Alabama football notes: Alex Watkins back on the field, getting better

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerAugust 7, 2011 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Senior linebacker Alex Watkins’ spring practice was cut short by a knee injury requiring surgery.

Now, he’s back on the practice field and making progress.

He’s probably at the point now where that’s what he needs to do,” coach Nick Saban said. “He needs to practice. He needs to see it, get ready to play. Probably by the end of this camp, we’ll know exactly where he is. He looks to me like a guy that’s going to be able to make a contribution at some point in time this season and we’ll just keep trying to help him develop. But I’m very encouraged by where he is.”

As a reserve last season, Watkins totaled 16 tackles and 2 ½ sacks in 12 games. His best performance came in the Capital One Bowl with four solo tackles and a blind-side sack that knocked starting quarterback Kirk Cousins out of the game.

“You can see it, he wants it,” fellow linebacker Courtney Upshaw said. “He wants to go out and compete. He’s a good guy. We’re always talking about competing. … He’s like another coach to me with him being in this defense longer than me.”

Fan day

The annual afternoon set aside for a public practice comes today.

The gates to Bryant-Denny Stadium open at 2:30 p.m., before the 3:30 open practice. A 45-minute autograph session will follow on the field. Those wishing to join the autograph line without watching the practice can do so at 2:30 p.m. outside Gate 46.

In case of rain, the practice will be moved to the indoor facility. A limited number will be admitted and the autograph session will still take place afterward.

No break

Practice opened Thursday with a morning workout for veterans and another indoors for newcomers by evening.

There was no hiding from the heat Saturday. The first practice with the full squad started after 2 p.m. when the heat index rose above 100 degrees.

Practices Monday and Tuesday begin just after 3 p.m. before the first of four two-practice days comes Wednesday.

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