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Jumbo Package: Monday, 11 April 2016

Your daily dose of news and notes...

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. We have a few good links for you this morning. We will lead off with the softball team's nice weekend:

Alabama Softball Sweeps Mississippi State with 8-1 Win Sunday - ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletic Site

Alabama softball rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit against Mississippi State Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium to score eight unanswered runs and hand the Bulldogs an 8-1 loss, securing the series sweep for the Crimson Tide.

This team is on fire, folks, and looks like a legitimate contender to bring home another national title. Roll Tide, ladies.

Unfortunately the baseball team laid an egg in Lexington, which Roger will cover for you later today. The pitching staff remains strong, but the offense is simply pathetic.

Scrimmage notes:

Monday Morning Thoughts

For all the talk about center and right tackle heading into the spring, could it be that right guard is actually home to the biggest competition up front? That's where returning starter Alphonse Taylor and redshirt freshman Brandon Kennedy are currently engaged in a battle for first-team reps. Elsewhere, it sounds as if the remaining top four are -- from left to right -- Robinson, Cotton, Pierschbacher and Williams. That lines up with some of the groupings we've seen from UA in the last week. If Williams is capable of handling right tackle, it would seem likely that Cotton stays at guard, where he and Robinson could prove to be a devastating duo on the left side.

Alabama football: Saban wants more guys to play ‘winning football’ after second spring scrimmage - The Anniston Star: Sports

"We have a lot of guys that need to learn how to play winning football — which is really taking care of the ordinary things well," Saban said. "Things like, take care of the ball, discipline not to get penalties, don’t have mental errors, be able to go out there and do your job well.

Why Nick Saban was critical of Alabama reserves following scrimmage |

Mistakes by Alabama's reserves during Saturday's scrimmage led to Saban telling the media that his goal for the final week of spring practice is to "get more and more guys that can play winning football," which he said "is really taking care of the ordinary things well." But while Saban was critical of the Tide's reserves following the scrimmage, the post-scrimmage feedback was good for Alabama's first-team offense as well as its first-team defense. "I think the 1s one both sides of the ball played well," Saban said.

A few Alabama QBs 'moved the team' in second spring scrimmage |

"I think Cooper moved the team a lot," Saban said. "I think Jalen Hurts did a nice job today and David Cornwell did a pretty good job. I think there's still a lot of competition with these positions." Stats were not provided for quarterbacks. Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett also remains in competition for the job.

Foster shows progress with 100-yard game in scrimmage - TimesDaily: Alabama Football

He’s hanging in there. When I get a chance to see him run routes he looks normal to me," rising senior tight end O.J. Howard said of Foster. "I don’t think his injury is bothering him at all, from what I can see. He knows the plays, so he’s looking smooth to me." Last season’s breakout star, rising sophomore Calvin Ridley, remains the clear No. 1 receiver after leading the team with a freshman-record 1,046 receiving yards and seven scores last season. And junior ArDarius Stewart is another returning starter after finishing second on the team with 700 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season.

Alabama's rising star at running back has second straight big scrimmage |

The running backs as a whole fared well Saturday. The plan entering the scrimmage, Saban said, was for Scarbrough and fellow sophomore running back Damien Harris to both get 8-10 carries. Harris, a former five-star recruit who will likely get a lot of carries this season even if he doesn't start, ran for 56 yards on eight carries Saturday, an improvement after rushing for just 36 yards on 12 carries in the first scrimmage. "Damien did a good job today," Saban said. "He had eight carries for 56 yards, which is really, really good."

Injury update on Alabama DL Da'Shawn Hand's back entering A-Day week |

Alabama enters the final week of spring with only one starter in question with a new issue. Da'Shawn Hand's back spasms became an issue Wednesday and Nick Saban said he's unsure of his status for Saturday's A-Day game. "It's not something that the doctors have assured me that he doesn't have a situation that he needs to have surgery on," Saban said Saturday. "This will just be a thing that, when it calms down he'll be able to come back. We're hopeful we'll be able to get him back and he'll be able to play in the A-Day game."

Once again, a bunch of different writers took the same press conference and turned it into a bunch of articles. In general, this is like most springs where the returning guys are confident and performing well while the up-and-comers struggle with mistakes as they try too hard to impress the coaching staff. It is surprising and a little disconcerting that a young OL group has been able to run so effectively until you consider that two of the only four DL on the roster with any experience, Da'Shawn Hand and Jonathan Allen, are on the shelf. It's also interesting that Saban mentioned every QB by name except Blake Barnett. Sending a message, perhaps?


Linebacker VanDarius Cowan flips commitment from Florida State to Alabama

The 6-foot-4, 217-pound Cowan is ranked as the No. 78 overall recruit in the 247Sports composite. He's ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker and the No. 17 prospect in the state of Florida.

Cowan had been committed to Florida State since Dec. 29.

Alabama football recruiting Aubrey Solomon names Tide leader

"I like the tempo and how every player got after it no matter what position they played or no matter where they were on the depth chart," Solomon said. Will the Tide get an official visit this fall? "Most definitely," Solomon said. Solomon enjoyed himself so much on the visit, he named the Tide his leader. "They’re number one, no doubt about it," Solomon said.

Good news on both fronts, but it's a long time until February.


Gus Malzahn 'not concerned' with Auburn's offensive woes on A-Day |

On a day when three competing quarterbacks rotated with both the Blue team of projected starters and White team of backups, Auburn converted just 1 of 22 third downs, with the Blue team converting 1 of 10 attempts against the second-team defense. Malzahn did not read anything into the spring game's box score.

For those scoring at home, that is a 4% conversion rate on third down in the spring scrimmage, with the first team offense managing 10% against the second team defense. Gus's comments can be summed up thusly:

That's about it for today, folks. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.