Injured Tide almost out of time as season opener approaches
On Friday the University of Alabama football team will begin to formally prepare for its season opener, and chances are with the Aug. 30 game against West Virginia being played inside the Georgia Dome the practice will be held inside.
“It’s a relief,” sophomore defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson said after Thursday’s indoor practice. “Alabama is pretty humid. You get used to it, but some days you want to get in the air conditioning.”
The flip side to that is playing on a fake surface can be a little tougher on joints and knees, but considering the temperature was hovering near 100 degrees outside and weekend forecast is for more of the same, you won’t hear the players complaining.
Alabama will also practice on Saturday before taking Sunday off and getting into its regular-season routine. That also means that Nick Saban will reveal the team’s initial depth chart on Monday.
“I’m ready to start now,” Tomlinson said.
Here’s a run down of Alabama’s injury situation:
Senior offensive lineman Leon Brown (foot): Has been practicing for approximately 10 days, including his re-acclimation period, and is getting close to up to speed. It’ll be interesting to see if coaches re-insert him as the starter at right guard after sophomore Alphonse Taylor as taken all the first-team snaps so far. “We put him on a pitch count and every day we’ve increased it by 16 to 24 to 32 to 40,” Nick Saban said Thursday. “So he’s just about ready to go full-go the whole practice.”
Senior linebacker Trey DePriest (knee): DePriest continues to wear a knee brace at practice. “I think the biggest issue with Trey right now is that he’s probably pretty close to 100 percent from an injury standpoint, but based on the time that he missed his conditioning is not what it needs to be. I can’t see far enough down the road to our schedule to know when we’ll play a team that gets into a huddle. So if you’re not in really good condition on defense you’re going to have a hard time sustaining and playing well. I would say that’s the biggest concern that I would have for him is his conditioning, continue to improve his conditioning, so that he can play this pace of play and sustain.”
Junior linebacker Denzel Devall (undisclosed): There’s been no change in his status. Devall continues to wear a support that can indicate a calf or hamstring injury, but hasn’t missed any practices.
Sophomore tight end Kurt Freitag (turf toe): Has yet to return to practice after sustaining a turf-toe injury during the first scrimmage of training camp. He’s the only scholarship player on the roster not practicing due to an injury.
Junior offensive lineman Dominick Jackson (sprained ankle): The junior-college transfer returned to practice this week and on Thursday appeared to be working on the left side during individual drills. “The two guys who could give us the most depth on the offensive line have missed a significant amount of camp,” Saban said. “Leon Brown, who probably would have been a starter, and Dominic Jackson, who we thought could certainly challenge for a starting position and offer a great amount of competition to somebody to be a starter and most certainly be a really good backup. He practiced what, I don’t know, four or five days, or I guess to the first scrimmage, and now he’s basically coming back. And Leon missed a good two weeks. How those guys develop will determine to a degree the kind of depth we have on the offensive line.”
Sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson (knee): Roughly four months after having surgery he continues to inch closer to a full return. “Eddie Jackson is back practicing and doing well, but probably not where he needs to be because he missed a few practices,” Saban said. “We’re just going to take him one day at a time and see how fast he progresses.”
Freshman tight end Keith Holcombe (undisclosed): Has returned to practice but despite some depth concerns might be headed for a redshirt.
Senior nose guard Brandon Ivory and junior defensive end Jarran Reed (suspended): Both are practicing and still trying to re-earn their starting jobs.
Sophomore defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (knee): Robinson has returned to practice and is wearing a brace on his left knee. “A’Shawn is a hard worker and he worked really hard in practice,” Saban said. “I asked him how it went and he said ‘I really have a lot of work to do to get my quickness back and to get in shape and be able to sustain,’ which is to be expected. But we’re going to work him and when he’s ready to play we’ll play him. It’s a long football season and we have a lot of football to play, but his knee never bothered him at all, that wasn’t an issue at all. That’s the good news. He’s going to have to work his way back in practice, but we were encouraged by what he was able to do.
Junior defensive back Geno Smith (sprained knee): He appears to be back practicing in his usual spot.
Senior tight end Brian Vogler (sprained ankle): Vogler disclosed to reporters Thursday evening that his injury was a high ankle sprain. “Coaches, obviously, they didn’t want to push it to the limit,” he said. “Just do whatever it took to get ready for that first week. They’re just being a little overcautious with it.”