TUSCALOOSA — The few thousand fans that took in the two-hour Fan Day practice got a good look at a changing Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Since April's A-Day game, three rows of seating were added directly behind the south end zone in front of the existing structure.
The seating, similar to the plastic seats sitting on a metal structure in the other end zone, can be removed if necessary.
The new seats will give ticket holders access to a lounge located below the end zone seating.
Looming above the same end of the stadium were two large cranes that offered a reminder of the expansion project that won't be complete until the 2010 season.
By the time San Jose State comes to Tuscaloosa next fall, the stadium will seat more than 100,000 making it one of the largest in all of college football.
• Damage control: Sophomore wide receiver Julio Jones revealed Friday that he played most of the 2008 season with a sports hernia originally suffered in the fifth game of the season against Georgia.
Nick Saban said Sunday that the Alabama medical staff was "proactive" in keeping the injury from getting worse.
"I don't think he did anything to overstate it," Saban said. "He was tough, overcame a lot, has tremendous mental toughness and is a great competitor and plays with a lot of physical toughness — but he practiced all the time."
• Kicking and screaming: Saban delivered easily the quote of the day when asked about having just two punters and two place kickers on the roster.
"I love them, don't get me wrong," the coach said with a smile. "We're trying to train an army and those guys are strictly assassins. They have to do one thing, one time and make it work. They don't need the training."
Starting place kicker Leigh Tiffin doubles as the backup punter behind P.J. Fitzgerald and Saban said there was a freshman competing for the second-string kicking job. The 105-man roster lists Jeremy Shelley as the only freshman place kicker.
• Picking up the pieces: Just days after the murder of his 22-year-old brother Terrory, Kerry Murphy was back on the practice field with the Crimson Tide.
The freshman from Hoover was with the Tide for the late-morning team picture and practiced during the afternoon Fan Day workout.
The Birmingham News is reporting few leads in the Thursday shooting death of the defensive lineman's older brother just outside Birmingham in Bessemer.
• Breaking 'em in: Being one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in the nation, each of Alabama's incoming freshmen were easily the top athletes on their high school team.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he didn't see much of that superstar swagger from the rookies during their first college practice Thursday night.
"Some of those guys had so much anxiety, I've never ever seen the look on their face that I saw (Thursday) night," the coach said. "It's their first practice and they want to do well. They have high expectations for what they want to accomplish. They're learning a lot. They're confused about terminology in a new system."
This group's willingness to learn did stand out to Saban. He said they were a very coachable group.
"I'm not disappointed in any player that we have out there," Saban said. "And I think we have some players who will be very, very good player here. It will just be interesting to see how they develop."
• Peek playing through pain: Senior tight end Colin Peek came into the media room Friday wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Sure, he still has a broken bone in the foot, but he's playing through the pain.
The injury is similar to Yao Ming's fracture that will keep him out of the upcoming NBA season. Peek, who came to Alabama from Georgia Tech, participated in spring practice in Peek caught three passes for 32 yards in the A-Day game despite being only "30 to 40 percent healthy."
"It feels good, but at the same time, the fracture still hasn't healed," Peek said. "But it's getting close to the season, so you're going to have to kill me to get me off the field."
• Stoops in town: Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops traveled to Tuscaloosa recently to talk shop with Saban. It was a reunion of sorts, since the two coaches go back several decades to their time in northern Ohio.
Stoops flew into Tuscaloosa on July 29 for the one-day rap session with Saban, who got to know Stoops' father, Bob Stoops Sr., when Saban was recruiting as an assistant at Ohio State.
"Each of us always make a list of quality control things that we want to research in the offseason," Saban said. "We had talked about doing this before and it just never worked out time-wise."
• Saban to speak: Saban will be the featured speaker at the Dec. 2 Super 6 Kickoff dinner at The Zone in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama will host the AHSAA state football championship games Dec. 3-4.