From the outset, before we move onto discussion of today's practice session, the RBR junta is aware of the allegations surrounding the University of Miami football program and that those allegations make specific reference to 'Bama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and director of football operations Joe Pannunzio. The allegations against Miami are incredibly damning and if corroborated will almost certainly lead to draconian sanctions, though personally I couldn't care less either way because Miami hasn't been relevant in years and likely won't be relevant any time soon regardless of what course of action the NCAA takes.
For UA, though, clearly if the allegations involving Stoutland and Pannunzio can be corroborated that may lead to serious disciplinary action being taken against them personally, by the NCAA and/or UA, but until something more definitive happens on that front then we'll largely refrain from substantively commenting on the matter simply because there is very little to say at this point. None of the allegations involve the University itself, which is the foremost concern for UA, and any concerns regarding staff members who may have committed infractions at other institutions can be handled accordingly, if necessary, without any collateral damage extending to the university. We'll keep a close eye on this one to see how it develops with Stoutland and Pannunzio, but for the time being there is no real need to address this further. For what it's worth, the Tuscaloosa News has asked UA for an official comment on the matter, and we'll see how that plays out.
With that obligatory discussion out of the way, we'll turn attention back to fall camp, and with that in mind 'Bama returned to the practice fields this afternoon in the brutal mid-August heat. Today marked the twelfth day of fall camp and at this point fall camp is more than halfway complete. The second scrimmage of the fall will take place this upcoming Saturday, and at the conclusion of it most position battles will be relatively well settled as kick-off against Kent State draws ever closer.
'Bama continues to be fortunate with injuries this fall, but unfortunately Duron Carter missed practice once again today as he awaits academic clearance by UA Admissions. With no end in sight, Carter has already missed the bulk of fall camp and with each passing day the question becomes less of whether or not Carter will be able to contribute early in the season and more whether or not he'll qualify at all. While it's refreshing to think this is all just some administrative mix-up, given the expedited nature that a football player would almost certainly get with UA Admissions, it's hard to reasonably believe that this is purely a clerical error, regardless of the assurances previously given by the Carter family.
Jesse Williams finally had his name called this fall, as Nick Saban said in his post-practice press conference that Williams had worked his way into the rotation as one of the top four defensive ends on the roster, which would by default make him a significant contributor given the way UA rotates defensive linemen. Take this as very encouraging news as Williams, for all of the publicity and the hype, had a very quiet spring and looked very raw in the process. And for the time being I wouldn't read too much into him playing defensive end. He has been getting reps there throughout the fall, but obviously with his size he can move inside when need be, and it's probably safe to assume that he will see time backing up Josh Chapman when the need arises.
Blake Sims has spent a significant amount of time at tailback this fall, and his reps at the tailback position have increased in recent days. This afternoon, with Christion Jones working out at wide receiver, Nick Saban made a reference in sum and substance to Jones settling in at wide receiver, so it looks somewhat like Blake Sims will be given time at tailback if the need arises. Exactly what his role will be is hard to say, but I think it's clear at this point that the staff is trying to find any way they can to get Sims on the field.
Meanwhile, with Sims spending time at tailback, the real beneficiary here has been true freshman Phillip Ely. It is generally well understood that Ely figures to be a long-term developmental project, and while he clearly helped himself by enrolling at UA early, moving forward one of the keys to his development will simply be getting the practice reps necessary to make such improvements. That may sound like a given, but practice reps quickly become valuable commodities when one is buried on the quarterback depth chart and running directly into NCAA-imposed limits on both the number and length of practice sessions. Perhaps it all proves for naught in the end, but with Sims spending a good deal of time this fall at tailback, it has given Ely many more opportunities than he would have otherwise gotten.
In other quick hitters, Damion Square is sporting an eye patch after being poked in the eye. Nick Saban lauded the progress of defensive end Quinton Dial this afternoon. Mark Barron stated he has had no issues with his surgically repaired pectoral muscle. Saban spoke highly of the entire true freshman class, but in particular singled out safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix for praise.
'Bama returns to the practice fields tomorrow morning for the continuation of two-a-days.