For a week, we’ve heard the overreaction from opposing fans (and some of our own,) regarding Da’Shawn Hand’s DUI arrest last Friday. Today, at the conclusion of practice, Coach Nick Saban gave some more details and put to rest any notion that Hand will be suspended provided Hand complies with his internal discipline.
First, the keys weren’t even in the ignition, much less was the vehicle running. By all accounts, he just had too much to drink and decided to sleep it off in his car. Alabama, however, is a “dominion” state -- this means if you possess the instrumentalities to move the vehicle (such as sitting in your car with the keys in the ignition, on your person, etc.) the law presumes that you have driven the vehicle or have the intent to do so.
That’s what happened here, although Hand never drove his vehicle.
Saban on Da'Shawn Hand: He put himself in a bad situation, but the fact that he didn't drive the car ... He did not put other people at risk— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) August 3, 2017
Saban on Da'Shawn Hand: "If he does everything he's supposed to do, he won't be suspended."— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) August 3, 2017
In essence, Da’Shawn Hand will have hell to pay internally. He’ll also have his day in court. However, I would be remarkably surprised if he weren’t selected for Diversion or otherwise had the charges reduced -- the same thing that would happen to you or I or anyone else with an otherwise-clean record.
“... I have two choices. I can punish the guy for putting himself in a bad situation, aight, but making a pretty good decision after he put himself in that situation. Or we can take the situation that he put himself in, which is drinking, aight, and have him assessed for that and try to help him so he can make better choices and decisions in the future.
“Whether than worry about the punishment part of it, we put him 48-hour in-patient for assessment purposes. Professional people assess what he needs to do, what we need to do with him and that’s what we will do with him. Because he put himself in that situation, we’ll give him community service and a police ride around and some different things to help him.
“And if he does everything he’s supposed to do, he will not be suspended.”
Other highlights of the opening day include:
- Praise of Jalen Hurts’ development, particularly his “knowledge, understanding and confidence. He’s really improved as a passer.”
- The secondary is in flux as players settle in, particularly with where Minkah Fitzpatrick will play. Saban said that Minkah can play either safety or corner so well, that it will depend on the development of those around him as to where he actually suits up this season. For my part, I’d love to see the corners solidify: No. 29 is at his best when he can be a free-ranging playmaker.
- As he has done since March, Saban emphasized the need for Alabama to develop its own internal chemistry and its identity as a team. Of course, he added a snarky aside about how a preseason poll couldn’t do that for him. You know he hates the expectations those things put on his guys.
- Another frequent emphasis was on players learning consistency, especially “all the new faces.” Inconsistency in the little things cost the Tide last season and he is not quick to let the players (or us) forget it.
- Otherwise, it was a “good practice,” very high energy with everyone ready to get out on the field.
Before we leave, let’s share this with you though -- the passing game is going to be dreamy.