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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban offers injury updates, talks leadership after first spring practice

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Practice John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Alabama football held their first practice of the spring yesterday, and released some footage if you’d like to invest five minutes.

Afterward, Nick Saban mentioned that Dallas Turner and Deontae Lawson, both expected to be key cogs on the 2023 defense, will miss all of camp while recovering from surgeries. The good news is that he doesn’t expect those injuries to cause problems going forward.

A few more injury nuggets:

“Roydell Williams and DeVonta Smith both are recovering from injuries but probably will be able to return at some point during spring practice,” Saban said. “And then Robbie Ouzts, Jah-Marien Latham and Justin Eboigbe will be able to do certain things in practice, but they will be limited to some of the things that they can and can’t do and probably won’t be able to have full contact or be involved in the scrimmage at all this year.”

The injury comments weren’t the ones that made news, however. An unfortunate choice of words as he announced that freshman Tony Mitchell had been suspended from the team set the internet ablaze.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” coach Nick Saban said during a Monday press conference, per “There’s no such thing as the wrong place at the wrong time. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Saban’s words are interesting given what Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats said in February regarding star freshman Brandon Miller and his connection to a fatal shooting in Tuscaloosa in January. Notably, Oats found himself in hot water after telling reporters that Miller was in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.” Police testimony states Miller brought a gun to a teammate, Darius Miles, that was later used to kill 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris. Miller has not been charged in the matter, however.

People of course jumped to the conclusion that Saban was taking a pot shot at Nate Oats. Can’t do better than Erik’s take on the matter, but Chase Goodbread asked the question.

Forget the basketball context, when taken at face value Nick is simply wrong here. He knows that people are legitimately victims of circumstance at times. What he meant to say is that Mitchell can’t use that excuse when caught with felony weight and paraphernalia in his car that he is driving at speeds in excess of 140 mph in order to evade the police.

Tony Mitchell was arrested and charged with a crime. Brandon Miller, after three hours of interviews along with text and video evidence reviewed by police, was not.

This really isn’t hard.

Nick also spoke about the need for this team to find internal leadership, among other things. You can check out all of his comments below.

Athlon Sports put out an Alabama spring preview. Among their key storylines is the development of the offensive line.

This unit entered ‘22 under the microscope after an uneven ‘21. Although there is room to improve, the line took a step forward last fall. Can assistant coach Eric Wolford take this unit up another level in ‘23? It starts this spring, as the Crimson Tide bring back just two full-time starters (Seth McLaughlin and JC Latham), along with a couple of players (Darrian Dalcourt and Tyler Booker) with starting experience. True freshman Kadyn Proctor (a five-star prospect) is likely to factor into the mix somewhere, while Terrance Ferguson II is another player expected to push for snaps after playing in six games as a reserve last fall. Latham started at right tackle last fall but could kick to the left side with the departure of Tyler Steen.

Kadyn Proctor is a name to watch there, obviously.

DJ Fluker has gotten in shape and plans to work out for teams at Alabama’s Pro Day.

The offensive lineman then bounced around on numerous practice squads, but never made the final roster heading into the regular season. He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2020.

However, DJ Fluker appears ready to attempt a comeback. He has been working to stay in shape and has slimmed down to a muscular 330 lbs, per Schultz. As NFL scouts get a look at incoming Crimson Tide talent at Alabama’s Pro Day, they’ll also get an up close look at a refined Fluker.

Good for him.

Last, while Nate Oats has maintained that Jahvon Quinerly is still considering a return next season. John Zenor over at Yahoo seems to think this will be it for him.

“I have a therapist I talk to about my injury and just mental health,” Quinerly said. “That’s a real thing. Just talking to the right people. It took some time to get to the point where I felt like I could go out there and do the things I used to do.”

His own team and family aren’t alone in being happy about that. Maryland coach Kevin Willard, then at Seton Hall, had been watching Quinerly since the point guard’s ninth-grade year.

“I’ve watched him every second of the way,” Willard recalled. “To see him turn into the player he’s turning into and to see what he went through early in his college career and now seeing him blossoming and having confidence — he has the swagger he had in high school back.”

Q’s perserverance has been one hell of a story. One more year, Jahvon!

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.