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August 15, 2011

Notebook: Off day helps Tide

TUSCALOOSA | For the University of Alabama football team, Sunday truly was a day of rest.

The Crimson Tide enjoyed its first day off Sunday since fall camp opened on August 5, and the break was a welcome one.

"It helped me a lot. I got to rest my legs and get my feet back under me," said wide receiver Marquise Maze. "I think it helped other guys, too. I noticed guys were still at the same pace from Saturday."

The practice schedule resumes its daily grind this week with seven practices over a five-day stretch - including two practices Monday and Wednesday - before UA holds its second scrimmage this Saturday. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower said that even though the players had the day off, many of them still made their way to the athletic building on their own.

"Guys were still up here getting treatment, banged up, ice, cold tubs, hot tubs," Hightower said. "It felt good, but a lot of us were still up here watching film. It felt good just to sit back relax and not have to be out in the heat for one day."

The Crimson Tide opens the season Sept. 3 at home against Kent State. Hightower said he has seen progress throughout camp, and thanks in part to a day off, Monday's morning practice was no exception.

"Usually, the first practice after a scrimmage, sometimes it goes downhill for the first part of practice," Hightower said. "There was definitely not a show of that (Monday) - everybody was out and ready to go."

Offensive lineman Barrett Jones said he spent his off-day with family.

"They came in town. My dad (Rex), actually, was in Haiti this past week doing some more work down there," Jones said. "My mom came down for the scrimmage. We had dinner and hung out."

Following Saturday's scrimmage, the team will back back-to-back days off Sunday and Monday. Next week, camp will break and two-a-days will cease as fall classes begin at the Capstone.

Maze strong in scrimmage
Maze caught five passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage, the Crimson Tide's first scrimmage since fall camp began, but the senior credited teammates for his performance.

"It's big for me. I got the stats, but it was also big for the offense," Maze said. "I had to have those guys, the offensive linemen and the running backs in protection, other receivers getting on their guys, and the quarterbacks making the right reads."

Maze said two of his three scrimmage touchdowns occurred in the red-zone, while the other was thrown from about midfield.

Hightower hopes to shed cast soon
Hightower has been wearing a removable cast this week to protect a hand that underwent minor surgery to repair a fracture, but believes the cast will be gone in time for the Crimson Tide's Sept. 3 opener against Kent State.

"It's still a little swollen. Hopefully in a couple of days, the swelling will go down a little," Hightower said. "They wrapped me up and put me in a club, so I'm still out there practicing. (Surgery) will heal a little quicker than if I put it in a regular cast. I didn't want to go into the season wearing a club or a cast, so doing the surgery was the easiest way of going about it."

Hightower said he injured the hand on the first day of practice, but thought it was only a bruise at the time. Subsequent X-Rays revealed a crack.

Barron named to two preseason All-America teams
UA safety Mark Barron was named to both the Playboy All-America and Espn.com Preseason All-America teams, released Monday. Barron enters his senior season as a third-year starter with 10 career interceptions. Jones was also named an offensive guard on the Espn.com Preseason All-America team Monday, while running back Trent Richardson was picked for the Playboy team. ... Other Southeastern Conference players chosen included South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery, Georgia tight end Orson Charles, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor. Playboy's other SEC choices included Jeffery, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore, and Georgia punter Drew Butler.

Quotable
"There was one play (in practice) last year where we ran a tunnel screen and he just kind of shook all 11 defensive players out there. A lot of people don't know about DeAndrew, but, he's out there in the lineup. I don't know if he's starting or not, but he's definitely going to be able to get the ball and help us out this year." - Linebacker Dont'a Hightower on redshirt freshman wide receiver DeAndrew White.

Tidebits
Cornerback Dee Milliner practiced Monday after being removed from Saturday's scrimmage with a chin laceration. ... Redshirt freshman Blake Sims worked with running backs during individual drills Monday morning. Saban has said Sims can help UA at both running back and quarterback, and he has practiced at both spots during camp. ... Freshman offensive lineman Ryan Kelly returned to practice Monday after missing a week with a concussion. ... Junior college transfer wide receiver Duron Carter did not join camp for Monday's morning practice. Carter is awaiting academic clearance.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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