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August 5, 2010[Note: The notebook will be updated following Thursday night's practice featuring new players].
TUSCALOOSA _ If the first official practice of his senior year and the heat weren't challenging enough, University of Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had a little extra weight to bear Thursday morning at the Drew-Thomas Practice Facility.
As part of ESPN's all-access special that will air Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU, and Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. on ESPN, both he and offensive coordinator Jim McElwain sported small cameras, with the quarterbacks' mounted to his helmet.
"That was so heavy," McElroy said. "I could legitimately tell the difference. It was literally pulling my helmet down the first couple of periods, I kept adjusting it.
"It's a pretty cool experience. I can say I've experienced media at its finest. It's pretty wild. You all should get one."
McElroy wore the camera for roughly a half-hour during the first of split practices in helmets and shorts, with the majority of newcomers set to take the field at 7:30 p.m. The temperature at the start of the morning session was 86 degrees with a heat index of 94.
No players wore black jerseys signaling no contact.
Junior center William Vlachos was back at center after missing spring practices following foot surgery and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick showed no signs of having offseason shoulder surgery.
"I've been cleared to do everything workout-wise since we reported in June," Vlachos said. "It felt great today and I don't see any problems from here on forward. I practiced without pain, it feels good and I'm excited about it."
An x-ray taken of the ball of his foot behind the big toe was negative following the Kentucky game, but the injury went from tendinitis to the bone breaking into three pieces after Ole Miss.
"In practice, especially pushing on a 400-pound man in front of me, it was painful," he said.
Vlachos was on crutches for six weeks and then wore a boot for six more. However, he doesn't miss going up against Terrence Cody any more during practice.
"Um, not really," Vlachos admitted.
The Tide had nine offensive linemen suit up for the morning session, with a slightly-slimmer D.J. Fluker continuing to work at right tackle with the first unit. When they lined up five wide, Chance Warmack worked at left guard with both the first and second units and John Michael Boswell was the right guard. David Ross was the second-unit center. Backing up the tackles were Alfred McCullough on the left side and Tyler Love.
Nine more offensive lineman are slated to practice Thursday night.
Menzie works with veterans
Although morning workout was almost exclusively for veteran players a major exception was DeQuan Menzie.
The junior-college transfer who sustained an offseason Achilles injury worked at cornerback. He joined teammates in 7-on-7 workouts two weeks ago and coaches are hopeful he may be full strength by the season opener.
"As far as what he's done, he's (been impressive)," safety Mark Barron said. "But hasn't really done much."
Cornerback was of a couple of spots where there appeared to be an extra player, as the low number of players meant twice as many reps. In comparison there were just four safeties at the morning practice. With safety Rod Woodson transferring and Robby Green suspended for the season, Will Lowery and Wesley Neighbors worked behind Barron and Robert Lester.
Meanwhile, Ed Stinson and Alex Watkins were at reserve Jack linebacker, with Nick Gentry joining Undra Billingsley, Kerry Murphy and Damion Square on the second-unit defensive line.
Working at wide receiver behind Julio Jones, Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks were Brandon Gibson, Earl Alexander, Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood.
As expected, junior defensive end Marcell Dareus practiced in his usual spot while waiting for a decision from the NCAA regarding his eligibility.
Taylor Pharr, the former offensive lineman who switched to a medical scholarship due to concussions, is serving as a student assistant.
Alabama will hold its first full-squad practice at 2:30 p.m. Friday. All practices are closed to the public except for Sunday's Fan Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium.