The Crimson Tide enjoyed another sunny day outside with temps in the 70s. Again the team practiced in helmets and full pads. Intensity and focus appear to be picking up.
Once again, Nick Saban reluctantly stepped to the podium on Wednesday. He didn't really have much new to say other than the gotta work hard rhetoric. He almost bit the head off the first reporter's question but backed off. He later put a reporter with a stupid question in his place: "Are there any groups you would you like to see improve?" His quick answer was "I want to see all of them improve." Saban went off on a little tangent finishing with "that was a really good question and a really easy one to answer". He is back to his cantankerous old self which is a good sign to this fan.
- Saban spoke that "Alabama football is supposed to be a tough physical team that nobody really likes to play against" and they had "lost our identity" by the way last season ended. However, he like this team's "effort, energy and enthusiasm".
- This week the team has been spending time on "next year's opponents that do things differently". In other words, the scout teams mocked other offenses and defenses.
- The official word from Saban on former Washington DL coach Tosh Lupoi is in: "The guy's an intern." He will help with recruiting and "electronic" social media. Tyler Siskey took Kevin Steele's place as Director of Player Personnel.
- He noted that Eddie Jackson's surgery went well and that there is "a really good chance" to have him back for fall camp.
- Saban's coaching clinic will be this weekend with Gene Stallings, Joe Gibbs, Art Briles, Sylvester Croom, and Chance Warmack among the speakers.
Many observers assume that incoming FSU transfer Jacob Coker will be given the keys to this car. However, Blake Sims is not going to go out without a fight. He looked pretty sharp throwing long balls. Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris are improving as well. I wouldn't count any of these three out just yet.
On Tuesday, Saban was at the Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, AL for a Team Focus fundraiser called "A Night with Nick Saban.'' He answered a few reporters' questions beforehand about the quarterbacks:
"We're really looking forward to Jacob coming in," Saban said. "We think he's an outstanding young man and certainly the kind of person we really look forward to have in our program in terms of his character, his attitude. He's certainly a guy we coveted in high school and thought he was a very, very good player. We're anxious to get him there so that he can learn and develop and compete for the job.
"Cooper Bateman and Blake Sims have both done a nice job this spring and are improving very nicely, so we want them to continue to progress and when Jacob comes in, give him every opportunity to see what he can do."
Once again the offensive linemen were shuffled around to different positions and lines at practice. It would be reckless to try and nail down the starting lineup today. You have to give Saban and OL coach Mario Cristobal a lot of credit: nobody will be able to say that someone did not get a fair shot to play some football this fall.
Going back to the Mobile appearance, Saban said of Leon Brown "he's probably a guy that'll be in the best five guys". Cam Robinson is "very talented" and "doing a nice job to compete for a starting job as well." He went on to mention Grant Hill, Brandon Greene, and Alphonse Taylor who he referred to by his nickname "Shank".
MORE PRACTICE NOTES
- Defensive lineman juco transfer Jarran Reed continues to impress.
- With Reuben Foster injured, Reggie Ragland was lining up next to Trey DePriest at middle linebacker.
- Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve were the top two cornerbacks with Landon Collins and Geno Smith at the safety spots, and Jarrick Williams at Star.
PRO DAY #2
Alabama held Pro Day #2 on Tuesday for former Tide players hopeful for the NFL. There was a smaller crowd of scouts this go-round.
Under the spotlight were Vinnie Sunseri, 6 months removed from ACL surgery, and Cyrus Kouandjio hoping to up his stock. Cyrus told reporters that he had a 31-inch vertical leap, up from 27.5 inches the last time. As it stood before the workout, CyKo was looking like a late first round to mid-second round pick. He looks more fit at this Pro Day than he did at the last one.
Ed Stinson, Anthony Steen, Adrian Hubbard, C.J. Mosley, and John Fulton all participated in some form. The Green Bay Packers' Eddie Lacy and New York Jets' Dee Milliner stopped by to watch the proceedings and lend their support.
Players were measured and performed the standing broad jump, vertical jump, and bench press in the weight room. Next, various players ran the 40-yard dash and participated in agility testing and position-specific drills.
The NFL Draft will be held May 8-10, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
As usual, a host of top 2015 recruits were on hand to take in practice including 4-star OT Tyler Carr from Southside HS in the Gadsden area.
The next practice will be on Friday which will be a prep day for the scrimmage on Saturday. Like last week, the team will treat this next workout like they would a practice leading up to a game. The A-Day game on Saturday, April 19 at 1:00 pm CT will be the 15th and final spring practice.