Happy Monday, everyone. It was a pretty terrible sports weekend, to be frank. Baseball and softball dropped a combined five of six against good, but beatable, competition and Tua Tagovailoa had to sit out the second spring scrimmage because of his hand. First off, the Outwork video:
The scrimmage was indoors due to the weather and there was very little information disseminated, but here’s what we have:
“Tua had a little setback [Friday] with his hand,” Saban said. “Doctors are trying to evaluate the best course of action and what we do with him the remainder of the spring. With that said, I can’t really tell you anymore about — he didn’t take any snaps [Saturday]. He didn’t take a lot of snaps [Friday].
“We’re going to try to protect this to make sure that this thing is not going to be an issue for him in the fall.”
With a week to go, there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of steam for A-Day. That seems to have been true at most SEC schools. The quarterback that got the most attention in Saturday’s round of games around the SEC wasn’t Drew Lock at Missouri or Feleipe Franks at Florida. It was Johnny Manziel, doing the nostalgia thing on the sideline at Texas A&M. Even if Tagovailoa plays in some limited capacity in Alabama’s game, he was never going to come out and do an encore of his second-half performance against Georgia.
At this point it will be surprising if Tua plays on Saturday, and that does deflate the balloon a bit. As Cecil notes later in his piece, however, the defense is the greater question mark anyway. There are exactly ten scholarship DBs currently on campus. You’d have to assume that six of them will be assigned to the first unit for dime work in ones vs. ones, leaving some hijinks in the second unit that should be exploited by Mac Jones. Of course, thanks to the injury bug, Mac’s receivers will be limited as guys like Derek Kief and Chardarius Townsend likely get moved over to the first team. In fact, it’s highly plausible that Mac’s top target will be Mac Hereford, which is exciting because Macs are known for being in sync with one another.
In fact, Locksley does not seem to have a position to coach. He recently appeared to be filling in with the tight ends while Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach Jeff Banks was involved with the kickers.
Before this tweak of the Saban system, the biggest question regarding offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach would be whether he would be in the press box or on the sideline during games. Now it could be that Quarterbacks Coach Enos is on the sideline to give his players immediate feedback and Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley could be in the press box, perhaps as play-caller.
This is an interesting thought. In past seasons Saban had to choose between having his QB coach in the press box or his play-caller on the sideline, and having both duties made it tough to do either effectively. Locksley is now able to touch all position groups at practice and focus solely on scheme during the games while Enos spends 100% of his time on QB execution.
“I think he’s a lot more confident this year in terms of understanding what he’s supposed to do,” Saban said following Saturday’s second spring scrimmage. “I think as long as he stays focused and doesn’t, like, start just staring at the quarterback and not doing what he’s supposed to do -- a lot of these guys make a lot of plays with their eyes in high school.
“But when you’re playing man-to-man, you have to look at your man. You can’t cover your guy if you don’t look at him. So, that’s not the time to be making plays with your eyes. So, we continue to try to train our guys as to when you can make plays with your eyes and when you have to focus on the things you need to focus on to be able to do your job in that particular coverage or defense or pressure or whatever it is. That he’s gotten a lot better at. But every now and then, he’ll sort of revert back.
“As long as he stays focused on that, I’m very confident that he can be a very, very good player for us. I’m really kind of encouraged by the progress that he’s made.”
Saban was asked about Reuben Foster as well.
“We don’t condone this kind of behavior and certainly would not like to see any of our players have any of these kinds of issues or the victims to suffer any at all. So with that said, I can’t make any more comments about that.”
Foster is accused of “physically attacking” his girlfriend and leaving her “bruised and with a ruptured ear drum,” according to a release from the Santa Clara, Calif., district attorney.
Reuben started doing the wrong things as soon as he left campus. We’ll obviously let due process take its course, but at this juncture it won’t be surprising if he spends some time behind bars.
Last but not least, the kickoff rule allowing a team to achieve a touchback by fair catching the ball inside the 25 yard line was passed. Many see this as the first step to eliminating kickoffs altogether, but losing the onside kick makes that tricky. Greg Schiano’s original proposal may gain some traction.
Schiano first put the idea in everybody’s head in 2011. That was after Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed during a kickoff against Army in 2010.
Schiano suggested the scoring team take over the ball on its 30 on a fourth-and-15 play. The team can either punt it away -- in lieu of a kickoff -- or go for it as a method of retaining possession (rather than attempt an onside kick like today). Statistics show that injuries on punts aren’t as bad or as frequent as on kickoffs.
4th-and-15 would probably have a similar conversion rate to onside kicks, and would add an interesting element to the game. It would take some getting used to, though.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.