-- Matt Womack, the injured right tackle, was spotted on scooter with his broken foot elevated. He’ll be out a while.
-- Najee Harris was not seen with the running backs group. Nick Saban last week said they expect he’ll be back from a foot injury before the Sept. 1 opener with Louisville.
-- The secondary practiced in the dime formation for a few minutes. The cornerbacks were Trevon Diggs and Saivion Smith, safeties were Deionte Thompson and Jared Mayden with Shyheim Carter at star and Xavier McKinney.
-- The second group had true freshmen Patrick Surtain II and Josh Jobe at cornerback. Keaton Anderson and Mayden were safeties with Diggs at star.
-- The freshmen at middle linebacker -- Ale Kaho and Jaylen Moody -- were working in the third wave behind the second group of Joshua McMillen and Markail Benton and apparent starters Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses.
There’s not too much here we haven’t already talked about around here, but it’s some practice updates nonetheless. I would say it bodes well that Kaho is already working 3rd team with Jaylen Moody, but that’s really just because there are no other inside linebackers. Well, he did pass up Ben Davis already. But what else is new?
11. Notre Dame
The Hype: Is this the year Notre Dame puts it all together and avoids any clunkers down the stretch? Head coach Brian Kelly will have to work through the deficiencies on offense, where there are questions about the quarterback and the left side of the O-line, but the Irish’s defense can be a reliable calling card.
The Reality: The season won’t get off the ground with a starting quarterback that completes less than half of his passes. But a tailor-made home schedule plus enough cupcakes to pad the win total means Notre Dame can dream of being in the mix when the first few in-season playoff rankings come out.
Sports Illustrated is throwing some quality shade at the Domers here. I enjoy it.
At the same time they’re pretty high on Alabama, and expect the Tide to be “coasting toward a fifth straight playoff appearance.” It’s not too in-depth, but you can check out a quick synopsis on all of the top 25 teams to open 2018.
In 2018, with a vast amount of younger and inexperienced guys stepping into the starting lineup, Saban doesn’t expect a drop off, they’re merely the “next man up,” and they have exactly the same expectations on them as the guys they’re replacing.
This is why Alabama fans shouldn’t be concerned about the defense heading into 2018. They’re talented, deep and you know they’ll be well coached. Oh, and the concern of inexperience will become less and less of a problem with each play and each game. By the end of the year, this should once again be a top-10 unit doing their part to bring home yet another national title.
A top-ten unit isn’t good enough, SDS. I don’t know what world you live in, but top-ten would be one of the lowest raked defenses of the Saban era. Top 2 or bust. Settle for nothing less.
It’s the relationships coupled with preexisting feelings about Alabama that have kept, and will likely keep, Bratton on board in the class.
“Every time I go down there I feel like I’m at home,” Bratton said. “Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to play there. I’ve never not been a fan of Bama. It’d be hard for me not to go there.”
Any school that hopes to flip the 4-star ‘backer certainly has an uphill battle to climb. Bratton will do other schools the courtesy of listening, though. He unofficially visited Ole Miss this summer and had planned to check out Clemson before calling the trip off.
“I don’t want to be that guy that thinks he’s better than other people,” Bratton said of talking to other schools. “So I’ll still give them the time and be respectful, but I don’t think anything is going to change my mind.”
Bratton is rated the No. 3 inside linebacker and the No. 112 overall player in the country, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings.
The 2020 linebacker seems to have his head on straight. With Dylan Moses, Mack Wilson, and Josh McMillon all likely to be gone before he gets on campus, he’ll definitely be needed for depth at an already thin position in the future. He also seems to be taking it on himself to try and be one of the top recruiters for the Tide within his class.
DeMeco Ryans earned the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year after registering 76 tackles and five quarterback sacks. Added to his list of accomplishments were being named First Team All American and the winner of the Lott Trophy. The six-foot-two linebacker is the only Tide player to win the Lott Trophy and shares the award with notables JJ Watt, Manti Teo, Jabrill Peppers and David Pollack.
The Bessemer native improved every year in Tuscaloosa. During his sophomore season, he was a tackling machine with 126.
Ryans left Alabama fifth on the all-time tackles list with 307. He had 37 career starts.
Spoiler: Derrick Thomas was #1 on the list.
I just figured I’d highlight Ryans, who was one of my first favorite defensive Tide players. Obviously, I knew the big offensive names like Shaun Alexander when I was first getting into the whole football thing, but Ryans was the first defensive guy I really knew. As such, he holds a spot dear to my heart.