Two-a-days, that quintessential torture of fall camp, began early this morning in Tuscaloosa, where the Crimson Tide completed its sixth practice session of fall camp with the heat index soaring well into the triple digits. Fortunately for all parties involved, a mid-afternoon thunderstorm broke the brutal heat wave in time for the evening practice, and with two-a-days now underway seven practice sessions to date in fall camp are in the books.
Duron Carter continues to garner the bulk of the attention, and he was once again absent from both practice sessions today. There was earlier hope that he would be cleared by today, but obviously that did not come to fruition, and again there is no end in sight for when a decision may come. At this point UA supporters can hope, wait, and do little else.
Both Undra Billingsley and Ryan Kelly missed practice again today. Nothing whatsoever has been said on what may be the injury limiting Kelly, but Saban stated he is still listed as day-to-day. Billingsley is apparently still hospitalized at this point, as he missed his third straight practice session. Hopefully all is well with Billingsley, but clearly the long he is absent the greater the concern is that his affliction may be serious in nature. Either way, best wishes go to out to Billingsley as he makes his recovery.
On more positive injury notes, Arie Kouandjio participated fully today and shed much of the additional taping he sported yesterday. Trent Richardson did not have his lower left leg taped as he had in previous practices this fall, and later told the media the tape was to help with a hamstring that had been previously tweaked. Eddie Lacy also largely dismissed any concerns over his pectoral injury.
Anthony Orr continues to generate some attention during camp. His transition to Jack linebacker has generally received positive feedback, and this morning he actually saw some reps at Sam linebacker. Jerrell Harris remains the likely starter at Sam, but given the paucity of playing time that was given to the Sam a year ago, it's possible that someone like Orr could see some playing time there in certain situations, particularly when UA attempts to go to a heavy defensive package in short-yardage situations. Either way, regardless of exactly which role Orr may receive this fall, if any, it's positive to see him making progress in his development.
Anthony Steen looks to have a solid hold on the right guard position for the time being, and for what it's worth his fellow teammates have spoken highly of his play. Steen clearly has the physical tools needed to be a standout player, but at this point, as is the case with many young and inexperienced offensive linemen, it's the mental aspect in the way of making the right decisions in the face of confusing defensive fronts that will give Steen the most trouble moving forward. Truth be told, for better or for worse, at this point Steen looks to be the linchpin of the offensive line moving forward. If he can play well on a consistent basis, he'll not only solidify the right side of the offensive line and breathe renewed life into the running game, but his play will also allow Barrett Jones to remain at left tackle. If Steen falters, though, the right side of the line will remain in flux, and the staff will have to seriously consider the prospects of moving Barrett Jones back to right guard and forcing a true freshman into the lineup at the most crucial position on the offensive line. Steen has done well to this point, but he needs to continue to do so if 'Bama is to avoid the offensive line woes that hindered the 2010 team.
In other quick hitters, Christion Jones saw time at wide receiver in the morning session, but spent time at tailback in the afternoon session. Cyrus Kouandjio continues to take reps as the second-team offensive team, and it appears he has already passed by Tyler Love on the non-existent depth chart. Looks can be deceiving, but the incoming defensive line crop certainly looks exactly like what you want on the line of scrimmage. Trey DePriest continues to impress everyone, but it's hard to see him getting meaningful playing time at inside linebacker barring a run of injuries; a special teams role and mop-up duty is more likely as the coaching staff will probably try to get the most that it can out of a freshman who has all the looks of a three-year player.
Alabama will return to the practice fields tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 for the eighth practice session of fall camp.