Happy Friday, everyone. We finally have some long-awaited football practice to report on. As usual, the information is rather redundant as the many beat writers observed the same things, but there are typically a couple of unique nuggets in each. We'll just bring them all for you to peruse along with other pertinent stuff, then close out with video of the oft-cited Saban press conference. On to it:
Joining Robinson along the offensive line was Lester Cotton at left guard, Ross Pierschbacher at center, Dallas Warmack at right guard and Bradley Bozeman at right tackle.
The second offensive line had Korren Kirven at left tackle, Chris Owens at left guard, J.C. Hassenauer at center, Brandon Kennedy at right guard and Jonah Williams at right tackle.
Well, that is certainly a change on the starting right side from the A-Day line-up of Kennedy and Williams. It would surprise no one if a Warmack stepped up and took a starting role, would it? Also, Shank was apparently demoted all the way down to third string at best. This battle will continue throughout camp. The left side seems pretty well set, however, and it looks absolutely ferocious. It's hard to imagine a better threesome to run behind than Robinson, Cotton, and Pierschbacher.
On the Maurice Smith deal, Saban got testy when a reporter wouldn't accept his assertion that he had nothing else to say about the matter beyond the statement released by the University yesterday. At this point it seems clear that Smith will not be playing at UGA but that he will be fully supported in a transfer outside the conference. All that can be said has been at this point.
-- Left tackle Cam Robinson was moving at full speed after missing spring practice with a shoulder injury.
-- Freshman linebacker Mack Wilson was practicing after suffering a few off-season injuries. He appeared to be moving well. Wilson was practicing with the middle linebackers along with fellow five-star freshman Ben Davis.
Needless to say, it is cause for alarm any time we see Bo Scarbrough limping as observed by all on hand. As you can see, Saban said it was simply cramps and that he had to get loose. Great news on Mack Wilson. Many of us had assumed that he would take a redshirt following surgery to repair his meniscus in the summer, but it now looks as though he may have an opportunity to play on special teams as he works his way into a very crowded linebacker field.
The quarterback line was unchanged from what we saw in the spring with Cooper Bateman leading the position group and David Cornwell, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts taking reps behind the redshirt junior. When they broke into two lines, Bateman led one, while Cornwell led the other. Barnett and Hurts lined up behind the veterans, respectively.
Absolutely nothing to report here, and there won't be for some time. Saban did mention that Cornwell was a little behind the other three due to a foot issue he had been dealing with over the summer. My personal prediction is that David becomes a grad transfer next fall. He's sort of the square peg in a Kiffin-made round hole of true dual-threat quarterbacks.
Despite coming from coaching the Buffalo Bills in his previous job, first-year offensive line coach Karl Dunbar seemed already acclimated to the Alabama heat. He was donning long sleeves and sweat pants during practice
Coach Dunbar is old school to the core and brings a no-nonsense, lunch pail approach to the unit, complete with a nasty mean streak. He may not recruit like Bo Davis did, but he will coach these men up. Raekwon Davis was spotted by all of the beat writers as he stands out like a six-foot-seven-inch sore thumb. The man is a behemoth.
Quarterback has always been vitally important in college football. But in today’s world, with spread offenses going supersonic, more points piling up than ever before, the position may never have been more of a catalyst to success. Except at Alabama. Maybe you’ve heard: For the third consecutive season the Crimson Tide will have a new quarterback. But perhaps you’ve seen: It might not much matter. Or at least, not as much as it does everywhere else.
The headline isn't intended to suggest that Alabama's QBs are all bad, just that they don't know who it will be. They are correct, however, that the Tide's fortunes do not rest on the play of the QB the way that some teams, such as Clemson, will this season. In fact, this may well be the culmination of Saban's master plan: three capable passers in Bateman, Barnett, and Hurts, all of similar skill-sets, any of whom can capably lead the offense. Few teams can honestly say that they can lose a starting QB to injury without missing a beat. The 2016 Tide may well be in that position.
Offensive players who are outside the tackle box at the snap, and those who leave the tackle box after the snap, may only block an opponent below the waist if the force of the initial contact is directly at the opponent's front. However, they may not block an opponent below the waist in a direction toward the original position of the ball unless the ball carrier has clearly crossed the line of scrimmage.
A summary of the important rule changes for 2016. The blocking below the waist deal on players who leave the tackle box is interesting. It's not uncommon to see a tackle diving at the feet of a cornerback on a screen pass. With this change, he will have to be especially careful that he gets all the way around before doing so.
Gus Malzahn [Auburn] The Tigers have lost nine of their last 11 SEC games. The "Gus Bus" is up on cinderblocks. Auburn has a brutal schedule this year. They play Clemson, Texas A&M, and LSU in September. They have road trips to Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama. If Malzahn still can’t find a quarterback, things could go sour quickly. Yes, he took Auburn to the BCS title game in 2014. But, he’s already received more patience than Terry Bowden, Tommy Tuberville, and Gene Chizik did at Auburn.
This list ls littered with SEC names, including Malzahn, Miles, and Sumlin. Saban is a coach killer, y'all.
So, if you’re one of those clamoring for this thing to go to eight – and for the record, I am most definitely not – you should root for the two-teams-from-one conference scenario to start occurring regularly. The more leagues that experience watching the playoff from the sideline, the more their collective angst will grow.
I'm not either, Stewart. If Alabama and LSU are as good as advertised, there does exist the possibility of another postseason rematch, however.
Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore, gaining 6.5 yards per attempt, but averaged a full four yards per carry AFTER contact, according to Pro Football Focus. His 85 broken tackles led the country. He is a bruising back who rag-dolls defenders (just ask Auburn), but he also has sprinter’s speed to go the distance.
LSU certainly deserves the top spot here, but at the end of the season it will look silly that Alabama didn't crack the top ten.
"He's such a good guy," Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN. "He's such a good person, and he wants to please everyone. And I think sometimes when guys have that personality, which is a great personality to have, it makes it very difficult to disappoint anyone with the word 'No.'"
$1.6 million in under a year? Just damn. Now you know how professional athletes end up broke.
Press Conference Video:
That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.