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Jumbo Package: Offensive line shaping up; Alabama is focused after title; practice notes

Jeremy Pruitt, Jonathan Allen, Nick Saban among many that have lit a fire under this team as the depth chart starts to come into focus.

Beefy, sexy.
Beefy, sexy.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Remember, 2010? The coaches still do.

A very nice quote for the "will Alabama let complacency doom it" crowd, a yearly favorite talking point among the national guys who, for some reason, after 25 years still don't understand Nick Saban.

Pruitt: It's easy to sell Alabama

He said the Crimson Tide defense is searching for its own identity.

"Our kids are buying into the fact that we have not done anything," Pruitt said. "I was here before when we had some success, won a championship in 2009, and the next year we couldn’t hardly get over ourselves. We have had a little bit better transition because we’ve experienced it before and understand the growing pains. We’ve got to get over ourselves. That’s over with."

Also noted in the article, Jonathan Allen makes the point that if you rest on your laurels on this team, you will not start period. The coaches won't let you and the guys hungry for your spot won't allow it either.

Practice notes

Practice report: Tide dons full pads for first time

Freshman wide receiver Trevon Diggs worked exclusively with the safeties Monday, wearing a crimson No. 7 jersey. During yesterday’s open practice Diggs practiced with both the wide receivers and defensive backs.

During individual drills, Reuben Foster and Shaun Hamilton led the inside linebacker group. Rashaan Evans and Keith Holcombe were behind them, followed by Joshua McMillon and Keaton Anderson. Evans worked alongside Foster during yesterday’s entire open practice, while Hamilton was with Holcombe with what appeared to be the second-team defense.

For a fourth straight practice, the same five players made up what appears to be the first-team offensive line. From left to right: Cam Robinson, Lester Cotton, Ross Pierschbacher, Bradley Bozeman and Jonah Williams.

It's looking more and more like the right side of the line is coming into shape while Shank serves his double-secret probation. He's still not out of the doghouse, though he is practicing. The bigger question here is the backups, with Womack and Warmack ready to also fill in on the right side, will Taylor get a chance to see the field in 2016?

The left side? That's just sexy as hell. And, Diggs, who has athletic potential all over the field, is looking to earn p/t at safety this season after the exodus of Burgess-Becker, the suspension of Tony Brown (and shuffling of Minkah Fitzpatrick,) the uncertainty of Hootie Jones etc. Alabama's last two years of loading up on DBs is going to be tested this season out of necessity.

Alabama Crimson Tide OC Lane Kiffin: Running back depth is a big challenge Bo Scarbrough

"I would think it would be more of a shared role," Kiffin said.

"Last year was very unique, having a guy carry the ball 90 times in a seven-day span. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of that before. That was a very special player. I don’t know that anybody could do that. That’s because of his build, but (also) the way that Derrick worked every day at practice. "He’s a story for years and years and years for these guys to continue to tell and pass down, because that guy -- like the year before with Amari (Cooper) -- those were our best players each year, but those were our hardest workers."

As we speculated earlier this month, given the different talents of the different RBs in Alabama's backfield, this season is going to see much more of a platoon system rather than just riding one horse. And, that suits me just fine. Bo and Damien are very different players. Gore is little nicked up at the moment, and that opens the door for my bae BJ Emmons to earn some snaps, as well as his entering classmate, Joshua Jacobs. The unit grouping is as versatile as you'll see in college football.

Okay, this I buy

Two potential trap games for the Crimson Tide in 2016 :: Belk Sports

The most dangerous trap game for Alabama is the home game against Texas A&M on October 22. This game will be the 8th straight game for Alabama without an off week. This is on the same spot on the schedule as the Tennessee game last year when it was obvious Alabama was running on fumes and barely escaped disaster against the Big Orange Rifle Brigade with a late fourth quarter touchdown to pull off a 19-14 victory. The Tide plays three straight SEC games before the College Station Canines. Alabama plays Kentucky at home then very tough road games at Arkansas and a possible top ten match up against Tennessee on the road. How much gas will Alabama have left in the tank for the Aggies?

This game actually does concern me a bit for the reasons listed above: the 8th straight game, after b2b roadies against Arkansas & Tennessee, against a team with tremendous talent, a much improved defense, AND looking forward to a bye week and the showdown versus LSU? That's nightmare fuel, especially since I firmly believe Sumlin is coaching for his job this season.

A naysayer

5 reasons Alabama shouldn't be favored to win the SEC in 2016 | FOX Sports

The center is the anchor of the offensive line and generally the guy who helps audible blocking schemes, meaning his role is crucial to any team, especially one with a new QB. It's also why, on at least some level, even Saban seems concerned. Prior to his dust-up over Robinson, Saban spoke to the SEC Network on the importance of the position, saying: "The center is the most critical position on the front, regardless of who the QB is."

