TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama football team took to the practice field Friday to open 2011 fall camp with a preseason No.2 national ranking and high expectations in tow. Here were some observations from the opening practice:
*** Wide receiver Duron Carter is not yet academically eligible and can't practice for the time being. The news on Carter highlighted Nick Saban's press conference. Click here for that and more from Saban's opening press conference.
*** Barrett Jones opened fall camp at the left tackle spot, not unexpected given his performance on A-Day. Saban said at SEC Media Days that Jones would be given a look at multiple positions in the preseason.
*** Linebacker Alex Watkins, who missed the latter part of spring practice with a knee injury, was in a crimson jersey, signifying clearance for contact. Watkins, a senior, was wearing a brace on his left knee.
*** Running back Eddie Lacy and defensive back DeQuan Menzie, rumored to be injured in the days leading up to camp, are apparently fine. Neither was in a black (non-contact) jersey, and for that matter, nobody at the early practice was in black. If any players are unavailable for contact to open camp, the evening practice should provide the answers.
*** Whatever UA plans to do about its depth concerns at running back may not be clear until the evening practice. Only four running backs participated in the early practice - Trent Richardson, Lacy, Jalston Fowler and a walk-on.
*** Quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims were the only passers involved in the early practice.
*** Only about half of the Crimson Tide's 105-man camp roster participated in the early practice, made up almost entirely of veterans who see regular playing time. A freshman practice will be held at 7:30 p.m. and will also include many of the returning players who lack experience.
*** Stay with Tidesports.com throughout the day for complete coverage of camp, including video, a photo gallery, a video practice report, a feature story, a notebook and more.