Apparently in a somewhat better mood today after a more productive practice session, Nick Saban was a bit more conversational in his afternoon press conference today, hitting on a variety of topics that we have discussed here at RBR recently. Here are some of the high points:
First and foremost, it seems like the privates took Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's advice. Per our beloved Nicktator:
We’ve had two really good practices last night and today. I think the intensity, the spirit is coming back a little bit with the players. I think that maybe on Monday morning when we practiced, I was a little bit disappointed. I think the heat coming off the scrimmage, coming off the day off probably affected everybody’s focus and ability to sustain what we were trying to do. I was really pleased that the players bounced back and did really well last night as well as today.
Saban also provided a bit of insight into how the defensive backfield is (or at least was) shaping up with regard to two of the newcomers:
With De' and DeQuan both out in the secondary, two guys that probably would for sure be in the two-deep, and both guys that had opportunities to be starters.
It's pretty well-known that Barron, Kirkpatrick, and Scott are pretty much guaranteed to be starters in the secondary, and if you throw Milliner and Menzie into that mix as the fourth and fifth defensive backs, well, that sort of rounds out the secondary in most situations. Obviously it would still be up in the air when we go to six defensive backs and rotate players, but at least prior to the injuries it does seem like those five have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
Unfortunately, the injury news on the aforementioned DeMarcus Milliner sounds a bit disheartening. When Saban was discussing injuries, he mentioned that Milliner's injury was a bit more serious. He clearly identifies it as an ankle sprain, but I still get the feeling that this is the dreaded high ankle sprain:
Milliner's got a little ankle sprain too. His may be a little bit more significant than some of the others.
Moving forward, obviously it's still a fluid situation in the defensive backfield, but it seems like walk-on safety Will Lowery is probably going to earn some meaningful playing time on defense this year. Whether or not he can earn a starting job remains to be seen, but it's pretty clear that he's not just going to sit on the sidelines:
I think Will Lowery is a guy that is going to be a contributor to our team in some kind of way this year. It could be a fairly significant role. He has been with the program for a couple of years and has learned a lot. He has developed nicely as a player.
Speaking of other roster news, Saban pretty much confirmed that Corey Grant was moved to cornerback out of necessity and that the move of both Grant and Michael Bowman were experiments. No real shock there:
We really, mostly out of necessity for practice, move Corey Grant corner. That is not a permanent move. It is a sort of just evaluate what his chances might be to play that position...
Michael Bowman... we're looking at him as a bit of a tight end, H-back type of guy...
Those two things are both things that are experimental in nature. They are not something that’s sort of etched in stone.
And finally, remember how a few days back I found it very odd that Robby Green wasn't in Fall camp? Consider my intuition as pretty accurate on that one, as indeed there was something else going on. Fortunately, though, it seems like Green is still in good standing with the program and should be fine moving forward.
Robby Green needed to get his tonsils out. We thought this was a good window for him to do that. He will work, we will coach him throughout the season, we will develop him as a player to play in the future here.