Football Returns: Third Day News And Notes

The Alabama football team returned to action this afternoon with their third practice session of the Spring, and this particular session marked the first time the team has donned pads. A few news and notes from the return to practice:

  • The big news, or perhaps it would more likely qualify as huge news, is that Luther Davis has returned to Tuscaloosa, and participated in practice today. Coach Saban said that he would be out indefinitely at the beginning of Spring Practice, and personally I was just hoping he would return for the Fall. He beat that expectation by a mile, though, and he looks like he won't even miss a beat. That's huge news for us. We desperately need Davis to step up and win the strongside defensive end job, which will allow Greenwood and Deaderick to man the weakside and not have to change position. This gives him a great chance of doing that.
  • Interestingly enough, Davis said he would return all along. All of the journalistic garbage that was "reported" by Ian Rappaport turned out to be a load of crap. Most of it came from Davis', pardon my language, low-life piece of shit high school football coach who constantly runs down one of his own players just because he had the audacity to not go to LSU; this is a grown man who was running his mouth with a bunch of lies about one of his former players, how much lower can you get? Davis said all along that garb was not true, and was very up front about his high school coach and his childish behavior. And of course he kept he was word that he was returning. Personally, I say Rappaport needs to find a new line of work, and Shows should just do us all a favor and drop dead and rot in hell. At the very least, I hoped he gets Propsted.
  • In injury news, Tremayne Coger tweaked an ankle today, according to Coach Saban. That's very bad news for Coger, he needed to be healthy to have any chance of capitalizing on his already small chance of seeing meaningful time. With other guys, Patrick Crump, Jeramie Griffin, Glenn Coffee and Milton Talbert all were in black no-contact jerseys, but may return later on this Spring. In better news regarding injuries, Coach Saban said Marquis Maze had returned to practice after missing the first two days with a sprained ankle.
  • Zeke Knight was also back in practice today, wearing pads. However, he was sporting a black no-contact jerseys, and from what I can tell he did not participate. I'm not really sure if this means he is close to coming back, or if he was just dressing out as a way of still participating, in his own way, with the team. My gut instinct would say the latter, but you never know. I highly doubt they are letting him do any cardio work, so it's probably nothing. Hopefully we will get some clarification on this soon.
  • Mike Johnson continues to stay at left guard. Of course, given his experience at right tackle, he could always move back there and probably have no problems doing so, but it certainly seems that this staff is pretty determined for him to play left guard. As I've said before, that move, just in and of itself, is a very promising one. Johnson was a good run blocker last year, and has great size, but struggled greatly with the athleticism of the better end rushers. His run blocking abilities will serve him very well at guard, and he will probably do very well in pass blocking against the interior defenders.
  • In Johnson's absence, Taylor Pharr is running with the first team at right tackle. And, um, yeah, I don't know about that one. Unless Pharr has made a lot of progress, I just cannot see that one holding. Anything can happen, of course, but from what I can tell the staff is planning for Tyler Love to come in and take the right tackle starting ASAP. That goes against the notion of true freshmen starting on the offensive line, but that notion has lost a lot of its validity in recent years anyway. And Love has the physique needed, and Lord knows he has the talent. If I had to bet at this point, I would say that the offensive line against Clemson will be -- going left to right -- Andre Smith, Mike Johnson, Antoine Caldwell, Marlon Davis, and Tyler Love. And if Love can adjust quickly, that could be one of the best lines in the conference.
  • Some people mention the move of Charles Hoke to right tackle, and he's still there now. However, don't expect much. He never played at tight end before in his first three years, and hell will probably have to freeze over for him to play this Fall at tackle. I figure it's just something done in the short-term because we have such a dearth of depth at tackle. I don't expect him to play once Autumn rolls around.
  • Brandon Fanney is bouncing around. He was a defensive end under Shula, and ended up at Jack in Saban's first year, neither of which yielded him any significant amount of playing time. Now he is being tried at both weakside defensive end and Jack linebacker. Being quite frank, I'm not sure the odds are all that high he sees a lot of playing time at either position. He's seemingly just a tweener lost in the shuffle from the transition from Shula to Saban. He's apparently not athletic enough for the pass coverage responsibilities inherent in the Jack position, and at 241 pounds, not big enough to play end in the 3-4.
  • You can watch both a short practice, and also Coach Saban's press conference, by clicking here.
  • Finally, no practice tomorrow. We will return to practice on Wednesday afternoon -- which I think will feature the first contact / situational scrimmage work of the Spring -- and then probably go through a relatively light day in shorts on Friday before having the first true scrimmage of the Spring on Saturday.
That's it folks. If anything else happens, we'll keep you up-to-date. If we get some contact / situational scrimmage work on Wednesday, there will be a good bit more news to report then. By the end of this weekend, for sure, we should have a good bit of insight after the first scrimmage on this Saturday.
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