Tuscaloosa, AL. – The Alabama Crimson Tide practiced indoors Wednesday due to inclement weather earlier in the day and threatening clouds in the area throughout the afternoon. The team worked out in full pads for approximately two hours and the practice was the sixth of the spring for the Tide.
Coach Saban noted the progress he has seen in the younger players as he addressed the media following Wednesday's practice.
"We have had two really good days of practice this week," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We got to cover more things, so there have been more opportunities for the young players to make mistakes, but there have also been more learning opportunities for those young players to develop and grow, which is a good thing. On defense, I see a little maturity out there with the experience that we have. I see some guys on offense that are competing very well and making progress. The most important thing we will want to see on Saturday is how the guys compete when there is no coach standing there encouraging them or telling them what to do."
Junior defensive back Robert Lester echoed Saban's statement regarding the progress of the younger players.
"I think practice has been going well," Lester said. "A lot of the younger guys are getting a chance to learn the defense, and we continue to work on fundamentals. Our secondary is experienced now, so we are working on the little things we may have messed up on during the season."
On hand for Wednesday's practice were a pair of former Alabama defensive standouts as Wallace Gilberry and Jarret Johnson watched the action from the sidelines. Gilberry just finished his third season as a defensive end with the Kansas City Chiefs where he was second on the team with 7.0 sacks last year. Johnson, also a defensive end, has spent each of his eight years in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens. He had 73 total tackles in 2010 to rank third on the team behind only Ray Lewis (102) and Dawan Landry (86). The Ravens were third in the NFL in scoring defense (16.9 ppg) last season.
The Crimson Tide will return to the practice field Friday and the first scrimmage of the spring is scheduled for Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The scrimmage is closed to the public.