Pre-Scrimmage Jumbo Package │08.10.13

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Will the running game play second fiddle this upcoming season? We may just find out today.

Alabama practice report: Tide puts in final preparations for 1st preseason scrimmage |

We asked Ryan Kelly on Thursday if the Crimson Tide had been working more on its pass blocking. He essentially said it was 50-50. We asked this because all we see the offensive line doing is pass-blocking drills whenever we're out there. That was the focus during today's viewing period.

Emphasis mine. Not that I'm overly concerned but my worry with this offensive line is in their run not pass blocking. If my observation is true I wonder why the media has only witnessed the group working on their supposed strength?

Could it be that the passing game will be a much larger part of the offense then originally expected? Could it just be nothing and they work on run blocking later in the session? Is the staff implementing a new run blocking scheme? Is it just 6 am on a Saturday morning and I'm reaching for thoughtful insight?

The Crimson White | Media swarms Tuscaloosa as Tide prepares for first fall scrimmage

The Alabama Crimson Tide was once again in the national spotlight on Thursday, and even more so than usual. Several national media outlets were on campus as Alabama endured the summer sun following its first two-a-day practice of fall camp. ESPN was in Tuscaloosa with its College Football Bus parked outside the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. Head coach Nick Saban and senior quarterback AJ McCarron spent the day doing interviews with ESPN reporters, including Tom Rinaldi. CBS’s 60 Minutes was also in town working on its documentary of Saban and the football team.

Remember how much media attention the team received post 2009 National Title? Remember how that affected the team? You'd think after three titles in four years the players would be use to the publicity but you never know how the new crop of players will handle their new found fame.

My trust is in the coaching staff to block out the distractions and focus the team on their own preparation but we all know what the greatest threat to this team is — complacency.

Spotlight on Alabama freshman tight end O.J. Howard (video) |

Howard, who enrolled early, is in the thick of a wide open competition for spots at tight end and H-back. At 237 pounds, Howard is probably more likely to be making plays in the passing game than down in the trenches blocking on a regular basis. At least for this year. "It just depends on what they want me to do," Howard said in February. "I can put weight on and play Y. Or play H. If it's up to me, I'll play both. I'm looking forward to playing a little bit of both."

Not sure if this is just a rehearsed response or not but I absolutely love what I'm hearing from the freshman. Howard looks the part of a three year and out player and if he adds blocking to his repertoire that will most certainly be the case.

Nick Saban already knows he won't be happy with Alabama's first scrimmage |

Good competitors try to do things the right way, Saban said.“They have pride in their performance,” Saban said. “I don't think we'll have many players that get a 100 percent grade on everything did in the scrimmage from an effort, toughness, assignment standpoint. Technique to execute. There'll be so many things that we have the opportunity to work on to improve.

If the Dark Lord isn't happy, I'm happy.

Alabama freshman D-linemen making early impression, could contribute right away |

"My dad came over the other day and asked me who that was," Steen said. "I told him it was a freshman. He thought he was 30 years old." Talking Alabama football with senior defensive end Ed Stinson Robinson -- like fellow freshman defensive linemen Dee Liner and Jonathan Allen -- looks the part of someone who could step into Alabama's defensive line rotation as soon as the season opener against Virginia Tech.

As I mentioned in Five Burning Questions, depth at D-line, especially DE, is a bit of a concern. Having to depend on true freshman to contribute right away isn't optimal, but if early reports are true, this group of freshmen defensive lineman may be the exception.

Relative unknown player profileLB Dillon Lee

Video Links

Spotlight Video: True Freshman O.J. Howard

AJ McCarron Focused

Ed Stinson Talks Football

Vinnie Sunseri and Trey DePriest reflect on their first Alabama scrimmages

Jeoffrey Pagan sizes up incoming freshmen

Jeoffrey Pagan and Ed Stinson lead D-lineman through drills

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