-- Offensive lineman Matt Womack was back working in the drills after being spotted off to the side in the last few practices. He was working beside first-team right tackle Jedrick Wills.
-- The first wave of offensive lineman had Emil Ekiyor Jr., at center and Evan Neal at left guard next to Alex Leatherwood.
Here’s some quick practice notes from AL.com. Most notable is that Chris Owens was not in the first team line-up at center. I’m on record saying (for the past 3 years, really) that I thought Owens was going to be a great center for us, and it’s looked like he’s had it locked down all spring and summer.
Then, all of a sudden, true freshman Evan Neal has pushed his way into the starting lineup and Emil Ekiyor is moving over to center, dropping Owens off the first team. Now, this may not be a permanent move or anything, but it is telling that the combination is something the coaches wanted to explore. And if you look at the sizes, you can see why. Leatherwood, Neal, Ekiyor, Womack, and Wills are the biggest five linemen on the team not named Cornbread (who’s suspended for the first 3rd or the season). Might the Tide be looking to lean into a more power-run offense with Najee Harris as the lead back this season?
Also of note: Chadarius Townsend is working with the running backs instead of the wide receivers. The do-it-all speedster has worked at running back before, so it’s nothing new. However, I definitely don’t think we’ll be seeing Jaylen Waddle at running back, no matter what you might have heard on twitter.
Seems like every day brings a new defensive injury for Alabama.
We learned over the weekend that starting inside linebacker Joshua McMillon is likely out for the season. And now it appears reserve defensive lineman Stephon Wynn will be sidelined indefinitely following an injury that required surgery.
This comes on the heels of the offseason departure of linebacker Eyabi Anoma, who is now at Houston. Linebacker Dylan Moses, a preseason All-American, has been limited of late by an “unspecified medical issue.”
Also missing time this fall have been a pair of defensive linemen: junior LaBryan Ray, who is just now returning to the field; as well as nose tackle D.J. Dale, a true freshman expected to win a starting job. Back-up cornerback Nigel Knott is also dealing with what has been termed a “medical issue.”
When you list it all out like that, it really hits home....
Fortunately, Dale, Ray, and Moses should all be fine in plenty of time for the season opener. Ray and Moses have been around for a few years now, so it’s not that big of a deal, but DJ Dale is a true freshman and needs every minute of practice he can get.
Zooming out to look at Saturday’s scrimmage as a whole, Tagovailoa liked what he saw from the offense in his first August as the incumbent starter.
Playing without a set play list made those reps apart from the ones they’ve taken against the first-team defense to that point in camp. That script, Tagovailoa, gives the defense an edge so being able to play more freely was a welcomed change.
Tagovailoa also gave a little insight into the offensive structure after Mike Locksley handed things over to new coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
“Coach Locksley tried to simplify it because we were pretty good at the RPO and so we kinda just stuck with that,” Tagovailoa said. “But, I mean it is no different from when I was in high school you know working full progression read and then I had the opportunity to go to the Elite 11 and learn from those guys and it all transcends here.”
This piece has a number of good quotes from Tua about his exchanges with Chris Owens at center. I personally read a lot into this last quote, though, and how things are mechanically different for Sarkisian than it was with Locksley at coordinator. I’ve made it clear on here that I’m most worried about the Tide losing their vertical element in favor of a more horizontal style. However, everything we’re hearing is positive right now.
Yet another preseason awards list that means nothing. However, I find it criminal that an Alabama lineman not named Jedrick Wills, Jr. is on the list.
Also, where is our savior Will Reichard??
HBO is in negotiations with four schools for a weekly behind-the-scenes show during the 2019 season, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura.
The network behind the hit show Hard Knocks is reportedly considering Alabama, Arizona, Penn State and Washington State. Showtime has previously run three seasons of weekly behind-the-scenes programs and chronicled Notre Dame, Florida State and Navy from 2015-17.
After Saban let ESPN into his fall camp last season, I don’t think it’s a stretch that he’d be more than happy to have HBO in this year. Any you could be things would be slanted towards getting more exposure to potential recruits.
Some of you may not like the idea, but I’d be a fan.