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And so it begins...

116 years ago, Alabama football began as the small band of brothers gathered on the Quad to prepare for the upcoming contests with the Birmingham Athletic Club. Today, 116 years later, another season of Alabama football will unofficially kick off with the start of Fall practice. And so it begins...

There will be two practice sessions tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening, and both will take place in helmets and shorts. The afternoon session will feature varsity players who are returning from last year, while the evening session will be solely for the incoming freshmen (and the occasional player who happens to be in Saban's doghouse... see Prince Hall last year and perhaps again this year). Starting tomorrow, we will work out every day until the off day on next Sunday, nine days from tomorrow.

The first couple of days will be in helmets and shorts, and we should get some work in pads next week. In about a week or so, we should have the first scrimmage. Early on, though, it will be hard to tell much of anything. In the beginning, we should mainly look out for injuries -- don't forget, Demetrius Goode went down for the year with a torn ACL in the first practice last year -- and aside from that we should mainly pay attention to where everyone is lining up. We all know that we are going to depend heavily on true freshmen this year, and we all know of Saban's penchant for players who can legitimately play multiple positions, but the problem is that all of the versatility means it is almost impossible to peg exactly where which player will start out. Just finding out where these guys will start out at will be pretty interesting in its own right.

For now, though, just sit back and enjoy. The dog days of summer are now officially over for the pigskin fanatics, and football season is just right around the corner.