Hope you’re well and gearing up for next week’s visit to Tuscaloosa. A few notes from being at practice Thursday morning.
1. It has been and will be relatively light through Thursday. Coaches are giving a lot of work to backups to help starters get their legs back. They’re doing a lot of fundamentals work, giving extra time to guys that don’t normally get it. Bill Curry compared it to what happens in bowl preparation. Further, some of the coaches are out on the road recruiting.
Coaches began game planning Tuesday and it’ll continue. The first day of the normal game-week preparation will be Sunday. Curry said something interesting about that that I think will make its way into a story I’m working on.
“When you plan against people like this, you’re real happy for extra time,” he said. “You can watch them for two hours and there’s no obvious weakness. It doesn’t just jump out, O.K., we can run at this guy because we can knock him down. You can’t find one like that.”
2. Some news on the injury front. Linebacker Olufemi Opanubi was out at practice, running under supervision. He saw me and said he planned to play against Alabama. You’ll remember last week Curry said he was done for the year. Curry said it would be “a record” for recovery from surgery. Opanubi had his partially torn meniscus repaired Nov. 1.
Bo Schlechter was also at practice after missing the past two games with a right knee injury. Curry said it was an odd thing – an MRI showed that he had a stress fracture in his knee but then he took another one and the fracture was gone and it was merely a bad bruise. Curry said he “kicked the stuffings out of the ball” without pain Thursday.
I’d say it’s very unlikely he’ll go at wide receiver, but pretty likely he’ll be able to punt. Just don’t expect him to run down Marquis Maze, Alabama’s punt returner.
3. I talked to Star Jackson after practice. He is naturally looking forward to playing and hoping to get on the field.
Some quotes: “It’s been a rough [season]. It’s been pretty tough to just sit here and watch.”
“It’s pretty hard for a guy, any player, just to sit and watch. But it is what it is.”
4. If you’re on the fence about going to the game, you might be interested to know tickets aren’t too expensive. They can be had for $25 on stubhub.
5. I happened to follow Curry out of the parking lot after practice and onto the Connector. You’ll be pleased and probably not surprised to know that he drives the speed limit.
6. Lastly, I was just curious – will any of you make it to all 11 games? Please e-mail me (ksugiura at ajc.com) and let me know. I was thinking it’d make for a good tidbit in a story at some point next week.