Alabama opens spring practice

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Think of Friday like summer orientation, a get-to-know-you meeting before the real fun begins. Spring practice starts this afternoon on the Tuscaloosa campus, signaling the beginning of the Crimson Tide's title defense. Alabama will practice today, take a week off for spring break, then get into the real meat of rebuilding a roster that produced five likely first-round NFL draft picks.

But as we learned on Monday, more than the usual departing seniors will be missing in action when the first whistle blows. Nick Saban announced Eddie Lacy and Arie Kounadjio will miss the entirety of spring practice recovering from offseason surgeries. Wide receiver Duron Carter remains suspended and Michael Bowman and Ronald Carswell are no longer listed on the Alabama roster posted on the team's offical web site. Seniors Undra Billingsley and Tyler Love will not return for their final year of eligibility.

In the case of Lacy, be careful not to miss the silver lining in his absence. By now the coaching staff knows what it is getting from him. Barring any medical setback this fall, Lacy will play and likely start when opening day arrives. That leaves the spring for three talented backs to prove their worth.