact drills, and he still is catching passes.
I have a white, pretty big brace on it, but I mean it makes it tougher than not having anything on it, but Ive been catching pretty good with it, he said. So its not that big of an issue.
Next in line
Josh Chapman is excited about completing his final spring practice schedule. So who fills his place at nose guard after next season?
The senior from Hoover likes redshirt freshman Brandon Ivory, who wears No. 62, same as Chapmans predecessor, Terrence Cody.
Brandon Ivory impresses me, Chapman said. Hes one of my guys that I try to take in because, when I leave here, I feel hes going to be the next nose guard. He has a lot of potential. He does some things I havent seen him do in a long time. He kind of shocked me, and Im proud of him.
Ivory is listed as 3 inches taller than Chapman but about the same weight.
Oh, yes. Hes probably about 310, 315, something like that, Chapman said. He has a goal to be 3-0-something. When hes 3-0-something, its hard to move him.
The festivities of A-Day week start this evening, when a former football player takes the mound before Alabamas baseball game against Tennessee.
Quarterback Greg McElroy will throw out the first pitch before the 7:35 p.m. series opener. Current running back Trent Richardson will have the same honor before the 7:30 p.m. Friday softball game against Mississippi State.