It's Iron Bowl week in Alabama. As center Barrett Jones said Saturday after the Crimson Tide beat Western Carolina 49-0, all their "hopes and dreams" hinge on a win over Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) this weekend.
Alabama (10-1, 6-1) is an early 34-point favorite over the Tigers and a victory earns the Tide a trip to Atlanta the following weekend to face Georgia in the conference championship game. A win there likely means Alabama will head to Miami for a chance to win its third national title in four years.
Monday afternoon as the sun began to set in Tuscaloosa—around 4:30 p.m. these days—the Tide began preparing for their regular season finale.
The media was granted one period to watch practice. Here are some observations:
--In the last three games, Alabama has fumbled four times (and has only forced one turnover of its own), so this week, the coaches are preaching the importance of ball security. This was evident as strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran walked around the practice field trying to knock balls out of players' unsuspecting hands. You can see him poaching the running backs in the video below. The players got into it, too, trying to punch balls loose.
--John Fulton (turf toe), who was limited in practice last week and did not play against Western Carolina, was out of his black no-contact jersey and participating with the defensive backs. Head coach Nick Saban said at his press conference Monday morning that Fulton would be able to practice "some" today.
--T.J. Yeldon, who sprained his foot Saturday, was not wearing a no-contact jersey, but as seen in the video below, he was not participating with his fellow running backs during the media viewing period.
--Chris Black (shoulder) continued to be active in practice while wearing a black no-contact jersey.
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