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August 3, 2012

Lacy back in saddle

TUSCALOOSA | It's been around 10 months since Eddie Lacy felt like himself on the University of Alabama practice field, which made Friday's opening of UA fall football camp one of anticipation for the junior running back.

UA coach Nick Saban said the junior from Louisiana looked fine during the morning practice Friday, which collected about 50 veterans on the team before an evening practice that included mostly freshmen. Lacy missed spring drills while recovering from surgery to repair a turf toe injury.

"He did everything today. He doesn't have any issues or problems," Saban said. "He went through this summer and worked through the rehab and worked his way up to what everybody else was doing in the summer conditioning program."

Lacy averaged 7.1 yards per carry for the Crimson Tide last season in a support role behind starter Trent Richardson, but was limited both in practice and in games after injuring his toe in the Arkansas game. He finished the year with 674 yards, and added 131 receiving yards on 11 receptions. But his carries were limited for the season's last nine games, with double-digit attempts in only one regular season game (Mississippi State) after the injury. With Richardson off to the NFL's Cleveland Browns as a first-round draft pick, 2012 represents Lacy's first opportunity to be Alabama's lead running back.

UA quarterback AJ McCarron said he noticed no issues with Lacy during the morning workout.

"He looks good. Fast first step. (On) Outside zones, he got to running pretty well, pretty fast, and definitely pushed me to a good limit to get the ball outside to him," McCarron said. "He looked light on his feet. I think he's ready to go."

Lacy is by far Alabama's most experienced returner at the position. His 151 career carries is more than double that of backup Jalston Fowler (70), while reserve running back Dee Hart redshirted last year and has yet to see game action.

"He hasn't done a lot of cutting. That will be sort of the next test, (but) he took every rep that he was supposed to take in practice today and didn't seem to have an issue," Saban added.

Alabama players practiced in helmets and shorts Friday. Lacy's first opportunity to practice full speed in pads will come Wednesday.

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