Much like last Saturday, the team enjoyed an outdoor practice under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 60s. The difference today was that the team worked out in full pads for the first time this spring.
Nick Saban’s second press conference of the spring was again an abbreviated affair lasting about seven minutes. The few questions asked were pretty soft ("tell us Landon Collins", "tell us about Amari Cooper") with no real insights surfacing. A few select player were supposed to be made available to the media as well.
Saban mentioned in his opening remarks that he was pleased with the team's attitude but went on to say a few "guys obviously have to mature a little more" but overall "the attitude has been very good."
NEWS & NOTES
- ArDarius Stewart was back with the wide receivers after two practices at safety. No mention was made in the press conference.
- In previous practices, DeAndrew White was in a black no-contact jersey. Today he was not at practice at all. He reportedly had surgery back in January. Again, there was no news on this subject.
- True freshman Tony Brown was seen working as the first team cornerback. Saban stated that Brown may miss a few days in the future due to the track schedule and added "we're fine with that."
- Junior Dillon Lee was seen leading linebacker drills. Saban said Lee is "a really good player" and is competing for a starting job but would not be more specific.
- You may or may not recall that a year ago, Alabama had a kicker from Mexico to walk-on. Adrian Lamothe is back for another go and this time the kicking picture is a bit different. With Cody Mandell and Cade Foster graduating, the possibilities are much more wide open. Sophomore Adam Griffith is his competition at place kicker and punter JK Scott joins the team this summer. Lamothe attended Monterrey Tech which often plays Texas high schools.
- Also on the punting front, punter Gunnar Raborn from Lafayette, LA will be a part of the team as a preferred walk-on. It seems like the last walk-on punter Bama got from Lafayette worked out pretty well.
With two starters off to the NFL and the three returning starters garnering less than enthusiastic confidence among some Bama fans, offensive line is definitely a position to watch. Honestly I’d have to say that barring injury (knock on wood), only center Ryan Kelly is locked down as a starter. Right tackle Austin Shepherd and left guard Arie Kouandjio are the other two returning starters. It is still very early to get a solid feel for how this unit might line up on August 30th.
For what it is worth, here is how they lined up in three-man drills:
|Austin Shepherd||Ryan Kelly||Arie Kouandjio|
|Alphonse Taylor||Paul Waldrop (walk-on)||Leon Brown|
|Grant Hill||Bradley Bozeman||Brandon Greene|
|Brandon Hill||walk-on||Isaac Luatua|
You can ignore the centers because three of them are walk-ons and redshirt freshman Bozeman may just be an experiment. Furthermore, Saban has the nation's top two rated centers in J.C. Hassenauer and Josh Casher arriving later this summer.
Just for fun, let's pretend that this might reflect some sort of depth chart:
|Right Tackle||Right Guard||Center||Left Guard||Left Tackle|
|Austin Shepherd||Alphonse Taylor||Ryan Kelly||Arie Kouandjio||Leon Brown|
|Grant Hill||Isaac Luatua||Hassenauer/Casher||Brandon Hill||Brandon Greene|
|freshman or juco||Bradley Bozeman||freshman||freshman|
There is plenty of time for guys like Hill and Robinson to push for a starting job. This is pure speculation and for entertainment purposes only. So don't go ballistic if you don't agree but feel free to give us your depth chart.
[I know I've got my lefts on the right and vice versa but you folks are smart enough to figure it out. -CB]
Bo Scarbrough hopes to be wearing the number 1 come fall practice. As the first commitment of the Class of 2014, it seems appropriate. With the departure of Dee Hart, no player on the Alabama roster currently claims the number.
More VIPs attended the third spring practice including 2015 5-star DT Daron Payne from Shades Valley in Birmingham and 4-star RB Nick Gibson (Pinson Valley). Payne is a strong Alabama lean. Gibson has Bama as a finalist. AJ McCarron and Jeoffrey Pagan were also spotted among the observers.
The next practice will be on Friday and then the team and all UA students have the next week off for spring break March 24-28. Practice will resume on Monday, March 31. The 15th and final spring practice will be the A-Day Game on Saturday, April 19.