As spring practice hits the homestretch, let it never be said that spring scrimmages are meaningless affairs. Per Cecil Hurt:
[Nick] Saban: "Some guys got demoted" after last Saturday's scrimmage "because they went out there with a sense of entitlement."
Certainly not the news you want to be hearing, mind you, but in many ways it's an encouraging sign of the culture of accountability that currently exists in Tuscaloosa. Ideally issues like this would never arise, but realistically this type of thing will undoubtedly rear its ugly head from time-to-time. The good news is that it's not tolerated by Saban and company, and the real concern in this area is not when players are effectively benched for their performance, but when players don't do all that they should do and are nevertheless still rewarded with starting jobs and meaningful playing time. Obviously, that is not going to happen in this case.
In any event, Saban did not name any specific players who were demoted, but in the media viewing session rising sophomore Jarrick Williams was taking reps with the first team alongside Mark Barron, so it's probably safe to say that Robert Lester is on the receiving end of at least one of the demotions. Moreover, in general, considering that Saban was displeased with the performance of the entire defensive backfield this past Saturday, turnover in the secondary should probably come as no surprise.
Along those lines, something that may or may not be related to the performance of Dre Kirkpatrick or DeMarcus Milliner, Saban heaped praise today for rising senior DeQuan Menzie:
"If you went by the last scrimmage, DeQuan Menzie was our best corner."
Whether or not that means either Kirkpatrick or Milliner have been demoted is anyone's guess, but at the very least Menzie continues to impress, and at this juncture it's fair to say he has had one of the best springs of any player currently on the roster. He got on the field a year ago despite all of the leg injuries, and it seems certain that he is earning a key role on the 2011 defense.
Meanwhile, as expected, we also had some injury reports today, most importantly a lower right leg injury to starting right tackle D.J. Fluker. The Gulf Coast native went through media interviews today in a protective boot, and said he has been wearing the boot to help reduce stress on the lower leg, but that he thought he would be out of it by the end of the week. Fortunately, though, none of the bumps and bruises from Saturday's scrimmage seem like anything of any serious nature moving forward, and for the most part 'Bama has remained relatively healthy this spring.
Finally, with ten practice sessions now in the books, 'Bama will begin to change its work schedule moving forward. The first two weeks of spring practice focused heavily on system installation on both offense and defense, but as spring practice hits the homestretch, that is starting to change to a focus on what Alabama will see schematically out of its 2011 opponents.
Only five practice sessions remain moving forward, which includes another scrimmage this upcoming Saturday as well as the A-Day game on April 16th. 'Bama will return to the practice fields Friday afternoon.