"Even though today wasn't the first day of practice, it seemed as such. "I thought under the circumstances, I was pleased with the effort and the way guys picked up from where we left off. We added to what we needed to do. "I think the big question for everybody is, how much will you invest in yourself and in the team so that we can get better. So that you can get better individually, and so that we can get better. It's special to be all you can be. You can't really take anything for granted. You've got to learn to be accountable and responsible to give effort, play with toughness, be accountable to do your job and execute on a consistent basis. "Right now, we've got too many young guys that are talented guys that need to learn how to do that with more consistency. The mental toughness to be able to focus and keep an intensity level, regardless of circumstances or what happens.
"It was great to get back on the practice field," Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said on Monday. "I thought the offense got back to business fairly quickly. We ran into some speed bumps along the way today, but I thought we fought through any adversity. Guys are catching on to things and you can see everyone progressing during these first two practices."
Damion Square will be a familiar face for the Crimson Tide defensive line in 2012. So will Brandon Ivory and Jesse Williams, albeit possibly in a new form over center at nose guard. In all, more than 10 defensive linemen will return from last year’s squad, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a different feel from the national championship group that featured a pair of key seniors in Josh Chapman and Nick Gentry. “We are very big but very athletic,” Square said of the defensive linemen. “Not saying that the guys before weren’t athletic but these guys -- pretty much all across the board they can play any position up front and get the job done.”
His toughest challenge at the position, Jones said, has been more mental than physical. "Probably just learning the blocking concepts and learning where I'm supposed to be all the time," Jones said. "Not as much memorizing stuff, but learning concepts of plays. That's one thing that Barrett's taught me to do better. I think that's why he understands offense as well as he does." Jones said new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has shown no signs of making the H-back role any less of a factor than it was last year, when Smelley was among UA's leading receivers. "I think we'll definitely still use the H-back a pretty good bit. You saw Smelley get more and more action in the games as the year went on. Hopefully, we'll use it just as much this year," Jones said. "Anytime we've got two tight ends in the game it's always good."
"People come up to me and say, 'Man, that's awesome that you gave up your spring break,' but honestly - and I'm not just saying this - I don't think that way," Alabama's star offensive lineman said Monday, three days after returning from his latest mission trip. He spent his past two spring breaks on service missions to Haiti. "To me it's just so much more rewarding and so much more return on impact to go on these trips than to go to the beach."
Alabama senior outfielder Jennifer Fenton (Kennesaw, Ga.) and sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) garnered Southeastern Conference softball weekly honors, the league office announced Monday afternoon. Fenton was named the SEC Player of the Week while Traina was named the Pitcher of the Week. The honor is a career first for Fenton while Traina nabbed the accolade in the circle for the second time. This marks the first time since Dani Woods and Stephanie VanBrakle on March 27, 2006, that two Crimson Tide players have earned both honors in the same week.
Alabama currently ranks fifth in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings. The Tide is in the unique position of potentially landing all five of the top five rated prospects in the nation for the 2013 class. The Tide picked up an early commitment from the nation's No. 2 overall prospect, LaGrange, Ga., linebacker Reuben Foster, in July of 2011 and is currently considered a strong contender for the other four players in 247Sports' top players: defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and quarterback Max Browne.
Miami defensive back Artie Burns has decommitted from Alabama, according to reports from multiple recruiting services. Burns, a four-star cornerback from Miami's powerhouse Northwestern High School committed to the Crimson Tide in December of 2011 but told BamaOnline's Charles Power that he alerted the Tide coaching staff on Monday that he is no longer committed and that Alabama is no longer one of his top schools.
Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 overall football prospect, ranked his visit to LSU as a “10” and set the date for his highly-anticipated commitment. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end from Grayson High School told the AJC that he plans to reveal his college decision on May 18 — after Grayson’s scrimmage to end spring football practice at the Gwinnnett County powerhouse. “I’m ready to commit because I know where I want to go,” Nkemdiche said. “I feel like I’ve seen all the places I needed to see, and talked to all the coaches everywhere. “I don’t feel any need to wait any later than the spring. I’m ready to get it over with, and then I can focus on other things … my senior year of high school, my schoolwork, and helping Grayson try to win the state championship again.”
Missouri quarterback James Franklin will undergo surgery on his right shoulder and miss the rest of spring practice, but he's expected to be ready for the start of next season. The junior threw for 2,865 yards and 21 touchdowns and ran for 981 yards and 15 TDs as a first-year starter in 2011. Franklin was injured last Tuesday during practice when he jumped on a fumble at the end of a play and a defender landed on his outstretched throwing arm.
University of Tennessee officials told the AJC on Friday that there's no connection between 5-star WR Cordarrelle Patterson signing with the Volunteers last month and one of Patterson's coaches recently joining Tennessee's football staff.
Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is one of the players expected to go on the first day of the draft and we’re starting to get an idea about which teams might be interested in adding him to their secondary. The Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Vikings, Buccaneers, Ravens, Lions and Titans are listed as eight of the teams that will meet with Kirkpatrick.