TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In his first week as a starter at Alabama, Kevin Norwood is being forced to sit and watch, impatiently.
The standout receiver from hasn't been benched. Instead, the 6-foot-2 junior finds himself watching television, monitoring weather patterns as Tropical Storm Isaac builds in the Gulf of Mexico. Some projections have the storm headed straight for his hometown of D'Iberville, Miss.
"I’ve been talking to [family] every day since we heard about it," Norwood said. "It’s real scary right now."
The timing couldn't be worse for Norwood as he readies himself for the Crimson Tide's season opener against Michigan. With four of the team's top pass-catchers gone from a year ago, it's Norwood's moment to shine. All he has to do is focus on the task at hand, but with a hurricane on the horizon, it's easier said than done.
"Kind of," Norwood said when asked if the storm has been distracting. "But then again at the same time I know what I've got to do to go out and prepare for this game.
"It is kind of scary because it’s falling on Aug. 29, the same day [Hurricane] Katrina hit the coast."
Norwood said his family has not made any plans about getting out of town when the storm hits. He said they, "haven't told me anything yet."
For now, he's trying not to worry too much, and instead keep his mind is on football and facing Michigan.
"I just got to focus on what I've got to do and play this game," Norwood said. "I know my team needs me, so I’m going to give them everything I got."
Secondary coming together
Robert Lester remembers having the first-game jitters. The Tide's starting safety worried he was going to either blow the game or blow his chance at playing.
"I was nervous, scared that I was going to mess up -- mess up so bad that I might get benched," he said. "There was just so many things going through my head. And Mark [Barron] being the guy that was right next to me, my comforter, he just let me know, he was like, 'Just go play football.' "
Now it's Lester's turn to play the role of comforter and leader to a young secondary. Like himself a few seasons ago, he sees the eagerness of the first-year players with something to prove.
"I know there are a lot of guys here who haven't played yet, that are eager to get out there and just let the world know what they're capable of," Lester said. "They didn't get recruited to Alabama for nothing. They're just waiting on their turn."
Lacy feeling fine
He wouldn't put a number on it, but it's safe to say Eddie Lacy is closer to 100 percent than this time last week. The junior running back from Louisiana suffered a sprained ankle and knee during the last scrimmage of fall camp and missed portions of last week's practice.
But after a week of healing, he's feeling better.
“Nagging injury, but nothing serious at all," Lacy said, adding that nothing else was bothering him, phsically.
Lacy reiterated that he was ready to play, saying that "I’d like to carry it as many times as coach calls my number," against Michigan, but stopped short of saying he was 100 percent healthy.
“I never put a percent on it, but I rehab and progress every day," he said.
Saban favors helmet rule
Coach Nick Saban said he supports the new NCAA rules regarding helmets where there will be a 15-yard penalty assessed against any team whose player loses his helmet and continues to participate in the flow of the game.
"It's a good rule, because I think the rule is about player safety," he said. "Steve Shaw came in and visited with our team and showed the team film of all the all times last year that guys' helmets came off and they continued to play the play.
"Some guys were injured, some guys maybe pretty seriously."
Saban said he's seen his own players lose their helmets during practice and games.
"The amazing thing to me is the same guys' helmets come off all the time," he said. "What's that tell you? Either it's not fit properly or they're not wearing it properly."