TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The first question was simple when C.J. Mosley sauntered into the media room after practice on Wednesday: How do you feel?
If you watched the horrific injury the junior linebacker sustained in the BCS National Championship game in January, you'd know why the question was asked.
"I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent, but it's getting there everyday," Mosley said, looking every bit the speedy linebacker he was last season. "Rehab is going pretty well. I did a little bit of rehab over spring break so I'm feeling good."
Mosley said the pain of the hip dislocation against LSU was "a 10 out of 10." Trainers popped the hip back into place on the field but Mosley was done for the day. Luckily, he was able to stay on the field and celebrate the Tide's 14th national championship.
"It was hurting but I couldn't miss that part," Mosley said. "I had been through that much."
For a linebacker corps dealing with the loss of two potential first-round picks in Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower, the news of Mosley's good health is a sigh of relief for Tide fans. With Mosley and Nico Johnson, UA has the nucleus to rebuild the front line of the defense.
"We have some players coming back and some new ones," Mosley said. "Before anything comes, we have to have that communication. The younger guys coming in now have been good so far, as far as learning the defense. But it's going to get complicated and it's going to get harder.
"Once the defense gets together and has the communication last year's defense had, we could be as good or greater."
Mosley said the front line, dealing with the loss of Josh Chapman and Nick Gentry, is coming together well. On a defense missing six of its starters from last year, plugging holes on the defensive line is only a microcosm of the defense as a whole.
"Just like the whole defense, we have to get our communication together so we can't get our defense ready for next season," Mosley said. "But it's just the spring so we have a long way to go."
Sizing up the OC
When a new offensive coordinator comes in, the easy place to focus is the quarterbacks. Then the running backs and wide receivers. Then you might think about how the tight ends are affected.
But there's another place that could feel the pain of adjusting to a new leader. The offensive linemen, the big uglies are often lost in the trenches.
Chance Warmack, a senior at guard, said he's been impressed with Doug Nussmeier in the few practices he's been a part of.
"He's really energetic," Warmack said. "I like him. He's always upbeat. There's never going to be a sluggish practice with him. I can already tell he's going to take us further than we were."
Warmack echoed the sentiments of his quarterback and head coach when asked about what has changed under Nussmeier, as opposed to the years with Jim McElwain. Like Nick Saban said, "It's the Alabama offense."
"Nothing really changes much," Warmack said. "We're going to have a lot of passing plays, a lot of running plays. Alabama is known for doing a lot of different things and we're going to stick to the same thing."
Back in pads
For the first two practices, the Crimson Tide had to hold back in gym shorts and T-shirts. On Wednesday, the pads came out and the real fun began.
"Like Coach (Nick Saban) says, 'It separates the men from the boys,'" Mosley said. "It's all about hitting and taking on the guards and finishing plays. You can't be in shorts all the time.
"Less talk more walk."
Said Warmack: "It's like putting on new shoes. You have some soreness but you get used to it."