TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama football team took the practice field as an entire team for the first time on Friday as the Crimson Tide's 105-man roster worked in shorts and helmets for two hours at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.
The Crimson Tide practiced in temperatures that hovered in the upper 90s as the newcomers joined the veterans after a split practice session on Thursday.
"Today was the first combined practice with the whole team," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "I think yesterday was a really good opportunity to teach, especially last night, to be able to teach the young players."
Alabama returns eight starters on the offensive side of the football, including Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, undefeated quarterback Greg McElroy and wide receiver Julio Jones. The defense however is looking to replace nine starters with a talented but mostly inexperienced pool of players.
"The mental toughness was better today than it was yesterday," Saban said. "We have to continue to improve on that, so we can continue to improve as a team because a player is going to get better, or he is going to get worse – he is not going to stay the same.
The Crimson Tide will return to the practice field on Saturday for a two-hour session, their third practice of training camp.
Alabama will then host media day on Sunday, which is closed to the public, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Naylor Stone Media Room. Coach Saban will open the press conference and be followed by offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Players will then be available in the north end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
The Alabama football team's annual Fan Day will then get underway at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with an open practice inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Players and coaches will be available for autographs immediately following the practice on the field for 45 minutes.
Ingram, who left practice early on Friday to return home to Flint, Michigan, for his grandfather's funeral, will miss practice Saturday and Sunday and will not be able to participate in the autograph session following Fan Day's open practice.
Fans may enter the stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the northwest spiral (gate 5) and occupy the lower bowl (sections A-N). The open practice, which is slated to start at 2:30 p.m., is scheduled to last approximately two hours.
At the conclusion of practice, those wishing to participate in Fan Day will enter the field through gate 46 and exit via gate 5. Fans that do not wish to view practice and would like to start lining up early can do so beginning at 1:30 p.m. Those fans can enter through gate 46.
Following practice, the Crimson Tide football team, coaching staff and head coach Nick Saban will be available for autographs on the field. The gate to the field will be open once the autograph session has been set up. Due to meeting commitments for the team and the coaching staff, the session is limited to 45 minutes. In an effort to facilitate as many autographs in the time allowed, fans will be limited to one item per person for autographs, and no posed photographs will be permitted.