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Random Thoughts on the Monday Morning News Cycle

Todd hit the high points of the news coming out of the Monday morning practice session, but let's delve a bit deeper into some of the news and notes. Here is my take on what we found out so far today:

For now, don't read very much into the move of true freshman tailback / slot receiver Corey Grant to cornerback. By all accounts, Grant has acquitted himself quite well to date in Fall camp, and no one doubts his extraordinary athletic abilities with the football in hand. He looks to have a bright future on offense and in the return game. While I suppose it wouldn't be prudent to completely dismiss the possibility that this is a long-term move, I think the much more likely scenario is that Grant was simply moved to cornerback to help shore up the very scary depth shortage we have at the position right now. For now, I tend to think this move is more along the lines of Brandon Gibson's cameo as a safety in the spring, where we are at least loosely grooming another player with the bare essentials necessary to play the position in an emergency situation. Given how adamant Grant was about playing on offense as a recruit, and his Fall camp to date, at the moment I really have a hard time seeing this as a long-term move.

Michael Bowman being moved to tight end has to be one of the most exciting position changes we've seen in a while. No one doubts his physical ability, and if anything Bowman probably has more of the build of a tight end than a true wide receiver. He won't bulk up and be the traditional tight end like a Colin Peek, mind you, but he could be an incredible asset as a pass-catching specialist constantly being lined up over linebackers and safeties. Physically, he fits the mold of an Aaron Hernandez, and I would imagine we would use him in a similar way that the Gators used Hernandez last year. If nothing else, he gives us another legitimate threat in the passing game, and the move also creates an opportunity to get another talented player on the field who would have otherwise been on the sideline. Expect this one to largely stick, and I think it's a win-win for everyone involved.

Kerry Murphy working with the first-team defense seems to have surprised some, but it should be expected more than anything else. I think people tend to forget that Murphy was a legitimate five-star prospect coming out of high school, and that this would be his senior year if he had qualified academically when he signed in 2007. He is an NFL caliber talent, and keep in mind that he is already eligible to enter the NFL Draft. He's big, physical, and gives the Tide a pass rushing presence from the nose guard position that you likely don't get with Chapman, and with that in mind it was always going to be impossible to keep him off the field. At absolute worst he was always going to split snaps evenly with Chapman, and with him having a better upside than Chapman, the odds are probably that he will see slightly more snaps than his former Hoover teammate. As was the case last year, the starter designation will likely get a bit too much attention one way or the other, and both will routinely split duties in meaningful situations. Most importantly, this does not mean there is anything wrong with Chapman. It says more of Murphy's abilities than it does any supposed shortcomings with Chapman.

Blake Sims was in a black jersey this morning, and I think we should all keep a fairly close eye on that injury. Foot sprains tend to be tough injuries simply because, structurally speaking, the foot is so fragile and there are so many tiny bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can easily keep an athlete grounded, and really "foot sprain" is an overused term that gets applied to a countless assortment of foot injuries that aren't really physically related. Hopefully Sims can bounce back quickly, but foot injuries can be very slow to heal, so it probably shouldn't surprise anyone if we don't see the Gainesville product for a little while further. It would be nice to see him used in some sort of a Wildcat package this year, but if the foot injury lingers then the odds are you can probably forget that. Of course, many feel he is headed for a redshirt season, so this may be a non-issue regardless of the severity of the injury.

DeMarcus Milliner was also in a black jersey this morning due to the apparent sprained ankle he suffered in the scrimmage on Saturday, and that is an injury that could really create an opportunity for someone like John Fulton. Most reports had Milliner with the narrow lead for the third cornerback role, but it was an admittedly close race, and if this turns out to be the dreaded high ankle sprain, Milliner could very well lose his single greatest asset -- his sheer speed and raw athletic ability -- for a few weeks. That's a loss for Alabama in a sense, but it does provide an opportunity for someone like a John Fulton to earn playing time that would have otherwise gone to Milliner.