TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With finals complete, the University of Alabama football team opened practice for the Sugar Bowl on Friday afternoon.
A number of players coming off injuries were back in their usual spots during the observation periods inside the Hank Crisp Facility. Among them were the three linebackers who played part-time roles against Auburn — Christian Miller (biceps), Terrell Lewis (elbow) and Mack Wilson (foot).
Junior guard Ross Pierschbacher (ankle) was working with the first-team offensive line. Junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick practiced with a hamstring support on his leg.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who is doing double duty through the College Football Playoff after accepting the head coaching job at Tennessee, was not at practice. It might have been due to Alabama having numerous recruits on hand, and the early signing period next week. The dead period begins Monday.
Among those riding exercise bikes on the sideline were freshman defensive end LaBryan Ray (foot), sophomore tight Miller Forristall (knee) and sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy (ankle).
Ray has missed two games. Coach Nick Saban has said Ray is expected to be day-to-day through Christmas.
There was no sign of senior safety Hootie Jones (knee). Shaun Dion Hamilton was helping out with the linebacker drills while wearing a brace.
Alabama is slated to have 19 past and present players graduate this weekend, including linebacker Rashaan Evans and punter JK Scott. Other starters include Robert Foster, Jones, Miller, Andy Pappanastos and Cam Sims. Pappanastos and linebacker Keith Holcombe are earning master’s degrees.
Former players who have completed their degrees are Glen Coffee, Tarrant Lynch and Rolando McClain.
Alabama will have 25 graduates on its Sugar Bowl roster.