Oh, it's real, folks.
(Note: I'm currently watching the Hall of Fame Game on NBC because it's football, but it's worth noting that every time I give the NFL a run, I'm reminded of how lousy it is to watch. Forget about the fact that preseason football tends to be bland because most of the work goes to back-ups. Pro football is lifeless, contains an endless supply of commercial breaks and penalizes its players often for simply playing football. The sport barely resembles the one I've grown up watching.)
Anyway, the start of football practice means a spate of quality newspaper stories and blog posts are coming out (much better than the one you're reading now). Which means it's time for links. So here goes.
— To begin, a few interviews from Fan Day. First Gentry talks to second-year players.
Alabama's players meet the media on Fan Day
Also, Ell conducted some interviews of his own.
— The biggest off-the-field news: a possible date between Alabama and Michigan in 2012. This totally gives me reason to do this:
Still can't believe that one got away.
— Other big news from last week: our boys will open the season (predictably) as the consensus number on. To be clear: I don't foresee a scenario where this team repeats as champion, certainly not at 14-0 (too hard in this environment). So there's a definite sense of foreboding as we approach 2010: I know the bullet's coming, I just can't figure out from where. On the other hand, would you rather be in this scenario or go back to 2004? I thought so.
— If you want a look at the inside of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Mike Casagrande has you covered.
— Player features: Luther Davis is balancing football and fatherhood; Quintorris Jones anticipates more big plays in '10; and Alabama's defense should still be good, holes be damned. Also, this was a fun story from the pro ranks: Javy and Dex McCluster are battling for the returner role in Kansas City.
— Florida has one thing on its mind as it opens practice. Give you a hint:
— Speaking of Florida, the supposedly kinder, gentler Urban Meyer officially closed practice at Florida to, um, everybody, citing "Internet people" and "scumbags" as the reason. Barnhart wonders if it's Twitter's fault.
— Finally, here's Scarbinsky on gray-shirting. Blast away.