Nagging injuries continue
By MICHAEL CASAGRANDE
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The attitudes, they are changing.
After questioning some of the effort in Saturday’s scrimmage and in Monday morning’s practice, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he’s been more encouraged by the two practices since.
“I think a little bit of the spirit is coming back with the players,” Saban said after Tuesday afternoon’s practice. “ I think the heat .. coming off the scrimmage, coming off the day off ... probably affected everybody’s focus and ability to sustain what we are trying to do.”
The team’s first off-day of preseason practice on Sunday was followed by its third two-a-day in the past week.
Two outdoor practices Monday were followed by an indoor workout Tuesday as wet weather moved through Tuscaloosa during the afternoon practice window.
The routine will shift again starting Wednesday when classes begin. Instead of starting at 2:30 p.m., practices will start at 3:30 p.m. except for Saturday’s closed scrimmage scheduled for 1 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“I think this is a big week in terms of the improvement of our team because we will have to make some decisions about who we’re going to coach after (Saturday’s) scrimmage,” Saban said.
Nagging injuries continue to cause issues at practice.
Saban ran down a list of players hampered by a wide range of health issues.
Defensive lineman Undra Billingsley is out with a sprained ankle while defensive back Blake Sims “dislocated a toe or something in the scrimmage,” Saban said.
DeMarcus Milliner also sprained an ankle in Saturday’s scrimmage and Saban said the true freshman’s injury “is maybe a little bit more significant than some of the others.”
“Nobody knows exactly how long any of these guys are going to be out,” Saban said. “I don’t think they’re going to be out long term.”
Defensive back Robby Green’s problem isn’t football related and it won’t affect his preparation since he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA in the spring. Saban said Green had his tonsils removed after completing summer classes so to free up a spot in the 105-man roster the team was able to carry before classes started.
He will be back in practice soon and will be expected to help the young secondary on the scout team this fall.
The injuries have led the Tide to try a few players in different positions at the last few practices.
But Saban cautioned reading too much into the moves. Corey Grant went from the running backs to the defensive backs while receiver Michael Bowman worked with the tight ends for the past two days.
“Both things are experimental in nature and they are not something that is sorta etched in stone,” Saban said.
Behind the scenes
The final product of ESPNU’s behind the scenes week in Tuscaloosa hits the airwaves Wednesday evening.
The hour-long special “Alabama All-Access” will air at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on ESPNU. It will repeat at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
A network news release said cameras got “unprecedented access” inside the Tide program during the first week of practice earlier this month.