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August 5, 2012TUSCALOOSA | With the start of fall classes at the University of Alabama still a couple of weeks away, focusing on football should be a little easier for Alabama during fall camp.
But it's not easy for D.J. Fluker.
Without offering any specific details, the UA right tackle said he has been trying to set aside some recent personal problems at a time when he'd like to be worried about nothing but football.
"Right now I have a lot of things on my shoulders with my family," Fluker said. "That's pushed me to go harder each day, run harder, practice harder, and be motivated by it. I've come a long way from what I have in my past, and now it's more about me maturing into a great man."
Fluker is a two-year starter on Alabama offensive line and considered among the top tackles in the Southeastern Conference. He said his physical conditioning is better now than it has been at any time in his Alabama career. He is comfortable with the offense, and confident in his talent.
From a football perspective, Fluker couldn't be more happy or excited. The challenge, Fluker said, is to focus only on football when it's time to practice.
"Our coach always tells us, you have to lock in and lock out (mentally)," Fluker said. "And be disciplined. Sometimes, you're going through adversity and you have to learn how to fight through it. That's one of those things that's brought me into being a better player. ... I have this burning rage I have in my body to succeed."
Fluker and his family were victims of Hurricane Katrina when he was a youngster, and took up residence in Mobile after the storm. Fluker said the adversity that went along with that helped him mature early as a young adult. He credited both family members and teammates make up a strong group of supporters when necessary.
"My mom, she tells me a lot, some of my step parents, they help me, and my teammates. Like Chance Warmack, Anthony Steen, Barrett Jones. They help me get through hard times."
Spin move still to come
Running back Eddie Lacy's recovery from toe surgery went very well over the summer, but the Crimson Tide junior still hasn't fully tested his physical limits. UA coach Nick Saban noted that he hasn't done much cutting yet. Then there is Lacy's favorite, the spin move, which hasn't made a return yet, either.
"I'm a little too nervous to do it right now, you're talking about my third day back practicing," Lacy said with a laugh. "But hopefully I'll get around to it sooner rather than later. That's going to be what I do last. It will be my last test."
Lacy picked up the spin move in high school and has used it frequently as a two-year backup at Alabama.
Lacy was in a black (non-contact) jerseys for the Fan Day practice. Although with both Lacy and Saban indicating his recovery from toe surgery has gone very well, the move was likely just precautionary. Lacy participated in team drills... Others in non-contact jerseys included freshman Dalvin Tomlison and offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio. ... Players practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. The first practice with full pads will be Tuesday.
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Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.