The starting point for Alabama football is here once again.
The Crimson Tide began fall practice in good position on Friday. No serious injuries have occurred other than Terrell Lewis’ torn ACL earlier this summer. No late-breaking drama derailed the first day.
“I think the big question we have to ask ourselves is ‘What are we going be in 30 days from now?’” coach Nick Saban said. “What are we going to become? And the goal of camp, obviously, is to get every player to play and compete at the highest level with the most consistency and to be able to do that over an entire season. So, what we do in camp means a lot.”
The results of summer conditioning also brought positive news. Saban said only 12 or 13 players didn’t pass the test prior to practice beginning, tied for the best mark since he arrived here. Carryover from summer was encouraging.
Even with that, the first day of practice still revealed necessary work ahead.
“I thought today’s practice was really, really good,” Saban said. “But every individual just about out there hit their breaking point at some point in time, probably in the last 30 minutes of practice. And it was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate we weren’t nearly as good when we had individuals that did that, and that’s what we have to work so that we can sustain.”
Alabama still has nearly a month to reach that level before its opener against Louisville on Sept. 1.
There are other matters to address in that time as well. Saban said Alabama’s strongest group of offensive linemen is “yet to be determined,” but liked the competition at the position. The secondary, depleted of its starters from last season, will require some young players to contribute to determine “what kind of depth we can develop in the back end.” Alabama had looked to add another player to its inside linebackers, but will “have to develop the players that we have,” Saban said.
Saban did not receive a quarterback question after the first practice.
He did take the opportunity to point his team in the direction he hopes it will go. He talked about discipline, toughness, focus and intensity. The starting point was there on Friday.
“I think that our players have always talked about what we do around here, thinking that they do more than other people,” Saban said. “I think more and more people are trying to do what we do. More and more people have people from our organization in their organization. So, I think it’s not what we do, I think it’s how we do what we do and we’ve got to do it better.”
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