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August 11, 2010

Notebook: Warmack poised to follow in All-American's path

TUSCALOOSA _ The question caused him to laugh, but also brought a smile to the face of University of Alabama sophomore left guard Chance Warmack for another reason.

Do you do much pulling?

The term pulling for an offensive lineman means to pull back or around a teammate to apply a block somewhere else, usually in front of the ball carrier. For example, on an end run you might see a guard come around the tackle and try to apply a sealing block to keep defenders contained to the inside.

Some guards don't have the footwork to do it well, and certain NFL teams especially covet guards who can pull for their offense (West Coast, etc.).

"Lot of pulling plays, but that's what I like. It works out a lot," Warmack said. "Besides trying to explode on a player, I like contact. What I'm learning now is you have to get real low to explode on a defender. In high school I was very high."

It doesn't take much imagination to think of what he could potentially do to an unsuspecting linebacker or poorly positioned defensive back should Warmack square up on them. All-American Mike Johnson was known for being a good pulling guard, and it's in his footsteps that the second-year player who saw action in five games last season is trying to follow.

"Mike Johnson always knew what to do, when to do it and how to do it," Warmack said. "I've always looked to him as someone to learn from. When he was here I asked him questions and after he left I looked at him on film. He was just an amazing help.

"I still have a lot to learn and I know that. I'm trying to keep working and get better every day."

Although Alabama has two new stating offensive linemen they're on opposite sides, which is important because the established veterans can better help them when necessary. Warmack has James Carpenter on his left and center William Vlachos on his right, whom along with right guard Barrett Jones were in the same situation this time last year.

"They're like my brothers," Warmack said.

"He's done a great job," Vlachos said. "He and D.J. (Fluker) have worked as hard as any guys I've been around since I've been here. He's physical specimen. He's 310, 320 pounds and he has abs. If I was 220 pounds I don't think I'd have abs."

Warmack said he's at 315, but doesn't want to be more than 320 pounds for the season, so his movement isn't hindered.

On paper it appears that Alabama could do some more power blocking this season, but that still has to play out over the next couple of weeks. Nevertheless, so far the group appears to be off to a good start.

"Last year we had more shifty guys, smaller guys who got in the right position, the right spot kind of deal," Vlachos said. "I don't know, we have three guys back and that certainly helps from an experience standpoint. We're halfway through camp so we're still trying to form an identity up front and see what works for us to hang our hat on this year."

They went where?

In a surprise move the Crimson Tide practiced inside for the first time during fall camp, even though there was no inclement weather outside Wednesday.

"That was big," Vlachos said. "Kind of an unexpected bone today Coach (Nick) Saban threw us. That hasn't happened often, or ever, if I can remember. It was a scorcher today."

While players were going through drills inside the Hank Crisp facility it was 100 degrees out with a heat index of 104.

The team was coming off its first full-squad two-a-day sessions, and will have another Thursday with workouts scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. All practices are closed to the public.

Injury report

Safety Kendall Kelly remained out due to a heat-related issue.

Running back Mark Ingram has completed his five-day acclamation process and was in full pads with the rest of his teammates.

Cornerback DeQuan Menzie, who is coming off an Achilles injury, and wide receiver Julio Jones did extra stretching before working on the FieldTurf.

Tight end Preston Dial did not appear to be at practice when reporters were allowed to observe.

Omitted for the first time

For the first time this summer an awards watch list was announced that didn't include a single Crimson Tide player. All seven players on the Ray Guy list for punter of the year were at least semifinalists for the award in 2009, including last year's winner Drew Butler of Georgia and Florida's Chas Henry.

However, junior Marcell Dareus was one of 36 players named to the Ted Hedricks watch list for defensive end of the year. Other SEC players were Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett, South Carolina's Cliff Matthews, Mississippi State's Pernell McPhee and Tennessee's Chris Walker.

Alabama has never won either award.

Here's the rundown of player watch lists:

Bednarik Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Julio Jones named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 15
Butkus Award (linebacker): Watch list announced Aug. 16 (Rolando McClain reigning winner).
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
William Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): Semifinalists announced Sept. 30.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Watch list announced Aug. 20.
Ray Guy Award (punter): No one named to watch list.
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 6 (Mark Ingram reigning winner).
Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Marcell Dareus was named to the watch list. Midseason list to be announced in November.
Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): Watch list announced Aug. 20.
Lott Trophy (defensive impact player): Mark Barron on watch list. Quarterfinalists expected to be announced in October.
John Mackey Award (tight end): Watch list announced Aug. 16.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Greg McElroy named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 18.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 25.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): James Carpenter and Barrett Jones on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 21.
Rimington Trophy (center): Watch list announced Aug. 27.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Mark Barron named to watch list. Semifinalists announced November.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists expected to be announced in November.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Watch list announced Aug. 23.

Tide-bits

According to the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, which includes a feature on Ingram, Alabama's trip to the White House cost $79,314 for the charter jet, $1,671.30 for ground security, $3,329.95 for lunch from Chick-fil-A and $3,512 for catered breakfast. If they shot a commercial, they could add "Seeing the President hold up the No. 1 jersey … (fill in the blank)."

Speaking of magazines, Tide fans were surprised to notice on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated that due to a glitch Mark Barron appears to have four hands.

Freshman Blake Sims worked at running back again Wednesday.

While Alabama and Florida have closed their doors to NFL scouts for the time being the players haven't noticed that they were missing. "Nobody's been talking about it," Vlachos said. "I really don't know a whole lot about it. That's coaches' call, he has a reason for every decision he makes." Saban is expected to address the media between Thursday's practices.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper selected the most draft-ready player from each team and for Alabama selected Dareus just over Ingram and Julio Jones, but wrote that all three had first-round potential.


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