Crimson Tide open spring football practice

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team took the practice field on Friday for the first time since capturing the school's 13th national championship in early January for a two-hour workout at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.

The Crimson Tide practiced in shorts and helmets as they welcomed seven true freshmen, Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, John Fulton, Chad Lindsay, DeMarcus Milliner, Austin Shepherd and Phillip Sims, along with junior-college defensive lineman Brandon Lewis, who all enrolled in January.

"I thought the conditioning of the team was good, the spirit was good, the attitude was good and a lot of guys worked hard," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Friday's practice. "I was really pleased with the starting point we have as a team. Obviously, the most important thing is not where we were today, but how much we improve each and every day we have an opportunity to practice."

Alabama also welcomed a familiar face in a new role on the coaching staff. Jeremy Pruitt, who has spent the past three seasons as the Tide's Director of Player Development, replaced the departed James Willis as an assistant coach. Pruitt will coach the secondary.

UA returns 10 starters for 2010, including Dont'a Hightower who started 12 games in 2008 and four in 2009 before suffering a knee injury. The Tide returns eight starters on offense, including Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, quarterback Greg McElroy and wide receiver Julio Jones.

Friday's practice was the first of 15 scheduled for the fall of 2010, which will wrap up with the annual A-Day Game on Saturday, April 17, at 2 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium. This year's A-Day Game will again be televised nationally by ESPN.