The Crimson Tide football returned to the practice field in helmets and shorts for the first of 15 allowed spring practices. Despite a light drizzle, it was a spirited practice with a lot of energy.
For being the first practice, there certainly was a lot going on.
Let's go ahead and rip this band-aid off: Nick Saban said, , , , , and Shawn Jennings could miss all of spring with various injuries. Saban said that Allen and Robinson both had shoulder surgery. They were participating in drills but wearing black/no-contact jerseys. Jackson and Falkins both "had a leg issue". Ball "had a foot issue". Jennings is still recovering from an injury he sustained in high school. These four were also in black but riding exercise bikes.
Looking on the bright side of the injury report, it is certain that Allen, Robinson, and Jackson are going to be starters for the Tide in the coming season. All three could likely play in the NFL this fall. They will probably not miss out on much if they sit out the spring.
The injury to Allen could explain why he did not turn pro. Left tackle Robinson has also battled ankle sprains for two seasons now. Safety Jackson suffered an ACL injury this time two years ago and has had some lingering issues.
This could just be a command decision to have these players take it easy and let them get healthy for the upcoming campaign. An additional silver lining is that it will give some more players some valuable practice time.
As for the other players, Ball is the only real concern as the Tide is short on tight ends. He is not a threat to catch a pass but he has been instrumental as a blocking tight end. Alabama does have other options inand .
Wide receiver Falkins had a fracture in his leg last summer, which required surgery. He sat out this past season and could possibly be looking at the end of his career (pure speculation on my part). Jennings was likely going to redshirt either way.
Also in black was receiver Robert Foster who tore a rotator cuff in a game last September. He looked to be full speed as he worked receiver drills. Saban made no mention of Foster in his post-practice press conference.
While the off-season staff shuffling was no real secret, Saban confirmed that Brent Key would coach centers and guards while Mario Cristobal would concentrate on tackles and tight ends. He also mentioned that he had interviewed Key three years ago. Despite not being hired at the time, he impressed.
Burton Burns will take over special teams duties to go with coaching running backs.is now Special Assistant to Saban.
Defensive backwas practicing and interestingly working with safeties on Friday. However, Saban said he is "facing some suspensions." A time table for him has not been decided as of yet. Saban would not divulge any more information on that matter at this time. But with Eddie Jackson sidelined, Brown may be needed in the secondary for awhile. He may be running a lot of stadium steps this summer.
- Deionte Thompson was practicing with the secondary after spending time with receivers last year.
- Linebacker Keith Holcombe was back with the team after spending time with the baseball team. He leads the team with a .400 batting average, .538 on base percentage, and three stolen bases. He was back in the starting lineup for Friday's game with Houston.
- Redshirt freshman Daylon Charlot is a player I have been looking forward to seeing. He looked good Friday and should be a great addition to the wide receiver rotation.
- Rashaan Evas was working with the inside linebackers. With the losses of Reggie Ragland, Dillon Lee, and Denzel Devall, it is likely we'll see a lot of linebackers trying out different positions this spring.
- Anfernee Jennings looked good working at outside linebacker.
As previously reported, quarterback Blake Barnett returns to his high school number 8. Robert Foster trades in the "ocho" for the number 1. Wide receiver Cam Sims goes from No. 7 to No. 17.
The team now splits up for Spring Break. The next practice will be Monday, March 21.