Wednesday’s practice was the first time the Crimson Tide could wear full pads during practice. The first two practices were completed in helmets only, while the third and fourth practices included helmets and shoulder pads to adhere to the NCAA’s acclimatization period.
Temperatures reached over 90 degrees in Tuscaloosa for practices on Monday and Tuesday. It was about 93 when practice began on Wednesday, creating some difficult circumstances for players. Senior linebacker Christian Miller said players have to keep perspective to have fun during the challenges of fall camp.
“It just depends on how you look at it. You got to understand why you play this game,” Miller said. “You play it because you love it or you play it for the lifestyle. If you play it because you love it, this should be a fun time of the year. All you’re doing is playing football, and if you look at it like this is the sport you played growing up that you love it shouldn’t be too hard. It’s a job, it is. But as long as you maintain your body, you’re smart about it, you go in there with a good, positive mindset, it should be fun. You’ve got all your brothers around you, you’re in the dorms. It’s just a fun time — for most of us. As long as you love the game it should be fun.”
Athletic trainers circled the field with hoses to spray down players and keep them cold between drills during the afternoon practices. Regardless of whether it’s fun, there’s no arguing whether or not it’s easy.
“Actually being out there for practice and it’s 120 degrees on the field, no, that’s not fun,” senior running back Damien Harris said. “But being able to be out here with these guys and just the excitement level to be back out there on the field and actually play real football again, it’s an exciting time for us. And we’re looking forward to the rest of camp.”
Coach Nick Saban said he liked hearing the approach Miller took to fall camp.
“I love to hear that players love to practice, that they love the game, that it’s not just about the lifestyle and the Twitter and the opportunity to wear somebody’s t-shirt and all that,” Saban said. “It’s about playing. It’s about playing well. It’s about feeling good about the self-gratification that you get from doing something extremely well on a consistent basis.”
Jacobs full-go in fall
Junior running back Josh Jacobs has not been limited in Alabama’s first five practices in fall camp. He was limited for much of spring practice after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of the season.
“He’s absolutely 100 percent,” coach Nick Saban said. “He’s had a really good first five days of camp. Very explosive, very quick, very fast. Doesn’t seem to have any issues. Has been able to take all the reps. Done extremely well.”
Jacobs finished his sophomore season with 46 carries for 284 yards along with 14 receptions for 168 yards. He had three touchdowns on the season. He battled injuries for much of the season, and finished with fewer carries than he had as a freshman. Senior running back Damien Harris said that’s not a concern for him or the other running backs.
“None of us really care about the amount of carries we get, the amount of plays, reps, anything like that,” Harris said. “As long as whoever’s in there is getting the job done. That’s not something that we worry about.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.