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December 29, 2009TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama junior left tackle James Carpenter returned to practice Tuesday after being out for a day with the flu.
Senior cornerback Marquis Johnson also practiced as normal, despite having a fractured thumb and also being sick.
With Carpenter's return, sophomore Alfred McCullough was back with the second unit at left tackle, the rest of second line, from left to right, was Brian Motley, David Ross, Chance Warmack and John Michael Boswell.
Carpenter started all 13 games this season and was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press.
The team worked outside again in full pads.
Although Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was considered a three-start prospect in 2005, primarily because he played at Class 2A Tuscola, he was recruited by both Mack Brown and Nick Saban.
"We're lucky in this state in that most of kids in this state come to our camps when they're younger and you have them all the way through high school," Brown said last week. "Colt's dad Brad is a high school football coach in this state that we knew. So we watched him growing up and play for the state championship as a junior."
"The only question about him was he was coming from a small school and could he transition easily into a big program like the University of Texas. Obviously he's been able to do that."
Due to space limitations, Texas only signed 15 players in 2005, compared to Alabama's 32. McCoy was considered the 73rd best prospect in the state and the 15th pro-style quarterback in the nation.
In comparison, a year later Jevan Snead was a four-star prospect, No. 8 in the state the third-best dual-threat quarterback. When he couldn't beat out McCoy, Snead transferred to Old Miss.
"We evaluated him, we recruited him," Saban said about McCoy before leaving LSU for the Miami Dolphins. "He was a guy that we thought was a very good player. It certainly turns out that we were right in our evaluation because he's a fantastic player. Certainly the best quarterback we played against all year in terms of his ability to pass the ball, run the ball and be being able to convert a lot of big plays."
The Crimson Tide will practice again Wednesday and Thursday before flying to California on Friday. The media's last access to the team here will be Wednesday.
An obvious point of concern for Alabama is D.J. Monroe, who ranks second in nationally in kickoff returns with a 35.8-yard average. "We have covered kicks well when we have been disciplined in what we are supposed to do, reading the indicator the right way, dodging the blocks the right way and fitting it the right way," Saban said. "I think that's going to be important for us to do again because we faced some good returners."
Alabama is averaging 224.8 receiving yards when Marquis Maze has four receptions or more, and 181.1 when he doesn't. "We really liked his speed and explosiveness as a high school player and he is one of the guys as soon as we got here we immediately started to recruit," Saban said. "I think he had sort of been committed someplace else, so we felt fortunate to be able to get him to come on a visit. I think he has gotten better and better each year. He has certainly had a very good year this year and made a lot of big plays. He has explosive speed and the ability to run after the catch. His toughness that he plays with, he has turned out to be a real good special-teams player for us. We haven't had to use him in the return game, but I think that's something he might be able to do in the future. We are really pleased with his progress."
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