"The more you have to play starters on special teams, I think that affects you long term in terms of the wear and tear that you have on guys and how they get worn down in games," Saban told reporters. "It's great for team chemistry that more players have a role as well." According to the Decatur Daily, Alabama could be looking for special-teams replacements for a pair of sophomores who might start: strong safety Vinnie Sunseri and linebacker Trey DePreist. DePriest led the Tide with 14 special-teams tackles last season, while Sunseri made 11 -- all on kickoff coverage. Sunseri was named special teams player of the week five times, the paper said. "Special teams is definitely an area where young players can get on the field," Sunseri told the paper. "Trey and I were on it last year, and we were able to do OK at that. It's definitely an area where young guys can step up and make a big influence on the game."
Williams said that 600 lbs. is not his max and that he could do 40 or 50 lbs. more if the coaches would let him. But they cut him off at 600 for safety reasons. One reporter noted that 40 or 50 lbs. more would be the equivalent to two D.J. Flukers. "Now that you put it that way it makes me seem like some sort of superhero," he said in response. "I wish I could push two D.J. Flukers around at once. It was a good feat to do. For me, it was good to have that under my belt. Like I said, I didn’t try to make a statement, just tried to show how hard we were working throughout the summer."
Alabama's two most experienced offensive linemen garnered top recognition from Sports Illustrated today, as both Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack were named to the magazine's preseason All-American team. Jones, last year's Outland Trophy winner, and Warmack, a potential first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, have barely missed a snap since the 2010 season. Jones, the Crimson Tide's new center who has previously started at tackle and guard, has been a regular starter since 2009. That wasn't the only recognition for the Alabama offensive line, as right tackle D.J. Fluker was named to SI's second team.
Kouandjio has been "asking the right questions," Jones said, whenever he's in the film room, training room or anywhere else the Alabama offensive line congregates. Jones said Kouandjio also has a good mix of the kind of confidence one would expect from someone as highly touted as he was mixed with the type of humbleness he needs to get along with Alabama's veteran linemen. "He has a tremendous amount of talent," Jones said. "He's got all the tools. It's my job and all the other veterans' job to bring him along and to help him realize his full potential because he can really be the best left tackle in the country." Kouandjio quickly dismissed any of that kind of talk during the first session of interviews he's faced Alabama. "I haven't done anything yet," he said. "Playing next to great players like Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, I hope they rub off on me. I hope some of that comes onto me."
The Alabama football team continued its training camp in full pads as the Crimson Tide practiced for two hours Thursday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields. "I see a lot of improvement on our team," said head coach Nick Saban. "I think with some guys, we are still trying to get some of the intangibles that we need for them to make the improvement that they need to make to be successful. Things like effort and toughness and being responsible for doing their job. If everybody does their job, we will have the best opportunity to be successful."
University of Alabama wide receiver Chris Black, a freshman who sparkled in last spring's A-Day game, could miss the entire regular season after suffering a shoulder injury that will require surgery. "Chris got hurt in the practice at the stadium last Sunday," UA head coach Nick Saban said at his Thursday press conference. "Some of you probably saw it. The injury will require surgery and we expect that Chris will be out three or four months." Black, who played at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla., went through spring practice with UA. He caught three passes for 61 yard in the Crimson Tide's A-Day contest, including a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Phillip Sims. "He was doing very well," Saban said. "He had a great spring and summer. He wanted to play so much he could taste it. He is going to be an excellent player for us in e future."
"When you look at his body of work, from where he started at the beginning of least season to where he ended and then where started spring ball and finished it, and where he started fall camp … I'm really excited about what the future holds for him," first-year Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said. "I think he has a very, very high ceiling."
Lacy missed spring practice because of offseason surgery to fix a turf-toe problem. He also missed much of the team's summer conditioning work. "Conditioning, I'm not where I'm supposed to be, due to the fact that I was out for so long, but going through camp and the back end of summer, I'm not that far off," he said. "I've just got to continue to work hard, and before long, I'll be where I need to be."
Visions of champions past. LSU has a national championship to its credit under Les Miles, in 2007, courtesy of a lineup that also featured a nasty defense, a deep backfield and a first-year starter at quarterback who had paid his dues as a backup. But even though most of the older members of the '07 team were actually recruited and briefly coached by Miles' predecessor, Nick Saban, the current Tigers hew more closely to the black-and-blue script Saban employed for championship runs at Alabama in 2009 and 2011. Both of those teams survived first-year starters under center (Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron, respectively) thanks to consistently, outrageously good defense and virtually none of the recurring drama that defined LSU's improbable, twice-bitten triumph in 2007. Of course, they weren't nearly as interesting as LSU's improbable, twice-bitten triumph in 2007, either, but neither was LSU's steady, punishing march into the championship game last year. Even a natural gambler like Miles can learn to let his damn strong football team play it close to the vest until somebody forces it to do something else.
Mathieu's title of most impactful defender in college football as a "cornerback" is strange for a couple of reasons. Along with being undersize, he's only average in coverage. This is the reality for this new hybrid linebacker. It's not as important to be superior at any one thing as it is to do a bit of everything: stuff the run, blitz the quarterback, drop into coverage, and, above all, be a disruptive force.
Recently, former boxer Dewey Bozella, who served 26 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, was a guest speaker at Alabama. So, too, was Chris Herren, a former basketball star at Fresno State who battled drug addiction throughout his college and professional career. Both Bozella and Herren have been subjects of ESPN documentaries. "Different speakers touch different guys," senior center Barrett Jones said. "We have such a diverse group that it would be hard to touch everyone at once. That's why we've had so many different kind of great speakers."