TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Week 2 of Alabama's fall camp represents the halfway point of preseason training for the Crimson Tide. Two-a-days ended on Wednesday, and classes start next week, so this is the last week of uninterrupted practice the team has.
There's one more week of camp before game-week preparations begin for West Virginia next Monday.
But first, let's recap the goings on of Week 2. Here's the stock report.
Dog days of camp
Alabama coach Nick Saban and his players talked about how this was the worst week of camp.
"This is always a tough week," Saban said on Tuesday. "First week, people are always excited to start football, first scrimmage and all that. Then you kind of have this week, which is really kind of hump week, have another scrimmage, get a couple of days off, then you start school, and then we're practicing once a day."
Saban stressed the importance of focus and motivation during that time, dropping phrases like, "Content people are not really the kind of people that we would like to have on our team or in our organization" and, "One year from now, you wish you started today. Seventeen days from now, you're going to wish you started today."
The Crimson Tide practiced twice on both Monday and Tuesday, taking the field at 9:30 a.m. for two-and-a-half hours and then returning at 7:30 p.m.
Guard Arie Kouandjio said that "there's a lot of sleeping involved in between the two practices. A lot of eating. And we have meetings. Making sure you are ready for the next practice."
There was a bit of a break to the monotony, though: Alabama had visitors from a Japanese football team in town on Wednesday.
Returning players get acclimated; a competing starter goes out
Alabama saw the return of a few guys out with injuries or suspensions. But the Crimson Tide lost a guy competing for a starting role, too.
Most notably, defensive linemen Brandon Ivory and Jarran Reed returned from their suspensions and, after an NCAA-mandated five-day acclimation period, are back working full speed in practice.
That doesn't mean, though, that the two A-Day starters will pick right back up where they left off.
"Well, you know, they're on the third team, so they've got to work their way up," Saban said. "I don't think it's real fair to the guys that have been out there for 14 days practicing on the first and second team.
"They've got to beat them out. They're not entitled to anything. They're working hard. They're doing a good job. They're getting plenty of work, so they certainly have to improve as football players. But from a behavioral standpoint, they have done a really good job, and I'm pleased with them."
Saban also gave an update on an offensive and defensive lineman returning to practice:
OL Leon Brown (foot) is on a pitch count. A'Shawn Robinson (knee) should be able to practice next week. Geno Smith (knee) still limited.— Marquavius Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) August 14, 2014
The biggest blow, though, came during last Saturday's scrimmage. Saban said that offensive lineman Dominick Jackson, the top JUCO player in the class of 2014, has an ankle sprain that "might keep him out for a couple of weeks."
Jackson was expected to compete for a spot on the offensive line right away, likely at right guard. That competition now likely comes down to either Leon Brown or Alphonse Taylor.
Saban still not interested in talking quarterbacks
Alabama will hold its second and final scrimmage of the fall on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium, but don't expect much to change in the way of the quarterback competition between Jacob Coker and Blake Sims.
Saban told reporters at Thursday's press conference, according to Andrew Gribble of AL.com:
Nothing (different). Nothing. I mean, I don't know. What do you want me to say? They're both going to take an equal number of snaps, just like they did last week. And if you keep asking questions about it, we probably won't give you their stats again.
Alabama didn't release quarterback stats after last week's rain-slogged scrimmage. Just like in 2011, don't expect Saban to release any stats this week, either.
Saban did, though, offer a little bit of insight into the quarterbacks in a more controlled environment in an interview during the opening minutes of the SEC Network's debut.
"We are really encouraged by both players," Saban told analyst Marcus Spears. "Blake has really played well and probably developed into a more consistent player at that position than maybe I thought he could at some point in time.
"Jake has also come in and—a really talented guy, he's a big guy, he's got a good arm. And as he sort of gets more familiar with the system and gets more confidence in what he's doing, he's starting to show that he's a talented guy that could make a great contribution to our team as well."
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