Crimson Tide shifts from Fan Day to full pads

Crimson Tide shifts from Fan Day to full pads
The Crimson Tide held a two-hour open-practice in conjunction with Fan Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Sunday. (Amelia B. Barton / UA Athletics)

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team went from full access with 2,600 fans on Sunday to donning full pads for practice on Monday.

The defending national champions start that title defense at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 in a game against the University of Southern California inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

On Sunday, the team and coaching staff signed autographs for fans and held a two-hour open practice inside Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

The practices are a reflection of what will be needed to repeat as champions, tight end O.J. Howard said at Fan Day.

“You know Coach (Nick Saban) tells us every day to come out and be better each day, and play each rep hard,” Howard said. “I think that everyone has noticed that, and everybody has picked up the intensity a little bit.”

The expectations are high for the whole team, but the defense is already being praised by analysts as potentially one of the best ever at the Capstone.

“We have high expectations,” defensive back Eddie Jackson said.” Last year was a pretty good year. We just want to improve every year. We just want to compete. We listen to our coaches. We have a great receiving corps that challenge us every day, and we challenge them every day, too.”

For the Monday afternoon practice, the Tide practiced in full pads for the first time since spring with a two-hour practice. A thunderstorm sent the team from the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields into the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.

The team will hold its first scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 13.

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