This afternoon was the first day of practice for Alabama in the postseason. The Crimson Tide was working inside and wearing shells. The weather in Tuscaloosa was cloudy and a bit chilly, but I’d imagine they were inside mainly to simulate conditions for the Superdome in New Orleans.
Here’s what we saw during the two open periods:
- The portion we saw wasn’t a normal Monday or midweek practice. Things seemed to go a little slower, and we didn’t see some of the units do drills as a group like we normally would. That makes sense for the first day back after a long layoff. The open portion didn’t feature nickel or dime packages, didn’t include all five offensive linemen working together with a running back, things like that.
- Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was not at practice today. I didn’t watch his introductory press conference at Tennessee to see if he said it specifically, but I’d expect him to be gone for tomorrow’s practice as well until the dead period arrives on Monday. There’s no recruiting from the 18th until after the championship game, so this is his only chance to get out on the road for Tennessee.
- Shaun Dion Hamilton was helping out with the inside linebacker drills. He’s obviously out for the season, but Mack Wilson (foot) was working with the group as it did individual drills. He played
- Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller were also working with the outside linebackers. They both played in the Auburn game and should be expected to be ready for the Sugar Bowl as well.
- Offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher (high ankle sprain) was practicing and seemed to be working with starting center Bradley Bozeman, so I’d say he seems to be in good shape to play in New Orleans. His injured ankle may have been taped a little more, but it was hard to tell for sure.
- Since there weren’t many combined drills, like I said above, no way to tell if Tosh Lupoi was taking a bigger role with the defense or if any other staffers had roles shuffled around.
- Also, because we didn’t see nickel or dime packages, we didn’t get to see who might replace Hootie Jones at safety. I’d expect Minkah Fitzpatrick to get some play there in regular, and Deionte Thompson to fill the spot in nickel and dime packages. But that could change, obviously.
- LaBryan Ray, Miller Forristall and Brandon Kennedy were all on the stationary bikes at practice today.
By the way, today is the last day of finals at Alabama and commencement is tomorrow. Here’s a list of the Alabama football players set to graduate this weekend. Alabama will practice on Saturday and take Sunday off.