I'd be more worried about center if we didn't know that, since practically the day after the Clemson game, the Alabama staff hadn't moved Pierschbacher to the spot. He's a smart, athletic, and just nasty kid. I truly think Alabama is going to be set at center. Now, identifying a quarterback to let him develop rapport with may be the biggest issue early there.

A believer

Alabama Crimson Tide will repeat and other 2016 season predictions

1. Alabama will win the national championship. Again. Alabama's season will look a lot like the last one -- the Crimson Tide will struggle at quarterback early, might even lose to Ole Miss again, and then they'll figure it out and start rolling. By the end of the regular season, Alabama's running game will be punishing people and its defense will be stuffing everyone. Alabama coach Nick Saban will win his fifth national title in 10 years in Tuscaloosa and his sixth overall (he won one at LSU), which will tie him with legendary Tide coach Paul "Bear" Bryant for the most in major college football history.

Mark Schlabach has been around enough to give Saban and the recruiting the benefit of the doubt. And, I think he's right too -- Alabama's offense is going to take some time to find itself this season...again. And, yes, a loss to Ole Miss is very possible...again....and I will hang myself from the I-55 bridge. But, this team has no pressure on it this year: It is being written off or doubted already, and that makes this a dangerous Crimson Tide team.

Charlot, Baldwin find a new home -- and man, is it shitty

Kansas scoops up its second Alabama transfer of the week | FOX Sports

Charles Baldwin, ranked by some recruiting sites as the top junior college O-lineman in the 2016 signing class, said he was going to Kansas as well. Alabama had dismissed the 6-foot-5, 315-pound former five-star prospect in May for a "violation of team rules." Both players will have to sit out the 2016 season at KU.

Daylon Charlot announced his transfer to KU on Sunday. On Monday, dismissed Charles Baldwin announced he'd join him in Lawrence.

Okay, this is plainly Samyra.

Maurice Smith, parents speak out about ongoing battle with Alabama |

It essentially started with an email last November. Working around football, Smith's mother has seen players at various schools become scholarship limit casualties and have their scholarships pulled. She says she was concerned that could happen to Maurice, who had gone from the favorite to win the Tide's nickel back job entering fall camp last year to playing strictly on special teams. So she sent an email to Saban. In it, she expressed an interest in talking either in person or on the phone to talk about post-graduation plans since Maurice was originally on pace to graduate in May.

Helicopter momma, dirty dealings, and weaponized butthurt from the media. WHEE!

The best thing on satellite camps you'll read

Reviewing the wild, controversial summer of satellite camps

"These trainers give the implication, 'Well, you're not getting looked at, so let's take you to this Michigan satellite camp or this Oklahoma State or OU satellite camp, and I'm going to get you recruited by all the big-time schools,'" Sexton said. "This trainer is going to tell them 'Hey, you're good enough to play at Michigan or OU,' so he can continue to put his hand in their pocket. Players are going to come up with that money any which way they can because this guy is telling them the things they want to hear. I had a trainer tell one of my kids, 'We need to go to this Michigan camp because it's going to get you the looks you need.' I've already got his parents coming back to us asking, 'This guy got our foot in the door at this Michigan, so why didn't an offer materialize?'"

One of the finest pros and cons against the camps I've ever read. Lots of great quotes, NCAA considerations, and the fact this is, and even coaches now openly admit, about recruiting.

Awwww, Sir Charles and Nickie Lou

Auburn alum Charles Barkley praises Nick Saban for giving Alabama players second chances -

Saban compared his policy to life as a parent.

"When it comes to football players, we’re trying to change their behavior. As people, we’re trying to change their behavior and make them better. I think everyone can understand if they ever have children of their own, that your children sometimes disappoint you. They do things that you wish that they didn’t do, that embarrass you, but we don’t throw them out of the house. We try to come up with ways that we can change their behavior.

"So that’s where I always focus on the guy. Where a lot of people see discipline as punishment, and they want punitive action, kick the guy off the team, how does that change his behavior? Or suspend him for a bunch of games. Well, he did something in March and now we’re going to suspend him for games in September? I mean, where, there are a lot of things you can do in between to help a guy understand or change his behavior. And I’ve had a lot more success with helping guys than I have by doing that than I have just by being punitive.

"Right now, what people in the media think is ‘Oh, you just don’t want to suspend him because he’s a good player. Well, that’s not true. I do that with every player on our team. And sometimes when guys do things and it happens over and over and over, then maybe you have to take playing away from them. And that’s something that’s meaningful to them and that’s the only thing that will change their behavior. But I don’t think that’s always the first step. Most of our players respond very well to it and appreciate it."

The complete video is on the OUR FRONT PAGE AND JOSH GOT THERE FIRST (ed., corrected) and you should watch it. Above is just the transcript RE: discipline.


Have a great day, and have you hated Tennessee today?