Alabama always begins fall camp with two practice sessions on the first day. The Opening work includes returning players – but not all of them. The evening practice is for ther newcomers – and enough returning players to fill out the practice roster.
In 2010, C.J. Mosley was a true freshman, so naturally he was with the newcomers. But last year, after having played in 13 games and finishing third on the team in tackles in his freshman season, Mosley might have expected to eat at the big table, so to speak.
Alas, Mosley – who plays the same weakside linebacker position as Nico Johnson – found himself with the newcomers again on the opening day of 2011 practice.
This year the 6-2, 232-pound junior from Theodore was with the morning practice group when Bama opened fall camp Friday.
“I was happy about that,” Mosley said.
Mosley understands the theory of the first day separation of Crimson Tide players. “It’s good for the freshmen and guys just getting here so they can see how practice goes and slow the tempo. And when we get together the next day it won’t be so sloppy because they’ll know what to do.”
Mosley also remembers his first Alabama practice in August 2010. Surprisingly, he had to learn to slow down.
“I wanted to be out there and be fast, but you have to learn the right things to do, how to keep your body right when you’re in camp,” he said.
Mosley has learned pretty well. As a true freshman he was in on 67 tackles. Last year, playing primarily on passing down situations (including starting six games) he was in on fewer tackles (37). For his career he has been in on 104 tackles including three sacks and six tackles for loss, two quarterback pressures, 12 passes broken up, and three interceptions, which he has returned for 77 yards. Although two of those interceptions went for touchdowns (35 yards against Florida and 41 yards against Georgia State), both in 2010, it is his one 2011 pass interception, returned for only one yard, that is most memorable.
In last season’s BCS National Championship Game, Mosley had an interception in the Tide’s 21-0 win over LSU. At the end of his runback, he was tackled by LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and suffered a dislocated hip. He left the game on a stretcher, but was back participating in spring drills.
Following Friday’s first practice of fall camp, Mosley said, “I’m feeling good. I’m moving around well. Lateral movement, speed, so pretty much back to normal.”
Alabama returned to the practice field Saturday, all players working together. Sunday Bama will have a Fan Day practice beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The team doesn’t get into full gear until Tuesday, following the fourth practice.
After Friday’s work, Mosley said, “As far as the defense is concerned it went pretty well. High tempo. Not a lot of mental errors for the first day. Just have to keep getting better. Everyone needs to keep getting better.”
He said the priorities for the defense in fall camp are “Same thing it has been every other pre-season. Stop the run, pass the pass well, get off the field on third down.
“The tough part is learning the defense. After you get down you just have to stay consistent and do your job. If you’re not in [the playbook] right now, it’s going to be a long, rough camp for you.”
Although Mosley has the knowledge of the defense to play another position, it appears he and senior Nico Johnson will continue to split time at the Will inside linebacker position.
“It’s working right now,” Mosley said. “I’m not complaining about it. Like coach says, everyone has to know his role and play it.
“We’re just starting, so everyone is kind of fighting to get up there. We’ll just have to find out. Everyone is fighting for a role. There’s no depth chart in camp, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.”