Christopher Walsh/SEC Country
Alabama has a new sign in the tunnel at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama football: Fan Day gives glimpse at what’s new with 2017 Crimson Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In addition to opening Bryant-Denny Stadium’s doors to the public for Alabama football’s annual Fan Day, reporters got a look at new interior signs that the players will see every Saturday this season.

Among them are a new “Be a champion” sign hanging from the ceiling of the tunnel, which lights up. Each of Alabama’s national championship years under Nick Saban have been added to one of the side walls.

What we saw

  • Linebackers Keith Holcombe and VanDarius Cowan were in black no-contact jerseys. Reserve offensive lineman Chris Owens joined them midway through practice. Running back Brian Robinson headed to the locker room early and did not return.
  • The Kedrick James experiment on the defensive line may be over, as for the second straight day the freshman worked with the tight ends.
  • Sophomore Trevon Diggs worked with the first-team defense at cornerback, with senior Minkah Fitzpatrick spending most of his day at safety. “I think his skill set gives you an opportunity to [move him around],” defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said about Fitzpatrick. “The fact that he can play all six positions in the secondary allows you a little flexibility to kind of see who the other guys are. If we need help at corner, he can play corner. If we need him inside at star and money he can play there. And safety. So he’s got a unique skill set so that gives you a little flexibility.”
  • Miller was the strong-side linebacker. During a pass-rushing team drill the two defensive linemen were Da’Ron Payne and Da’Shawn Hand, with Miller and Rashaan Evans lining up on the edges.
  • Senior Levi Wallace shadowed Tony Brown at the star position (fifth defensive back in the nickel formation).
  • Alabama did more passing to running backs than during previous years.
  • Alabama has yet to practice in pads, but the first-team defensive line was Payne, Hand and Raekwon Davis. The second unit was Quinnen Williams, Josh Frazier and Isaiah Buggs ahead of LaBryan Ray, Johnny Dwight and  Jamar King.
  • One of the most impressive throws/catches was a 37-yard dart from Jalen Hurts to Robert Foster in the end zone during a 7-on-7 drill. Senior cornerback Anthony Averett had good coverage on the play, as well.
Alabama football-Crimson Tide football-Bryant Denny Stadium-Alabama titles
Alabama now has Nick Saban’s national championships listed on the tunnel wall at Bryant-Denny Stadium (Christopher Walsh/SEC Country).
  • Calvin Ridley, Bradley Bozeman and Fitzpatrick were essentially the team captains and led everyone through stretching. The three represented the Crimson Tide during last month’s SEC Media Days.
  • Freshman running back Najee Harris passes the eye test, and put on moves that turned heads.
  • Alabama has gotten serious about false starts and other penalties. Players who get flagged have to do a lap around the field, missing out on reps.
  • A number of players were lined up for punt returns including Xavian Marks, Diggs, Shyheim Carter, Ridley, Henry Ruggs III and Foster.  The hang time on JK Scott’s first attempt was nothing short of extreme. The players will not practice on Sunday.
  • Attendance was down from previous Alabama Fan Days. Factors include humid conditions, it was moved from Sunday to Saturday this year and summer graduation was held earlier in the day.

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