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Jumbo Package: Tide passing game “tore up” secondary; Diggs turning heads at CB

Good news: The passing game looks great!

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Alabama
Trevon Diggs is a better athlete than you
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Scrimmages are the definition of a zero-sum game. All gains come at the expense of another unit. And, on Saturday’s first scrimmage, the passing game looked phenomenal against a “lazy” secondary that did not respect the deep throws of Jalen Hurts et al. And, by the time the defense got its head into the scrimmage, the receivers and QBs still abused the secondary with great routes and clutch throws.

Alabama DB: Tide QBs 'tore up' defense in spring scrimmage

“The receivers played real good and the quarterbacks were putting them in good position, putting the ball on the money,” Jones said. “There wasn’t anything we could do, for real. We were already playing lazy and they were tearing us up. I don’t even know what else to say.”

Saban said it was “pretty obvious to me that we don’t have enough respect for the deep part of the field,” and Jones agreed with Saban that the defensive backfield was “playing very lazy out there and not respecting our keys that we’ve been told to respect at all times.”

“We didn’t think they were going to pass it that much, but when we did think they were going to pass it, we (thought) it was gonna be short passes,” Jones said. “And that was killing the defense. Honestly. I can’t sugar coat it.”

BOL’s media viewing of the DL practice. D’Shawn Hand has emerged as the leader of a retooled Tide front. Keep an eye on Buggs and Davis too; they are going to be monsters.

Alabama Crimson Tide football Nick Saban Da'Shawn Hand Da'Ron Payne Isaiah Buggs Raekwon Davis

Check out several tidbits from the media viewing portion of Alabama’s Monday spring football practice.

The changes on the OL yesterday featured some shuffling at the ever-revolving right guard spot: oft-benched Lester Cotton was passed over in Monday’s practice for Chris Owens, who took most of the snaps with the Ones.


Nick Saban still not happy: 'Paranoia' over summer camps is 'ridiculous'

We may have 50 guys in each camp that are really prospects. The rest of the 550 are just high school players that really want to get better and help their team and prove themselves and work hard. That’s the kind of camps we have.

“When you pass rules that are basically, I guess, for recruiting purposes — I guess the reason a high school coach is not supposed to work a camp is because he might bring one of his players or he might bring 20 of his players. All 20 may not be prospects. None of them might be prospects, maybe one. So obviously that’s not going to happen. It’s great experience for the young guys to come to camp and experience a place like Alabama or any SEC school for that matter.”

I was speaking to a coach yesterday about the new, restrictive camp rules that disallow high school coaches from traveling to volunteer at NCAA events, and I detest them for so many reasons. First, it implies that high school coaches can’t be trusted. Second, as he notes, it deprives those guys of career skills and and drills that they can then use to make their athletes better. Finally, as Saban rants, this really screws over the 90% of attendees who otherwise would never have gotten a chance to be on an SEC field or benefit from SEC coaching. The pendulum has swung too far in the enforcement direction.

Love this

With the late season implosions and injuries, people have forgotten that Todd Graham can coach. His treatise on mathematics and tempo and angles is just lovely. Students of the game will love this.

Todd Graham: More teams should huddle, because they don't understand tempo

I think a lot of people nowadays might as well huddle up. All they’re doing is just (tempo for the sake of tempo). We’re not that. We want to push the pace, but there’s a way you do that. You don’t just hurry up. You have to manage tempo. I’m talking about managing snaps.”

Graham then dropped some numbers.

“For instance, if you turn the football over, you’re going to play five less snaps on average,” he said. “For every three-and-out, you’re losing two to three snaps. Possession and 10, your first first down, if you get it, it’s going to up how many snaps you get. Football is mathematics.”

Arizona State HC says he thinks Billy Napier is 'pissed' he was passed over for Bama OC job

New Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier would have you believe otherwise, but Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham probably expects Napier to coach with a bit of a chip on his shoulder this fall.

“I think Billy was pissed because he was passed over [at Alabama for Steve] Sarkisian and all that,” Graham said according to CBS Sports.

Napier can be pissed all he wants. His returns as an OC in 2010 were such that Dabo Swinney fired him — not even demotion him; outright fired. If you have the chance to maintain continuity with the offense by promoting Sark, you do so. Can’t fault Saban for that call at all. And, by the time the offense had opened back up, Napier had accepted a promotion at ASU.

You can wish him good luck on moving back up the coaching ladder, but it seems that Billy (and Blake) will be throwing a pity party in Tempe about how mean Nick Saban is.


Alabama LB expected to undergo surgery |

Alabama inside linebacker Keith Holcombe is expected to have surgery on his labrum in the near future, the school's baseball coach, Greg Goff, said Monday.

"That may be sooner than later," Goff explained, according to a transcript of his news conference posted by "It may be a situation where after spring football, he may have that surgery."

Holcombe, a RS Jr. had 24 tackles and a PBU last season as a key reserve. He has signaled that he is going to focus on football more, so healing up for the 2017 season is critical for a linebacking corps who needs every experienced hand on deck.

Method acting

New Alabama left tackle shares trick behind position swap |

A student of the game, Williams explained the left tackle position is less of the vanity position it once was considering the how many throws are made from a traditional pocket anymore.

"There's a stigma to it, but it's not the 1980s anymore with Steve Wallace and Joe Montana and stuff like that," Williams said. "It's not as big of a difference, you know. The quarterback looking on the left side of the field is not the blind spot anymore. It's not a huge difference like that. There's a stigma that goes along with the title, but it's just a title."

Good stuff here on the things Williams is doing to transition to a more southpaw way of thinking. In high school, Jonah played both tackle spots, so it’s not that much of a stretch for him. With a lefty on the bench, that versatility may come in handy if Hurts goes down.

More DB shuffle

Alabama practice report: Updating injury to key reserve, noting a special birthday |

It looked like safety Jared Mayden was doing more in Monday's practice as he recovers from a hip injury. He was running in the drills with the defensive backs. He had been off to the side doing rehab work in previous practices. Mayden looked strong running, no signs of pain bothering him.

-- After what sounded like a rough day for the defensive backs in the scrimmage, the same rotation appeared with the first team. Minkah Fitzpatrick remains with the safeties with Trevon Diggs at cornerback.

-- In the dime formation, Hootie Jones was the sixth defensive back.

-- Redshirt freshman Nigel Knott was working with the second wave of cornerbacks with Shyheim Carter at star. It also looked like Keaton Anderson was back with the safeties for in that group.

Last week, when I covered Mayden, I put him with the safeties, where I think his physicality is a better fit. He’s a little banged up and has now transitioned to the safety corps, along with former linebacker Keaton Anderson. The young duo of Nigel Nott and Shyheim Carter have made great improvement and will probably be part of your second team corners.

Keep an eye on fast-rising uber-athlete Trevon Diggs. He was one of the few bright spots on a secondary that got lit up Saturday. He will more than likely go into A-Day at starting corner opposite Anthony Averett. Diggs has had a helluva’ camp and has shown some promise adapting to DB. He is the Tide’s most versatile athlete and it’s showing in Spring camp. If these 10 practices are any indication, he may very well be starting against FSU: he has displayed some natural tendencies making a play on the ball, has the speed to cover anyone on the field, and can get his head around and high-point in coverage.