TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the mid to high 80s, No. 1 Alabama football conducted its second practice of the week heading into its home opener against the Mercer Bears.
After Monday's practice was held in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts), the Crimson Tide conducted its first full-pad practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, transfer linebacker Henry To'oTo'o spoke to the media for the first time since his arrival at Alabama this past offseason after transferring in from Tennessee. In addition to detailing his decision to join the Crimson Tide, To'oTo'o talked about his adjustment to calling plays on defense despite being new to the program.
“When you come in as a new transfer, it’s kind of a different thing," To'oTo'o said. "You’re not a freshman, but you’re kind of an upperclassman. But I took it the way — tried to get to know the guys, tried to build relationships with the guys because that’s the biggest thing. You come in here with a group, a team that’s been together and you’re the new guy, so I didn’t really come in with the mindset to be the defensive caller, to be the signal-caller. I wanted to be that guy that they could trust, that they could call at night, in the morning, whenever they needed me.
"So that was kind of my approach, to be able to just build relationships with the guys so that it could translate on the field.”
This past weekend in Alabama's season opener against Miami, To'oTo'o finished second on the team in tackles with seven. In total, the defense allowed just 266 total yards and 2.8 yards per rushing attempt. With To'oTo'o providing the primary means of communication on the Crimson Tide defense, he played like he had already been a member of the program for far longer than just one offseason.
Already a proven leader despite only having been in Tuscaloosa for a few months, To'oTo'o said that his leadership is a result of creating trust on the team.
“It definitely starts with having the guys trust you," To'oTo'o said. "It started with summer workouts when I got here. Being able to gain the guys’ trust to be able to have my ability to speak up when I see something that’s not right. It all came with trust.
"If the guys trust me and the guys know that you’ll be able to do the right thing at the right time, then your leadership qualities can apply on and off the field.”
Gallery: Alabama Football Hosts Second Practice of Mercer Week
Photos courtesy of Alabama Athletics