Tigers visit Tide practice

Published 11:50 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday marked a unique experience for 40 Demopolis High School players who took advantage of the opportunity to stand on the sidelines at a University of Alabama football practice.

“It was Coach (Tom) Causey’s idea about going up there and watching those guys practice so they can understand the intensity and how players are supposed to practice,” Demopolis defensive coordinator Rudy Griffin said of how the event came about.

Causey, who was unable to make the trip, said attending collegiate Spring workouts was an annual practice for his teams when he coached at Andalusia.

“They have a newfound respect for what it takes to play college football,” Causey said of the differences he has seen in players after they were first exposed to the level of competition. “It’s a huge difference. It kind of humbles some kids. For them to see what takes place on any given Spring day, it helps them to understand what it takes to play college football.”

“They enjoyed it,” Griffin said of the Demopolis players’ reaction to the workouts. “I know they learned a lot. First of all, they were amazed with just the facilities. They were talking about the tempo and the intensity of those guys.”

Griffin said the outing also served to underscore many of the lessons the DHS coaching staff has worked to instill in its players.

“Taking them up there and showing them and actually letting them be able to see what we as a coaching staff have been telling them, a lot of them understand now,” Griffin said.

While Causey suggested the outing, he credits Griffin, a former Crimson Tide defensive lineman, with successfully setting up the event.

“Coach Griffin did all the setting up,” Causey said. “Coach Saban and his staff encouraged us to come when Coach Griffin called him. It’s something we’d like to start doing every year. We’d like to go to West Alabama too. I don’t think it equates to wins and losses, but it makes a difference in attitudes.”