Practice buzz-August 9, 2008

Freshmen poised to contribute
As many as 10 freshmen could contribute “in some role” to this year’s Alabama football team, Nick Saban said following Alabama’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

Saban said some of the freshmen are beginning to perform in a positive way.

“I don’t really feel like we are disappointed in anyone,” Saban said. Everybody has worked hard and everybody is making progress.”

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Saban said the freshmen’s biggest challenge is the frustration caused by the learning process.

“Because they all want to know what to do, and do it fast because they all want to be good players,” Saban said.

Coaches will view film of the scrimmage and use it to evaluate all the players, but the freshmen are of particular importance at this juncture of the season. With so many poised to contribute, the staff must begin to decide who can contribute the most. In fact, the calculus on these freshmen is even more complicated than who can help right now.

According to Saban, you don’t necessarily pick the best player at the moment, sometimes you pick the player with the most potential to make “you a better team over time.”

“We’re going to have to look at these two early season scrimmages and make evaluations a little bit more like you would when you cut your team in the NFL. Saban said. “Sometimes you don’t keep all the best players because some younger players might not be quite as good as the veteran player at the time, but you got to make a decision to invest your time in certain guys that might be able to develop and make you a better team over time. And I think some of those decisions are giong to have to be made early in this camp.”

Wilson update
John Parker Wilson graduated, and then threw for 300 yards in Alabama’s scrimmage. Saban said the quarterback is making plays.

“John Parker threw for 300 yards out there today,” Saban said. “On third (down), he made some big plays out there today. It’s a good thing that we are making big plays on offense.”

Wilson turned the ball over twice today, Saban said. And one of them was a turnover in the two minute drill at the end, “but I think he has done a better job of making good decisions throughout this camp.”

Saban said Wilson has progressed to the point where when he makes a bad play, it isn’t necessarily because of a bad judgment. Saban praised Wilson’s improved business-like decisions.

“If he continues to make good decisions, we are going to make big plays and minimize the bad plays,” Saban said.

Backup QB?
Greg McElroy is leading for the backup position. That is for right now.

Greg is the “guy most comfortable with the offense right now,” Saban said. “He is the guy that probably at this point and time could do the best job executing the offense.”

The other quarterbacks are showing progress. And I wouldn’t be shocked to see a fierce battle for the #2 spot.

Alabama’s scrimmage last longer than typical to get additional repetitions for the five quarterbacks.

More good signs of the conditioning program
Overall, Saban said there was good enthusiasm and good hitting taking place on the field despite the team being tired from two-a-days on Friday. The team has Sunday off, but will spend time in meetings.