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2014 Alabama Spring Football Report: Practice #5

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Spring Break is over. Back to work.

Kirby Smart is in midseason form.
Kirby Smart is in midseason form.
USA TODAY Sports

After a week of Spring Break, Bama fans got the best news that they could hope for in that nobody got in trouble.

It was another beautiful day in T-town for spring practice with temperatures in the upper 70s and sunny skies. It's almost as if Nick Saban is dictating the weather. But that couldn't be, could it?

SABAN PRESSER

Nick Saban started off his third press conference of spring with a crack about spring break but it only took the second question for him to rip into a reporter. The poor guy said the defensive line "appears to have some quality depth" and Saban took exception to the word "appears". After lambasting the guy, he remarked that "they have a long way to go" and was "not satisfied" with the unit at this point.

As a whole, he remarked that the players "took a step back" today but recognized that having the time off weighed into it. He hinted that they will get a pass today (my words) but next practice better be back to normal (again my words).

He noted that some guys are "worrying about the depth chart" but that they "don't have a depth chart" and "nobody should pout about anything." I am guessing some lack of maturity is still in the midst.

The team again worked out in full pads and helmets. Once again defensive lineman Darren Lake was absent but Saban revealed that Lake injured his pec just before spring practice and had to have surgery. He will miss all of the spring. Saban noted that he was doing "extremely well" before the injury and will be back for summer conditioning.

DeAndrew White was also not seen as he continues to heal from off-season surgery.

Saban was asked about Kirby Smart to which he said he is more of Smart's "GA (graduate assistant)". It sounds like this group will be whipped into shape.

One reporter asked the inevitable question about the players union issue. Saban said he has "always been an advocate of players' rights", "the quality of life", and "having a voice". He took it further when he posited the interesting question as to how much the university reinvests in developing players?

It would be interesting to know how much - everybody knows what a scholarship is worth, that's pretty easy to figure out  - but to do on a per player basis what we invest in a player to try and help him be successful. We spent something like $600,000 last year on personal development programs - all things that directly effect a player having a chance to be successful.

I can't even tell you what our academic support budget is, trying to invest in a player. And what is the value of him getting an education and graduating from school here? Not just the value of a scholarship, what's the value of him getting an education?

How much do we actually reinvest in quality of support staff to help develop players that may have a chance to go on and play at the next level, have great college careers, have a chance to win a championship?

There's a pretty significant budget around here that if you look at it, it's really invested back into the players. So, I don't think that the players just receive a scholarship.

I think a lot of players really realize that, understand that, and appreciate that. Because we can't pay them but we can reinvest and try and help them be successful in the future...

...It's not just about football. So there is a lot of value that players get from the experience that they have as college student-athletes that really benefits their chances of being successful...

...all the things I benefited from (as a scholarship football player) have helped me be very very successful and I can't really tell you what the value of that is but I think it is pretty significant.

Boom.

POSITION BATTLES

  • For the first four practices, senior Leon Brown was lining up at first team left tackle. However, today it was sophomore Brandon Greene. Grant Hill is playing some center along with right tackle.
  • Reuben Foster is seeing more reps at middle linebacker.
  • Early-enrollee freshman wide receiver Cam Sims was lined up after Amari Cooper in drills. Chris Black was behind Christion Jones.
  • Saban noted that Derrick Henry has had "an outstanding spring". He was seen working second behind T.J. Yeldon in drills and ahead of Kenyan Drake.

POTENTIAL NEW HIRE

Over the weekend you may have heard that former Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi might be joining the Alabama staff. Saban is already at the limit of nine assistants so it is likely he takes on Kevin Steele's old administrative position as Director of Player Personnel. Saban made no mention and nobody asked, so it is unofficial at this point.

His former boss and new Southern Cal coach Steve Sarkisian did not bring him along to South Central L.A. and new Huskies coach Chris Petersen did not retain him. Lupoi spent four years as defensive line coach at his alma mater Cal before moving over to Washinton. He is only 32 and has a reputation as an excellent recruiter.

RECRUITING

Five-star DE and top 5 2015 recruit CeCe Jefferson tweeted that he will visit the Capstone sometime this week. This kid is for realzies.

The Tide has some work to do because I get the feeling he is leaning towards nearby Florida.

NEXT PRACTICE

The next practices will be Wednesday and Friday with the first scrimmage on Saturday which will be closed to the public.

Roll Tide!