TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It takes two operators, a gas-powered generator and is a welcomed site at anytime on the practice field.
It’s the latest in the line of defense against oppressive August heat mounted by the Alabama football program. The device looks like a bonus-sized exterminator tool or a super-charged pressure washer that sprays more than a fine mist on practicing football players from a distance.
After the first of two practices Wednesday when the heat index flirted with triple digits, the unnamed contraption drew positive reviews.
“It cools you off for two or three seconds,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “You kind of get cold because it’s straight cold water. So you kind of get cold for a little minute, but once you get back on the field, that heat gets kicking and you’ll warm up fast.”
It’s hardly the only line of defense against a muggy practice day. Two cooling tents are located at opposite ends of the outdoor practice complete with huge fans and ice baths.
But the sprayer provides relief between breaks and can be used while a drill is in progress.
“It’s kind of unexpected when you have the thing spraying right in your face,” receiver Brandon Gibson said. “But it definitely helps out.”
The time to experiment with true freshmen is now, and Christian Jones is getting a look in two positions.
Jones is working with the offense through the first seven Alabama practices.
“Christian Jones is a young guy that’s shown some potential and has a little burst of speed and quickness,” coach Nick Saban said. “We’ve used him at both running back and receiver and he looks like a guy that could develop nicely at either one of those.”
How rapidly he could develop and whether he could contribute to this year’s team is, it’s probably too early to make that call. But we’re certainly pleased with his work ethic and intensity. He’s a bright guy and he learns quickly and he’s done a good job of making plays when he’s had the opportunity in practice.