Practice buzz Aug 4, 2008

The youth movement begins? Redshirt freshman Josh Chapman worked with the first-team defense, according to reports here and here.

Fans are optimistic about the young players finally getting some work, but what do others who may have a better eye for talent say? Bamaonline.com asked Nico Johnson, a top linebacker recruit. Here is what he said:

“Alabama’s freshmen may as well be juniors or seniors,” said Johnson who himself is an impressive physical specimen at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. “Those guys looked like they can contribute right away. Julio (Jones) was the big standout. He caught everything that they threw his way. His hands are unreal.

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Today was the Tide’s fourth practice of fall camp. Players put pads on for the first time Tuesday. Two-a-days begin Wednesday.

“Things are going real well,” Alabama senior tight end Nick Walker said following Monday’s practice. “I feel like we have picked things up the last couple of days. The guys are starting to have fun out there and things are starting to get exciting as we continue to work hard. We are working on just the basics right now, a lot of fundamentals. We haven’t gotten too deep into the playbook yet.

“It’s exciting,” Walker said on the eve of the first day in pads. “Its fun, it’s always fun to be in pads. There will be a lot of guys, especially on defense, that are going to be ready and we have to be ready too.”