Over 2500 turned out on the eve of football camp to watch another young, talented Alabama team begin its season.
Coach Avery Johnson was enthused by the both the turnout and the uptempo play that the Tide put on the floor.
“This was unbelievable,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “I didn’t really have any expectations in terms of the size of the crowd, I was just hoping a few people would show up on a Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa.
“I love the quick pace. You saw a little bit of a difference in our speed. I’m really pleased with the way we are trying to get the ball up the floor.”
While Johnson was pleased with the pace of the offense, he was not so happy about the lack of communication and getting back on defense against the break.
A lot of that miscommunication is chemistry and inexperience as Alabama blends old and new faces into the style of ball that Johnson wants to play: For the first time, the Tide has the athletes to make it work.
Freshmen Collin Sexton and John Petty highlighted the five-on-five action with an array of 3-pointers at a fast-break speed.
"You saw a lot of what they can do and why we were after these guys in recruiting," Johnson said.
The biggest difference the coach noticed so far was foot speed. He called it "a dream" in the first two seasons, but is now a reality with the influx of new talent from the top-10 recruiting class.
"The spacing better when you have guys who can shoot," Johnson said. "I won't call them shooters. Hopefully we'll have makers this year."
Another minor hiccup is the absence of Dazon Ingram. He did not participate in the open practice and is questionable for the Tide’s trip to the Great White North.
But, it did afford a look at what the star freshmen could do. Check out Collin Sexton in a crimson jersey
The Tide’s first game will be played on Aug. 7 against McGill University at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) in Montreal. The Tide will then play a pair of games in Ottawa, beginning with a contest on Aug. 9 at Carleton University at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) followed by facing the University of Ottawa on Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT).
The games against McGill and Ottawa will be live streamed on the internet (rolltide.com), while RollTide.com will have daily features, including recaps, video highlights, photos and more from each day the team spends in Canada.