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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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More practice notes and the Tide schedules the Sooners...in the future.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff-Alabama Practice Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Football Practice Notes: 4/9/2019

Eyabi Anoma led the outside linebackers through drills, as Anfernee Jennings stayed off to the side. After Anoma was Christopher Allen, Kevin Harris II, Jarez Parks and then Davis.

As for the inside linebackers, Dylan Moses was in front. Joshua McMillon, Markail Benton, Shane Lee, Jaylen Moody and Ale Kaho followed.

Defensive linemen were going through drills in sets of two. Davis and LaBryan Ray were first. Phidarian Mathis and Stephon Wynn Jr. were second. Tevita Musika and DJ Dale were third.

Some notes on more position groupings. Looks like Anoma is still leading Chris Allen for the backup role behind Terrell Lewis as Lewis continues to recover from his injury.

After the big news two days ago that freshman D.J. Dale had been leading the way at nose tackle (more on that later), he was back down to third in line in the set of drills that the guys at TideSports.com were watching.

Daron Payne 2.0? Alabama freshman continues to impress

“He plays like Daron Payne,” senior defensive lineman Raekwon Davis said of Dale on Tuesday. “He plays just like Daron Payne.”

Dale has been one of the stars of the spring for Alabama. While Dale wasn’t even ranked among the top 250 players in this year’s recruiting class, people around the Alabama program started taking notice of him right when he got to campus back in December as a mid-year enrollee.

Dale impressed while working with the scout team as the Tide prepared for the College Football Playoff and he’s now looking like a real possibility to be a game one starter as a true freshman.

Dale has been working with the first-team defense at nose tackle, including during Alabama’s scrimmage on Saturday.

“He’s got good initial quickness, good power, strikes, seems to be pretty conscientious (and) shows a little maturity about being able to go out there and do his job,” Tide coach Nick Saban said.

As I said earlier, Dale has been drawing rave reviews. He was one of the lowest rated members of the 2019 class, but seems to be making waves. He’s already drawn the public praise of both Raekwon Davis and Nick Saban. He also has plenty of confidence.

Remember that time some young linebacker said he was going to be better than Cornelius Bennett? May history repeat.

How Alabama OL is adjusting to injury, other practice notes

-- The right of the first team offensive line included Alex Leatherwood at left tackle, Emil Ekiyor Jr. at left guard, Chris Owens at center, Deonte Brown at right guard and Womack at right tackle.

In the absence of Jedrick Wills, this is the current offensive line grouping. Leatherwood moving to left tackle is looking more and more like a certainty, and Ekiyor continues to be right in the mix for being a starting guard.

Tua Tagovailoa ready to lead Bama past its winter of discontent

He acknowledged it himself: Hurts is gone. So are veterans Damien Harris and Ross Pierschbacher. This is a new team. This is his team and he can’t simply lead by example anymore.

If the message he has delivered this spring is any indication, he’s on board. The way he spoke about fighting for his job sounded eerily similar to Saban through the years. The same goes for how he has focused on what he needs to do better, rather than what he did so well.

The so-called “Alabama factor” is Saban and his belief that no job is safe and nothing is perfect. And if that idea had fallen by the wayside, then the loss to Clemson was the ultimate wake-up call.

Great piece from Alex Scarbrough about Tua embracing his leadership role this spring. The world is about to see a mature, elite QB on a mission to wash the bad taste from his mouth.

Looking deeper into NFL early exits impact on Alabama football

“I saw some guys flying around,” Saban said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “I saw some guys miss some tackles. I didn’t feel like we tackled really well, especially the second team. First team did a pretty good job. But people weren’t running their feet on contact, trying to cut tackle, trying to butt people to the ground. And I think they’re finding out if they don’t tackle them correctly they’re not going to get them on the ground. Not when you play against good players.”

The depth issues across the defense led to some comments from Saban that he’s repeated this spring that don’t sound like any from his past. A few times he’s broken down how many freshmen have yet to enroll for this defense while saying they might have to play a role Year 1.

“I think of the 12 guys we have coming in,” Saban said April 3, “nine of them are defensive players and some of those guys are going to add depth to the team, in the secondary, up front, maybe at linebacker. So, there’s a lot of opportunity there.”

Saban’s comments have been way overblown, but the attrition is a real thing. Even bigger than the guys leaving for the draft early, though, is the size of the 2018 recruiting class. The class had plenty of talent, but the numbers were a lot less than normal.

Fortunately, the 2019 class was huge.... and even more talented.

Alabama, Oklahoma schedule future home-and-home football series for 2032 and 2033

Add another high-profile home-and-home nonconference series to college football’s future arsenal to way, way down the road. On Tuesday, Alabama and Oklahoma announced they would play a home-and-home series in 2032 and ‘33. The Sooners will host the Crimson Tide on Sept. 11, 2032, in Norman before traveling for a Sept. 10, 2033 game in Tuscaloosa.

This news broke yesterday, so it’s nothing new today. 2032 is a long ways away, and most likely, the Sooners will find a way to end up falling to pieces in 2031 to wreck Alabama’s strength of schedule then too.

In any case, I’m sure Nick Saban will be watching from his house on the lake.

That’s it for today. Roll Tide!