The top three throws made during Alabama's open practice on Saturday were made by a combination of Barnett and Jalen Hurts, two young quarterbacks who are both establishing themselves as legitimate contenders in the competition for the Tide's starting quarterback job.
The best quarterback during the open practice was probably Hurts, who had a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Calvin Ridley and another long scoring pass to a walk-on wide receiver shortly after Barnett's touchdown pass to Diggs. Barnett was probably second-best during the practice. The favorite to win the starting quarterback job entering fall camp, Cooper Bateman, struggled. The other scholarship quarterback, David Cornwell, was a limited participant because of a foot injury and was erratic when on the field.
We'll get the obligatory quarterback talk out of the way first. All accounts say that Hurts has built on his strong spring and it's looking like it will be more and and more difficult to keep him off the field with every passing day. Barnett continues to show his tremendous potential, but it's mixed in with bouts of inconsistency. David Cornwell is slowly disappearing, and Cooper Bateman is Cooper Bateman.Who do you like?
Go forth and argue.
"I'm more explosive," he said. "It might sound strange, 225 at linebacker but it feels great. Knees not hurting, back not hurting, it feels great."
The shifting styles of offenses place a premium on speed over bulk for almost every defensive position. Back in 2011, Dont'a Hightower was Alabama's star middle linebacker at 260 pounds. At 225, Foster is just seven pounds heavier than Mark Barron was at safety in 2011.
Reuben Foster with perfect health and more explosiveness? Watch out, SEC.
With his blend of aggression, explosiveness, hit power, and pass coverage, Foster fits the mold of the exact type of linebacker that is catching on in the NFL. As long as he doesn't falter under the responsibility of being the defensive play-caller and leader this year, it's hard to see him not going in at least the top-20 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Kendall Sheffield was working with the first-team secondary. It was Marlon Humphrey and Sheffield at cornerback, Minkah Fitzpatrick at nickel back and Eddie Jackson and Ronnie Harrison at safety. The second-team secondary during drills consisted of Anthony Averett and Jared Mayden at cornerback, Shyheim Carter at nickel back and Hootie Jones and Tony Brown at safety.
When they were in high school, I thought that Sheffield was a better pure cover corner than Fitzpatrick, though not nearly as much of a playmaker.
Now, it looks like he may have the inside track to starting outside, opposite of Marlon Humphrey. In other words, the Tide's top three corners could be 5-star recruits... and all are either sophomores or juniors. Combine that thought with Jonathan Allen, D'Shawn Hand, Ryan Anderson, and Tim Williams rushing the QB and a lighter, faster Reuben Foster patrolling the middle of the field, and it's looking more and more like this has the potential to be the best pass defense that college football has seen in years.
Tennessee Titans running backs Derrick Henry and David Cobb both ran well in Monday night's scrimmage at Nissan Stadium. Veteran DeMarco Murray started the first couple of series Monday night with Henry and Cobb getting the bulk of the carries.
Coach Mularkey on what he saw from the two: "I had the best view. They had great vision and I loved that they pressed the holes. You want them to get the defense to commit. They set up their runs. They split some (tackles). Those were real runs, especially down in the red zone. Those were real plays."
Looks like Derrick Henry is getting more comfortable with NFL practices already. There's a video floating around twitter somewhere of him scoring a touchdown with Jalson Fowler as his lead blocker while running behind Chance Warmack. Roll Tide.
"I've loved what we have seen from him," Carroll said. "As much as (offensive tackle and first-round pick) Germain (Ifedi) on the offensive side has set the tone for the young guys, the approach they are bringing, I think Jarran is doing the same thing on the other side.
"He was billed coming in as a terrific run defender; he is going to be that, the way I can see it, and that's just after a week of working with him. He has great technique. He is very, very solid. He was prepared very well at Alabama. All of that carries over for us. He is very good with his hands, he's got a real sense for the ball, but most of all he's really tough and he's physical and we love that part of him. So he has looked really good at the start."
Reed said being a leader, even as a rookie, "just stems from wanting to be there for your teammates, wanting to be there for your brothers."
Like Alabama, the Seattle Seahawks like to operate with a heavy rotation of unique defensive linemen for every situation. Coach Carroll has been extremely vocal with his praise for Reed ever since they traded way up in the second round in order to snag Reed before he fell any further. He will likely be part of the regular rotation along the interior of the line for one of the best defenses in the NFL and will get to learn from very different, talented, veteran lineman like Michael Bennett, Ahtyba Rubin, and Cliff Avril.
Before embarking on their quest for their fifth national championship in eight seasons, here are five guarantees you can expect from the Crimson Tide for the 2016 campaign:
5. Alabama will lead the SEC in sacks
Adding Jeremy Pruitt to the defensive staff is like throwing gasoline on an open flame when it comes to pressure and the Crimson Tide's front seven cupboard is filled with matches. Pruitt's a dial-it-up master and now has the depth — a luxury he didn't possess at Georgia — to terrorize opposing offenses all the way through the College Football Playoff. Eclipsing last year’s nation-leading 52 sacks as a unit is the gold standard and barring injury, Tim Williams and Co. will challenge that number.
Looks like 247 is participating in Gump Day too. They also :guarantee that Calvin Ridley's production will increase, the QB will not be a weakness, The Tide will go 7-0 at home while beating USC, and won't lose to Ole Miss again.
That is some real Gumpin'.