Crimson Tide start spring practices

Published: Mar. 10, 2012 at 3:37 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2012 at 2:37 AM EDT
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Tuscaloosa – The University of Alabama football team began spring practice on Friday afternoon with a two-hour workout in shorts and helmets at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.

The Crimson Tide will now take a week off for spring break before resuming with their second of 15 spring practices on Monday, March 19.

"It was a relief to get back on the practice field because the last three or four week we have been doing straight running and conditioning," Alabama senior linebacker Nico Johnson said. "It was great to get back on the field, be around the coaches and just get back to football."

The Crimson Tide welcomed eight mid-year signees to the practice field as Ryan Anderson, Deion Belue, Chris Black, Amari Cooper, Travell Dixon, Dillon Lee, Alphonse Taylor and T.J. Yeldon strapped on the crimson helmet for the first time.

Alabama also welcomed two new coaches to the staff with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson getting their first on-field look at the 2012 Crimson Tide squad.

"I was pleased with the new coaches and how they fit in," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said on Friday. "There really wasn't an issue or a problem and things went really well for the first time around."

The Tide returns four starters on the defensive side of the football with defensive linemen Damion Square and Jesse Williams along with linebacker Nico Johnson and safety Robert Lester. The Alabama defense will also be bolstered by 2010 starting cornerback Dee Milliner and linebacker C.J. Mosley, who has started nine games in nickel situations over the past two years.

The UA offense returns four starters along the offensive line, including Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones, who worked a center on Friday, guard Chance Warmack, tackle D.J. Fluker and guard Anthony Steen. AJ McCarrron returns for his second year as the starting quarterback with tight end Michael Williams returning for his third year as the starter at tight end.

Alabama's 2012 A-Day Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, at 2 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.