Coach Nick Saban offered a bit of clarification on a few players who've been battling injuries and some incoming freshmen who have yet to land on campus.
First things first, let's talk about Eddie Jackson. This is what Saban had to say about his progress since injuring his knee late in Spring practice:
"He's still just rehabbing. He's not full speed. He's not been released to do football-related type activity yet. We're encouraged by the rehab. He's working really hard and doing a good job."
Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering to be found in those statements but the fact Saban seems "encouraged" by Jackson's progress is a good sign moving forward. I would think, and this is just a guess, if Jackson were behind schedule or they didn't feel he'd be ready any time soon, Saban wouldn't sound as positive.
As most people are aware, after an up and down true freshman year, Jackson was having a fantastic Spring and looked poised to take on the #1 corner role. Well, all that was put on hold with his injury and any hope of him contributing in 2014 will have to wait until we actually see him practicing at full speed and playing with the 1st team defense. Knee injuries can heal but sometimes overcoming the mental side effects associated with ACL injuries takes much longer.
Call me negative or an anti-process guy, but to me Jackson was the key to Alabama rebuilding the defensive backfield starting in 2014. Sure, Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey are future stars* but I'm sorry I can't put my faith in two true freshman filling the void left by Jackson if he doesn't return completely healthy.
Not trying to be doom and gloom here but it's hard to expect all that much from a guy just six months removed from a torn ACL. On the flip side, since Saban never clarified his injury, perhaps it wasn't torn, as ESPN reported, and he does indeed make it back without skipping a beat. But until we see it with our own two eyes all we can do is hope for the best.
The good news is that Saban said Darren Lake and DeAndrew White are back to 100% (or at least close to it)
"Both of those guys are doing fine. DeAndrew White's been cleared to do everything. He has done everything in the summer conditioning program and Darren Lake has as well."
Saban also provided a brief update on the three remaining players who have yet to report to campus— Montel McBride, Bo Scarbrough and Johnny Dwight.
"Yeah, we have three guys that have not reported for various reasons, and some of those things deal with when they graduate from high school, when they can report, whether they actually get in the window of being able to go first semester," Saban said. "And a couple other guys have to clean up some academic issues. So we'll see how those things go over the course of the summer.
Yikes. Well, if these guys do make it on campu, and that's a rather big IF, they'll have to be absolute studs to gain any type of playing time in 2014.
*my god the freshmen