The next step in the Nick Saban era begins today at Alabamaâ€”players report for Fall practice. The first practice is tomorrow (Friday).
Of course, weâ€™ll know precious little from practice. But what else can we expect from Saban? Saban keeps secrets like KFC guards Col. Sanders secret recipe. He keeps secrets better than anyone in this countryâ€™s capital.
And that is OK.
Mike Shula kept secrets too. All coaches do. Saban just makes it an art form.
As for me, I, like every other Alabama fan, will be watching the defense. It is no secret Iâ€™ve said some really good things about incoming freshman Alfred McCullough. I want to see how he and so many others on the defense handle themselves in team workouts. Itâ€™ll be tough to piece together information, but that will be part of the fun.
Fun is something noticeably missing over the last decade of Alabama football. Prior to the hiring of Mike Dubose, I enjoyed Alabama football. Even during the dark days of Bill Curry, Alabama football was still Alabama footballâ€”it could win championships and it was always exciting and competitive.
Since that time disasters (many of them self-inflicted) have robbed football of its fun factor. It became frustrating to watch.
But starting in January, fun strode back onto the Capstone. While the sweat and blood of the players shed on the practice field doesnâ€™t seem like funâ€”it is just one more step toward returning the fun to our Fall.
Didnâ€™t Gene Stallings use to say â€œThe fun is in the winning?â€
He is right, it hasnâ€™t been fun going to Bryant-Denny over the last decade. Alabamaâ€™s home field hasnâ€™t been an advantage to the Tide. But winning would change that.
There is fun in the process too. It is fun to watch the program being run correctly. It is fun to glean information from secretive coaches. It is fun to know the team will exceed expectations because great leaders demand no less.
People say Bama is back. I donâ€™t know about that yet. But fun is back.
ALABAMA OVER ON SCHOLARSHIPS?
The Tide may need work to get to 85 scholarship players. Speculation is that some upperclassmen are being asked to give up their scholarships. Could this include someone like Prothro?