Happy Friday, everyone. The Tide will have their first contact scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow. Here are your latest practice reports:
Running back Najee Harris was limited during practice on Thursday. Harris stood near the running backs holding two footballs, but he did not participate in any drills.
Linebacker Jamey Mosley was back on the field, but he wore a black, non-contact jersey and did not participate in any drills.
Freshman linebacker VanDarius Cowan is still wearing a black, non-contact jersey.
Cornerback Anthony Averett was limited to start drills.
-- Nothing has changed with the offensive line. Matt Womack is still working at right tackle next to Lester Cotton at guard.
-- When they walked through the nickel defense, Trevon Diggs remained at cornerback with Minkah Fitzpatrick at safety. Remember coaches said Fitzpatrick was comfortable playing any of the six defensive back positions.
One special teams position that will be one to watch is punt and kickoff returner. Trevon Diggsand Xavian Marks have the most experience of returning players at the positions, but during the team’s open practice last Saturday, we saw a true freshman trot onto to field to catch Scott’s first punts of the day -- wide receiver Henry Ruggs. And that could continue.
“He’s done a nice job in practice,” Saban said of Ruggs. “He’s got really good ball judgment, he’s very explosive and he’s instinctive as a runner. We have a little more experience back there with a couple guys that did it last year, so I feel a little more comfortable in that part of it.
Sounds like the entire operation -- from snapper, to holder to kicker -- is still somewhat up in the air. Based on Saban's comments about issues with kicking against a live rush, here's my advice: anticipate the need for punter JK Scott to handle placements as well against Florida State. If freshman Joseph Bulovas proves capable of taking on some of that load in the opener, consider it a bonus. By the way, have I ever mentioned that I've coached/evaluated/fathered kickers? Juuuuuuust sayin'.
Don’t like hearing that Najee and Averett are limited, though minor issues this early in camp usually aren’t cause for alarm. The offensive line remains stable, which is a good sign. Not sure what to make of Diggs sticking at first team CB. He has either made great strides or the other options have not.
Special teams sound rather nausea-inducing at this point. As Reier mentions, he has a background working with kickers and doesn’t sound terribly impressed with what he has seen thus far. Apparently the whole process has been off, from snapping to timing to kicking. Cole Mazza may be an underrated loss. We will be keeping an eye on this one.
Harrison is from Tallahassee, home of the Seminoles. He has spent a lot of time on campus, been to numerous games and attended the program’s junior day as a recruit. Only he didn’t sign with FSU for one crucial reason.
“They never offered,” he said.
Hopefully Ronnie can use this motivation productively. That means below the chin, Ronnie, and no fights. Speaking of Ronnie:
One interesting factor for Alabama’s chances with Joseph is the fact that his legal guardian is one of Tide safety Ronnie Harrison’s cousins. Harrison and Joseph have a very strong bond. When Joseph visited last week, he spent a lot of time with Harrison. He’s also close with Deionte Thompson.
“Ronnie and I are very close, so I guess you can say like we are cousins,” Joseph said. “Ronnie and DT are on me hard. They’re telling me that they know I can come in and play. Ronnie would probably be leaving (next season), but it will be really fun to play with DT.”
Sounds like the Tide have a good shot at landing Joseph, but he kind of let the cat out of the bag on Harrison. Enjoy this secondary, folks.
Former Alabama consensus All-American Javier Arenas has joined the Alabama staff, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.
Arenas’ role is yet to be defined. The former standout defensive back and returner has been spotted at the Crimson Tide’s practices this week. He has been shadowing the coaching staff to determine if coaching is something the 29 year old wants to pursue.
Another Saban vet working in the program.
Jonathan Allen did what Jonathan Allen does:
Textbook, as always.
Last but not least, the basketball team finished out its Canadian tour:
The Tide was without three key players, as freshman point guard Collin Sexton joined Dazon Ingram (foot) and Herb Jones (concussion) on the bench. With Sexton not playing, the starting lineup consisted of Avery Johnson Jr., John Petty, Braxton Key, Alex Reese and Daniel Giddens.
In his seventh start at Alabama, Johnson Jr. led the Tide with 15 points as its main option at point guard. He was one of six players to score double-digit points, along with Riley Norris(13), Key (12), Donta Hall (11), Petty (11) and Ar'Mond Davis (10).
Alabama shot 43.5 percent (30-of-69) from the field and 27.3 (6-of-22) from three-point range. UA out-rebounded the Gee-Gees by 11 (54-43) and its bench outscored Ottawa, 34-9.
The Tide won two of three, the loss coming to a Carleton team that has won 13 of the past 15 national titles north of the border. Sexton had an injury of some sort in that Carleton game, but Avery says he’s fine.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.