It has been ten long weeks since that bad taste in the mouths of Bama football fans everywhere. But with spring comes rebirth, a renewal. As coach Nick Saban is wont to say: this team is 0-0. Last season's team is gone.
There are some new faces among coaches and players but the goal is still the same.
Saturday's practice got underway at 1:00 pm CT with the players running drills in helmets, jerseys, and shorts under overcast skies and a temperature of 66 degrees. Players were taped up as if it was game day. Only the first 15 minutes was open to the press.
After the practice, Saban took to the podium in a typical businesslike way. He mentioned that the team had a good off-season program and that attitudes are good as well. It was a short press conference and few questions were taken.
If you follow my Twitter, you know I tweeted a few rumors in recent weeks that now have been confirmed.
First is tight end Harrison Jones who was rumored to forgo his fifth year. He has been on the team for four years and already graduated with a bachelor's degree. Saban confirmed that he is moving on.
The second one is backup center Chad Lindsay who is in the same position as Jones. He too has graduated and moved on but Saban stopped short of saying he was transferring for his final season. As a rising fifth year senior, it is believed that Lindsay will likely use the same rule Jacob Coker is using to be eligible to play somewhere else in 2014 and not sit out a year. Lindsay played very well when starter Ryan Kelly went down with injuries in 2013 and will be missed.
Defensive lineman Wilson Love who has been buried in the depth chart was rumored to not be a part of the team anymore and he is not on any roster. His name was not brought up. You may have heard that Love is being sued by his fraternity brother over an assault in 2012.
The surprise omission to the roster is Jai Miller, the 29-year old former pro baseball player who walked-on last fall. He saw action in five games last season at safety. Saban said Miller wants to focus more on academics but left the door open to his return to the team in the future.
Another seldom used fifth year senior, DL Anthony Orr, was spotted at practice.
All five scholarshipped QBs participated. Coker does not report until the summer. When asked about Blake Sims becoming a pro-style QB in the press conference, Saban said he is a "work-in-progress" and a needs to be a more "more consistent passer".
Wide receiver DeAndrew White wore a black, non-contact jersey. It is believed he had some kind of post-season surgery back in January.
Saban noted that redshirt freshman athlete ArDarius Stewart worked out with the safeties but that it was "very experimental". His other position is wide receiver.
Number assignments for the early enrollees:
6 Laurence "Hootie" Jones
7 Cam Sims
11 Shaun Dion Hamilton
12 David Cornwell (rolltide.com lists him as # 10 but he was wearing #12 at practice)
57 DJ Pettway
90 Jarran Reed
Also, a few number changes:
Bradley Sylve goes from 16 to 3.
Reuben Foster from 9 to 10.
Reggie Ragland 18 to 19.
And finally, Brandon Greene who spent time as #89 at tight end in 2013 is back to his old #58.
Many VIPs were in attendance for the first spring practice including 2015 Bama commits DE Mekhi Brown and DE Jonathan Ledbetter who were doing their best to convince uncommitted 5-star athlete Kerryon Johnson from Madison, AL too join them at the Capstone in 2015.
The next three practices will be this coming Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The team will then take the next week off for spring break March 24-28 and resume on Monday, March 31. The 15th and final spring practice will be the A-Day Game on Saturday, April 19.