Today's practice marked the first time that the team has practiced in pads. The team practiced indoors, and Saban seemed pleased overall with the mental intensity and focus of the team. Saban mentioned that the team has had two of "the best guest speakers that the team could hope for" in Ray Lewis and Herm Edwards. Good grief, this team doesn't know how to be anything but "A List."
One injury was noted in the opening statements - receiver Tyler Bass had surgery on his ankle. No disrespect to Tyler, and we wish him a speedy recovery, but I had never heard his name before today.
• On Michael Fanning's performance at tight end - it sounds like he is still learning what to do. He's showing promise, but he is "a work in progress". No decision has been made about whether he'll stay at TE or if he'll be moved back to defensive end
• On Ryan Kelly, the presumed replacement at center - "Ryan is similar to Barrett Jones in a lot of ways as a football player." Enough said.
• On Brian Vogler at tight end - apparently he was one of the top conditioned guys coming out of summer conditioning. That tells me that this kid is serious. I know everyone is ready to anoint O.J. Howard (and Howard will certainly make an impact), but Vogler is not going to be easily brushed aside.
• On other speakers coming to talk to the team - if you don't watch anything else, skip to 6:36 and listen to Saban respond to this question. That, my friends, is a football coach.
• On Mario Cristobal (the new offensive line coach) - He's an enthusiastic, good coach and the transition has gone well.
Here's the video of the press conference:
And here's some footage from today's practice.