TUSCALOOSA ― The battle with the flu bug continues at Alabama.
Athens product Alfred McCullough, who is the back-up left tackle on the depth chart, missed his second practice Monday with the illness along with freshman defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore.
Starting linebacker Cory Reamer and backup quarterback AJ McCarron were the latest players missing from practice presumably with the flu while Marquis Maze returned Monday afternoon after missing Saturday.
Cornerback and kick returner Javier Arenas said he was sick for two or three days last week. That didn’t keep him from practicing.“Even if we are sick, we go out there and grind hard,” he said. “That won’t stop us. If it happens, it happens. I’m not worried about the flu; I had the flu.”
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Within the rulesThe allegations of excessive football-related activities at the University of Michigan are bringing the issue to the forefront across the college game.
Since the NCAA limits the required activities such as practice and team film-study to 20 hours a week, players must maximize their time.
Although a few players watch film on their own time to become better signal callers, Alabama coach Nick Saban said that 20-hour rule isn’t a hard one to meet.
“We have to rely on our players to invest a little of their own off the field because our time is installation, game-planning, time on the practice field and that’s it,” Saban said.
When coaching in the pros, Saban estimated players spent close to 30 hours a week practicing and in meetings.
The allegations made against Michigan included having coaches watch off-season workouts from which they are restricted by NCAA rules. That isn’t a problem at Alabama, Saban promised.
“They can’t accuse me of doing that because I’m not even around,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out how to hit a golf ball straight.”
In focus With the excitement over the arrival of game week also came a renewed sense of focus.
Several players said they were trying to avoid those outside conversations about Saturday’s game with Virginia Tech.
That includes the always-colorful Javier Arenas, Alabama’s All-American cornerback and kick returner.
“We can’t think about all that external stuff,” he said. “That’s how you get beat. If you get a one-page paper to write, you don’t need to think about all the details and try to put everything in that one page. Just pick up the pencil and start writing. We don’t try to think about all the external stuff: How many people are going to be there? What if we don’t win? What if they take off the roof of the dome and it’s windy?”
McElroy readyThe thought of starting his first game at Alabama on national television against a top-10 team isn’t the scary part of the weekend for quarterback Greg McElroy.
It’s getting to Atlanta that has him skittish.
“I’m scared to fly,” he said. “That will probably be as nervous as I get climbing aboard that plane.”
In spite of that fear, McElroy opts to fly when returning to his home in Southlake, Texas. The first-year starter said he just tries to limit the number of times he climbs about a plane.