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August 26, 2010

Coaches, Tide set to turn attention to season

TUSCALOOSA _ Nick Saban didn't have a specific name for it, but Thursday the clock ran out for some of his players.

"It's D-Day, judgment day, whatever, for us as a team in terms of personnel moving forward," the University of Alabama coach said, adding: "We have to make some kind of determinations now, we haven't done that yet, as to who we're going to coach, what we're going to do.

"You don't have enough reps in practice to get everyone ready to play."

Beginning Friday, the Crimson Tide will begin installing its game play for San Jose State, which will visit Bryant-Denny on Sept. 4, and preparing for the season in earnest. Consequently, the days of "we don't have a depth chart" are essentially over.

In addition to doing some advance work on teams that do unusual things, Thursday was the third and last day of experimentation, when some players were getting extra reps and others were getting looks at different places.

For example, after two days of sophomore Barrett Jones taking snaps at right tackle, redshirt freshman D.J. Fluker was back in his usual spot with Jones at right guard.

However, true freshman Arie Kouandijo stayed at left tackle on the second unit, with John Michael Boswell at left guard. Junior Alfred McCullough, who got a long look at right guard earlier this week, was at right tackle. Notable among the third group was Chad Lindsay at right guard and Austin Shepherd at right tackle.

Defensively, junior Jerrell Harris continued to work with the interior linebackers and partnered with Dont'a Hightower during the nickel recognition drills. Junior Chris Jordan was in the second grouping along with freshman C.J. Mosley.

"I think we have three linebackers who are probably a little ahead of the rest and right now he would be one of the three guys," Saban said about Jordan. "He's definitely going to have a role on the team."

Harris was the third linebacker Saban referred to. At minimum, Jordan is slated to step in at middle linebacker when Hightower moves up to the line as a pass-rusher. Otherwise he's still not sure what his game-to-game duties will involve.

"We don't know, but I think Coach Saban does it just to let you know that your position is not locked in, that way everyone will continue to work hard and get better," Jordan said.

Meanwhile, the secondary had a different look for the third straight day. Thursday's version had sophomore Dre Kirkpatrick at left corner, freshman DeMarcus Milliner at right corner, with junior Mark Barron and sophomore Robert Lester at the safety spots and junior DeQuan Menzie at star.

The second unit had freshman John Fulton and sophomore B.J. Scott at the corners, freshmen Nick Perry and Jarrick Williams at safety and junior Phelon Jones at star.

"I feel really comfortable with the players that we have," Saban said. "The most difficult thing about camp is when you have a new group and a lot of guys who haven't played, you'd really like to get some continuity in practice, guys playing together. We have continually had two or three guys out and haven't been able to do that.

"But saying all that I'm really pleased with the progress we've made and the improvement we've made as a group."

Elsewhere, junior Josh Chapman (thigh) was back working with the first unit at nose tackle, between ends Marcell Dareus and Luther Davis.

"We thought he was a little heavy," Saban said about Chapman. "He has gotten his weight down."

All-around player Blake Sims (foot) worked with the running backs after missing Wednesday's practice and junior running back Demetrius Goode appears to be working his way back into things after having a hamstring issue.

"We've had a really productive week," Saban said.


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