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Jumbo Package: Saban pleased as spring camp wraps up

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Happy Friday, everyone. A-Day is tomorrow, and Saban is hoping to see a big crowd. As of now, the weather forecast doesn’t look too bad, cloudy with temps in the 70s and rain chances of 25% or less until the evening. Kickoff is at 1pm CT and will be televised on ESPN2.

As usual. softball will play a Saturday morning home game before the scrimmage, this time kicking off an important three-game set against #13 Georgia. There have been rumblings that Montana Fouts may be close to returning, but nothing confirmed. Baseball travels to Starkville this weekend for another tough series.

Saban seems pleased with the team’s effort as spring wraps up.

When he says “a good spring,” Saban isn’t projecting that into January 2020. Instead, think of it as part of a journey that will continue in the offseason, then into the crucible of August as the season approaches. “A good spring” doesn’t mean everything that happened in that Clemson loss (and, to an extent, in some of the games leading up to it) is now hunky-dory. It means there is a foundation in place and that building, or rebuilding, can continue.

— Outside linebackers Terrell Lewis (knee) and Ben Davis (shins) continued to don black, non-contact jerseys. Anfernee Jennings and Eyabi Anoma, meanwhile, were the pair of edge rushers leading the individual drills.

— Freshman DJ Dale was the third defensive lineman to go in one of the individual drills, following Raekwon Davis and LaBryan Ray. Dale has been working with the first team at nose guard.

— Saban said inside linebacker Josh McMillon has done a nice job the spring and that he’s built his confidence.

— Saban said Alabama has trained a bunch of defensive backs at Star, mentioning Shyheim Carter, Trevon Diggs, Jared Mayden, Jalyn Armour-Davis and Patrick Surtain II as players who have worked there. No decision has been made about who will be starting there come this fall.

— Saban said each of the tight ends is developing.

— Saban said Chris Owens has done a really good job at center this spring. Saban added that freshman Darrian Dalcourt is someone who has shown he may be able to play there down the line.

It sounds like Chris Owens has the starting center position on lockdown, which would be a welcome development. Having a veteran in that spot is always a good thing, and uber-talented freshman Dalcourt seems to be the understudy. Josh McMillon will be among the most watched players tomorrow as he gets his chance to start at Will, and everyone who has seen Anoma concludes that Sal Sunseri has lit a fire under his butt. Hopefully the Tide can finally get some good injury luck at those pass rushing positions. Sitting Lewis is just common sense in that regard.

Saban felt compelled to talk about his perspective on draft decisions.

“I’d just like to make one statement to make sure everybody understands who we are and what we do,” Saban said. “Our whole goal in this program is to help people be more successful in life. So, we support every player in every decision they make, regardless of what it is.

“We want to help them with all their decisions to have the best opportunity to be successful and create the most value for themselves and their future. Once any player decides what he’s going to do in any part of our program in any way, we’re going to support him in every way that we can. That’s what we’ve always done. I think our players pretty much understand that.

“So, we have a lot of players that come back here a lot, they’re very proud of what they were able to accomplish while they were here at the university and they’re always welcomed back. That’s something that’s very important to us, and it’s very important to the program. So, thank you.”

He never said that he didn’t support the players once a decision was made with which he didn’t agree, but because we live in the age of stupid I guess he needed to clarify that.

Jonah Williams is a fart smeller smart feller.

During his college career, Williams proved he didn’t need long arms to dominate opposing pass rushers. All he needed was his strength, sound technique and Microsoft Excel, of course.

That’s right. Williams uses Excel to help aid his scouting of opposing pass rushers and the data he tracks is rather expansive. Luckily, Williams shared his spreadsheets with Pro Football Focus analyst Austin Gayle.

Plenty of NFL types still believe that he ends up at guard, and if that’s the case then so be it. He wants his shot at left tackle though, and extra preparation should certainly make up for an inch of arm length.

Last, Bill Belichick spoke about projecting QBs and others to the NFL.

“I’d say the issue in college football is there just is not the same passing game in college football that there is in the NFL, period,” Belichick said. “So, it’s hard to evaluate the receivers, it’s hard to evaluate the quarterback, it’s hard to evaluate the offensive linemen, it’s hard to evaluate the pass rushers and it’s hard to evaluate the coverage players. You know, we’re all looking at the same film, so all the teams in the league, we all see the same games. But, the college passing game is very different from the professional passing game. When you’re looking at it, you’re looking at a lot of it’s really projecting all those positions a little bit differently. To a certain degree, it’s different in the running game, too, but probably less difference in the running game than in the passing game, in my opinion.”

I love the college game far more than the NFL, but I don’t love the three-yard cushion rule that coaches figured out how to bastardize and turn the game into basketball on grass. The RPO reads are a totally different concept from that of a traditional dropback passing game, as Tua mentioned earlier in the spring. As usual though, systems tend to trickle up, leading to the Arizona Cardinals hiring a recently fired Big 12 head coach to run their program.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.