Alabama went through its seventh practice today as it prepares for its BCS National Championship Game appearance. The Crimson Tide worked out in full pads inside its indoor practice facility. It marked the second practice in two days after the team took a three-day break for Christmas.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has said he wants to duplicate the 65- to 70-degree temperature the Tide will face when it plays in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, and it’s quite a bit colder than that in Tuscaloosa this afternoon.
Alabama center Barrett Jones still isn’t practicing. During the 16-minute part of practice reporters were allowed to view, Jones stood on the sideline opposite of us, wearing a black non-contact jersey with a black walking boot on his injured left foot. He did some light exercises under the direction of Tide strength coach Scott Cochran.
Today marks 26 days since he injured his foot in the SEC Championship Game’s opening quarter. He didn’t have his best game of the season in the 32-28 win over Georgia, but it he still is wearing a walking boot nearly four weeks later, then it’s almost unbelievable to think he played that day and was reasonably effective. I’m not sure how he managed it.
For Alabama, the good part of Jones missing these practices is that backup Ryan Kelly, an All-SEC Freshman Team member, is getting plenty of work with the first-team line.
Freshman linebacker Denzel Devall wore a black non-contact jersey, too, and appeared more active than Jones. He worked under the direction of Tide trainer Jeff Allen, too, walking from one sideline to the other and back again. Sometimes he would do side steps. Other times he walked in a zig-zag. And other times he walked a straight line. He also did some small jumps, lifting only about two or three inches off the ground, if that much. That’s still more verticle leap than I have.
Wide receiver Kenny Bell (leg) wasn’t at practice, as he was before Christmas break. Noseguard Jesse Williams (knee) practiced but wasn’t doing a whole lot during the media viewing period. Cornerback Dee Milliner sat out some drills in the final practices before Christmas break, but he appeared to be doing everything today.
We have some video of Devall doing his walks. We don’t have Jones because he remained on the other sideline, which was too far away for my camera phone.