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Jumbo Package: Jerome Ford shines in scrimmage, Josh McMillon reportedly lost for the year

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama A Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The Tide held their first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, closed to media of course, and there were a couple of big casualties. We’ve known that Trey Sanders is set for surgery and will miss an extended period if not the entire season, and if reports are to be believed, the race for the LB spot next to Dylan Moses is now wide open thanks to a knee injury to Josh McMillon.

One of Alabama’s first-team linebackers is likely out for the year due to an injury suffered during the Crimson Tide’s scrimmage on Saturday.

Redshirt senior inside linebacker Josh McMillon sustained a knee injury during the scrimmage that’s likely a season-ending injury, according to sources.

First off, this really stinks for the player. McMillon has been a good soldier through his first four years of eligibility, waiting his turn that had finally seemed to come. He has seen younger players pass him over and even dealt with certain idiots making false reports about him transferring, but he stayed through it all and kept working. He will probably be granted a sixth year if he wants one, but this is just awful.

As far as the Will linebacker position, there should be a fierce competition. Jaylen Moody will be in the mix, but I personally see him more as an understudy for Moses in the middle. The other three names to watch are Markail Benton, Ale Kaho, and Shane Lee. All three were highly regarded on the recruiting trail, with Kaho drawing the highest ratings. He will certainly be one to watch after reportedly adding significant bulk and strength over the summer. Lee has generated buzz since arriving on campus and made an interception at A Day, and Benton was a blue chip in his own right and has the most time in the program. Saban had already hinted at a rotation depending on opponent or game situation, and that is a possibility as well.

Cecil wonders whether Alabama really has more injuries, or just more awareness of them:

One wonders if the programs in college football’s top tier — Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and a few others — have more injuries, or just more injury awareness. The latter is possible, for a couple of reasons. First, those programs — and it’s been this way at Alabama for a decade now — simply have far greater media exposure than others, both from the number of outlets that cover the football team and in the attention that they attract from the big media outlets. ESPN, in one incarnation or another, was in Tuscaloosa three times last week, doing interviews, filming segments, dispatching digital print reporters or on-air personalities like Holly Rowe and Maria Taylor. That exposure raises the profile and I’m guessing it isn’t the case in Starkville or New Brunswick.

Interesting thoughts.

At running back, Jerome Ford showed out.

Najee Harris and former Hillcrest High star Brian Robinson have been the leading candidates at running back through August but with Sanders out on Saturday, that meant added opportunity for redshirt freshman Jerome Ford — who was “probably the leading rusher” in the scrimmage, according to UA head coach Nick Saban — and true freshman Keilan Robinson.

After gaining 437 yards on 87 carries last season, Brian Robinson was already looking for extra playing time as the Crimson Tide must replace NFL draft choices Josh Jacobs and Damian Harris.

Trey looked like a weapon in his short time on campus. Hopefully he heals well and is able to contribute down the stretch. It’s good to see Ford playing well in that #3 role.

Saban seemed pleased with Mac Jones.

Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones is the only passer with any college experience behind Tagovailoa entering the 2019 season. He’s the only name Nick Saban mentioned Saturday when asked about backup quarterback play following the team’s first scrimmage.

“Mac played well today,” Saban said. “Mac had a really good day today. He had a high completion percentage, threw for some big plays, really did a good job. Some of it against the first defense. I thought he did a nice job.”

Sounds like Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson have an uphill battle to supplant Jones as the primary backup.

Poor Chris Stewart of Crimson Tide Radio is dealing with more health issues.

Hope for a speedy recovery.

The 300 lb. bar of soap made his NFL debut.

“It was amazing just to get out there and compete and go up against some guys I know nothing about, go against some great talent and just to see everybody, the team camaraderie,” Williams said after the New York Giants defeated the Jets 31-22 at MetLife Stadium, the home field for both teams. “So it was amazing.”

Quinnen is a big kid out there, and it is refreshing.

Last, the spat between Josh Gattis and Mike Locksley is as funny as it is absurd. First, Mike was asked about reports that Gattis was set to follow him to Maryland before taking the Michigan OC job, which he denied and somewhat implied that he didn’t really want Gattis. Gattis took exception and essentially claimed that he was designing Locksley’s game plans at Alabama, and had game week notes to prove it. Now, Locks has fired back again.

“I don’t care to comment on it, but I am because I’d like to put this to bed. Here’s what I’ll say: I’ve been a first-time play-caller before, I think back in 2005 was the first time I had the chance to call plays, so I know the anxiety that comes along with it,” Locksley said. “Josh knows the truth, I think that’s really important to understand, and I also know that there’s a difference between suggestions and decisions, and he’ll have an opportunity to make decisions now.

Yeah, I think I’m fine with everyone involved moving on. We will probably never know the extent of the chaos that went on behind the scenes last season.

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

Roll Tide.