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Spring Practice Links and Such

Sorry for the lack of Spring Practice updates yesterday, I had a migraine most of the day and didn't much feel like it.  You know how it goes.

The knives are a nice touch...

So here are some quotes/links coming from spring practice to get you (well, me) up to speed on what's been happening:

From The Birmingham News, Coach Saban isn't looking for any quick fixes, but is looking to build the program and is focused on the first steps:

"The degree that we can get consistency and performance in what we want to do in terms of our execution is ... what's going to determine whether we have a successful spring or not," Saban said. "We're trying to build every aspect of the program and every one of these first-time steps that we make are a work in progress. They're learning what's expected of them and we're trying to provide the leadership."

There's also an acknowledgement that the defensive front seven is lacking in depth, and that the secondary is (again) the consistent stregth for the Tide defense:

All Saban would acknowledge is that the defensive front seven needs more depth.
"If you just look at them in the flexibility lines (you) say, `What about the numbers? What about the people? What about the experience?'" Saban said. "Those are areas that we are going to have to work hard to improve the players that we have and maybe look to add to those areas (from) somewhere else."

Kines was criticized for the lack of sacks last year's unit produced and for staying in a 3-3-5 most of the time, but for the most part it was out of a need to keep the best players on the field.  The nickel package he used so successfully against Texas Tech was basically what we were seeing, just without the incredible abilities of that unit because so much was lost to graduation.  And it's looking like we'll be seeing that same sort of scheme more, as Coach Saban is "acting as a GA" for secondary coach Kirby Smart and working with the corners.

"About 50 percent of what we do is some kind of nickel," Saban said during his media briefing.
What that means is an extra defensive back or two -- presumably an inherited area of strength for this staff -- will be on the field roughly half the time, pulling a player or two out of the front seven.

I imagine we'll be able to see a lot of new faces contributing in different areas once fall rolls around as freshmen report.  Hopefully guys like Kerry Murphy and Rolando McClain will be able to contribute immediately.

Major Applewhite on Alabama's offense:

Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite declined to characterize his offense as wide open, spread, pro-style or anything else.
"We're going to have the ability to do a lot of different things," said Applewhite, who coordinated Rice University's offense in 2006. "What we find in spring practice will tell us what we're going to do in the fall."

He also refuted the report that he was installing the Indianapolis Colts offense, instead focusing on the talent available and what they can do:

"We're not installing anybody else's offense," Applewhite said. "Our offense is going to be Alabama's offense. We're not installing the Rice Owl offense. We're not installing the N.C. State, the Clemson, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Houston Texans - wherever (the offensive assistants most recently) have all been - we're not installing that offense.
"We're putting together an offense that fits the skills and the talents of our players and the aptitude level of our players so we can go out and be successful. To say that we're going to be like somebody is not a fair statement. We're going to be Alabama."

Though the coaches aren't talking depth chart or giving specifics on anyone, Coach Saban did single out JP and DJ Hall as "ahead of the curve" on offense:

Saban has not been big on singling out top performers, but he gave nods to receiver DJ Hall and quarterback John Parker Wilson on Saturday.
"DJ Hall was probably a little bit of a standout at receiver and made a couple of big plays, made some nice catches, played fast, sustained well," Saban said. "John Parker, for the first day, looked pretty good with what he was doing.
"We had a few guys make some plays out there. Those guys offensively looked like they were a little bit ahead of the curve."

There were a few small changes to practice:

Quarterbacks wore black jerseys to signify no contact, rather than yellow ones. Players wore gray shorts rather than crimson ones. And helmets bore white tapes with names on them, because the coaches are still learning who their players are.

Nothing big, but I imagine it gave the players a sense that this was a new staff and system and they need to be ready for change.

The Bama Report, in typically esoteric fashion, has some thoughts on Major Applewhite, and also gave a few words to EDSBS.

Practice resumes today, but since it's closed to the public we'll have to rely on the media for more blurbs from the coaches 'til we get to see what's been going on for ourselves on A Day.