MIAMI SHORES, Fla.—About halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami lies Barry University, where Alabama will be having all of its BCS practices this week as it prepares for Monday's national championship against Notre Dame.
Thursday, both the Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish had their first practices in South Florida. Bama's was at Buccaneer Field, a soccer complex, as Barry doesn't have a football field.
The weather was perfection. Blue skies and high 70s/low 80s. The media was granted 15 minutes to watch, so here are some observations:
--Center Barrett Jones (sprained foot) was dressed in full gear and practicing. Towards the end of the viewing period, Jones went over to the sideline to work with a trainer. Probably standard cautionary treatment that's part of the healing process. The offensive linemen were practicing at the furthest point of the complex, so it was hard to gauge whether Jones was limping or favoring his injury. But he was in a normal jersey, so that's a good sign.
Not to mention at this morning's interview session, Jones said, "I feel great, I feel great."
Another noteworthy bit about Jones' injury is during this morning's interviews, quarterback A.J. McCarron said he had no idea Jones was hurting throughout the SEC Championship game.
"I did not know that he was even hurt during the Georgia game, so that should let you know how he played," McCarron said. "I'm not concerned at all about him playing this weekend."
--Linebacker Denzel Devall (knee) wore a normal jersey and practiced during the viewing session. He's showing signs of improvement.
--Nose guard Jesse Williams (knee) wore a knee brace, but didn't show signs of weakness while working through drills.
--Wide receiver Kenny Bell, who broke his leg five-and-a-half weeks ago against Auburn, looked good. Though still not cleared for contact, Bell participated in every drill and made some nice catches. After one in particular, McCarron yelled, "Look at No. 7! Put him in the game, coach!" The two are close friends and had a fun Twitter squabble last night when Bell stole the quarterback's phone.
"Me and him are always great friends and we've always been ever since we came in together," McCarron said when asked about the phone hijacking. "But yeah, he likes to play jokes on me. We got back and forth. He got me last night."
--Safety Jarrick Williams (knee) is still wearing a black non-contact jersey. As expected, we probably won't see him play against Notre Dame.
Below is a video of the sights and sounds of today's practice.
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