If word around town is that Jalen Hurts hasn’t taken the steps forward to separate himself from the rest of the group after being named SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, it’s going to create some consternation and high interest in how Tua Tagovailoa looks in the spring game.
This is part of CBS’ projected worst case scenarios for the spring. I would peg this one at 99.997% “what are we going to write about” rather than a real area of concern. Spring at Alabama isn’t about taking the steps to be the starter, it’s genuinely about fundamentals, the playbook, and technique. Jalen Hurts isn’t going to lose his starting job in camp — be that in March or August. If he loses his starting job it will be beacuse of his play on the field. In other words, that’s a dim longshot. And, no, that will not change even if Tua looks like the second coming of Randall Cunningham on A-Day. And, I say that because that is exactly who he reminds me of. If you’re not child-frighteningly old like Josh is, look up some of Randall’s UNLV or Phildaelphia Eagles highlights.
“I can’t really tell you after one day of practice who’s doing great at offensive line. It’s hard to evaluate those guys in the offseason program,” head coach Nick Saban said at the start of spring practice. “There’s nobody that struggles more in the offseason program than the big guys. It’s good for them. The skill guys look great doing it, but the big guys don’t look so good.”
Good piece on how the offseason affects linemen the most. There is no personnel grouping the relies on reps more, nor is there one for whom the weight room is the hardest.
Five-star Alabama point guard signee Collin Sexton wowed the crowd at the McDonald's All-American Dunk Contest Monday night, winning the competition on his final turn over Oregon and UCLA signees Troy Brown and Jaylen Hands.
Goodness, I’m drooling over the prospect of Sexton in the open floor next year. As I’ve said since February, I didn’t so much unbuckle on 2016 as I #Prebuckled for 2017.
The Patriots, on the other hand, are built around inside receiver option routes. For years and years they’ve plugged in fresh faces in the slot, who have learned to mind-meld with Tom Brady and control the ball with quick tosses against overmatched linebackers and safeties. Even as a TE coach, Daboll would have been responsible for training guys like Gronk or Martellus Bennett to execute that system, in addition to teaching them their blocking assignments in the Pats’ gap-oriented run game.
Want to take a look at what offensive wrinkles Daboll could bring to the college game? If it translates, it would be devastating.
Anthony Averett began to tighten up halfway through the 40-yard sprint, slowing down as he finished the run instead of pushing like he normally would.
Still, Averett ran a 4.45 40.
It was further proof of the New Jersey native's speed.
There aren't many players that can run a 4.45 40 healthy. Alabama's redshirt cornerback posted that time while dealing with pain from a mild sports hernia that's bothered him since the second game of last season
Every spring we find about guys who had all-star years despite being injured the entire season. One of this year’s candidate is a player who wound being the Tide’s best lockdown corner despite playing with a sports hernia — the super athletic Anthony Averett, of whom much is expected this season.
Both the NFL and NCAA currently outlaw leaps in which a leaper who didn’t line up on the line of scrimmage jumps and lands on another player. An NCAA committee has proposed expanding the college rule to ban leaping whether the leaper lands on someone else or not.
There are some loopholes in the current college rule, and it’s not clear if those would survive. The biggest is that a player can’t be penalized if he leaps from the neutral zone or the other team’s side of it. That provision is what most clearly allowed Penn State’s Marcus Allen to leap and block a kick against Ohio State last year, leading to a touchdown runback that turned the Big Ten race on its head.
The stated reason is, as always, player safety: guys can get tangled up landing, fall on their heads and a whole host of reasons. In the NFL, where this rule originated, it may make a little more sense to protect multimillionaire startes from freak plays that everyone is half-assing; but, in the college game, where special teams result in far more turnarounds and astonishing plays, this seems to just be fear-mongering to the detriment of the sport. I honestly can’t remember the last time, if at all, where the leaping player was catastrophically injured as a result of leaping and not landing on another player.
“Hopefully, I’m set in a kind of concrete position, but I still have to come out and bust my butt every day and get better,” Bozeman said. “This year, I’m really looking forward to coming out and really perfecting my craft at the center position.”
On the defensive side, junior defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne is one of the veterans hoping to expand his role. Payne has contributed to the team for two years now.
“It’s something new, because being from where I came from, I just like to sit back and listen and just learn,” Payne said. “But now guys are coming to me asking me for advice and stuff. It’s something like a learning curve.”
An interesting look at who the leaders wiil hace to be or who is already stepping up to fill the roles vacated by one of Alabama’s most decorated classes: Payne, Bozeman, Ridley are all some names to keep an eye on early as 2017 develops, and it’s safe to say that we can add Minkah’s name here already.
Practice starts back today, and we’ll have coverage of that tomorrow. But, for now, go forth to enjoying a beautiful spring day.