27 March 2011
The Alabama football team practiced for the fourth time in the 2011 Spring Football Practice period on Saturday. The full pads practice was moved inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility due to rain in the Tuscaloosa area.
Here's what you need to know:
Coach Saban indicated that Brandon Moore has joined Robby Green in being indefinitely suspended. Previously, I've said if Green is not back by practice #8, he might not be back at all. Moore is a different case; he wasn't suspended for all of the 2010 season. But the talent level in Tuscaloosa has increased to the point that guys who have a loose grasp on the rules simply won't be around for long. Add in that scholarship numbers are tight, and I would say that things are precarious for both of these guys if we don't see them again soon.
It looks as though the injury bug bit a little late in Friday's practice, as Tyler Love was absent from Saturday's practice. Coach Saban indicated that he took a blow to the head and could possibly have a concussion. The severity is unknown, but we should find out more on Monday. He spent the first two practices of the spring camp at center before moving back to left tackle on Saturday.
The same group of guys who had been practicing in black are still in black - Mark Barron (pectoral), Jarrick Williams (shoulder), Nick Perry (shoulder), Jonathan Atchison (bicep), and Brad Smelley (wrist). Only Barron is thought to be out for an extended period.
Coach Saban indicated in the his post practice news conference that Dee Hart, Trey DePriest, and Vinnie Sunseri have stood out among the early enrollee freshmen. Sunseri has been getting extra reps due to Green, Williams, and Perry being out. DePriest has a lot of extreme talent in front of him, but Bama has shown a real willingness to play freshman linebackers in the last five years. The fact that he's here in the spring gives him an advantage over all of the other true freshmen linebackers who have gotten substantial playing time in their first year.
While it's not a shock that Hart is impressive - he was considered by Rivals.com to be the top running back in America - Coach Saban indicated that he could make an immediate impact on special teams. While Marquis Maze is the presumptive starter at the punt and kickoff return positions, Hart could make a push. Coach Saban joked that Hart is one of the few guys on the team that he is bigger than, and then compared him to Javier Arenas. So a bit of a joke, and then a huge compliment.
I don't think that Coach was necessarily saying that he would be as good as Arenas, but Nick Saban is pretty careful with his words. Read into it what you will... Also of note is that Hart has spent all of his time as close to Trent Richardson as possible, soaking up the knowledge that the veteran has. C.J. Mosley did this with Dont'a Hightower last year, and that paid dividends.
Coach Saban also indicated that he expects all three of the junior college transfers to make an immediate impact. Considering that every junior college player signed by Saban - except for re-sign Brandon Lewis - came in and played immediately, this isn't much of a shock. Aaron Douglas is battling Alfred McCullough for the left tackle spot, and Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial are both heavily in the rotation at defensive end. I still think we will see Williams compete at the nose guard spot, but his ability to be one of the two down linemen in the rabbit rusher package (likely alongside Damian Square or Ed Stinson) is intriguing.
There have been no real surprises from an organizational (depth) chart standpoint. With Love moving back to tackle we have seen Kellen Williams working behind William Vlachos at center. Williams was a little thought of recruit coming out of high school and has impressed the staff with his ability to adjust to changes in technique. Don't be surprised to see him win the backup job ahead of Chad Lindsay.
The Tide will practice again on Monday, and we'll have our normal report.
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