Alabama football: Saban hits ground running — and ranting — in spring practice

Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at Nick Saban’s return to his bully pulpit and the first day of spring football.

One day in and Alabama football coach Nick Saban already is approaching midseason form, starting off his spring practice with a rant that meanders from speculation about the Crimson Tide’s reaction to losing the national championship to the NCAA’s recruiting rules to the slightest of touches on the political spectrum. It’s not his fieriest, but it’s an admirable first effort for the year.

In football news, Saban asserted in no uncertain terms that Jalen Hurts is the starter, as Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News has been preaching. Tua Tagovailoa enters spring camp as a highly touted recruit, but it’s clear that Saban isn’t interested in a fourth consecutive quarterback battle in camp. And who can blame him when his quarterback won SEC Offensive Player of the Year and gave his team the lead with two minutes to go in the national championship after leading it to an undefeated record?

ICYMI

Built by Bama

The biggest story ahead of the draft is the ongoing doubts teams have about Reuben Foster. One team reportedly took him off its board after his incident at the NFL combine, citing some pattern of immaturity. I’m not sure what the team is referring to, except for the controversy that came with his switch from Auburn to Alabama as a high school recruit, years ago, and the tattoo that went with it. He never got in trouble at Alabama, he completely reformed his tackling technique and became a leader of one of the most prolific defenses of all time.

This on the same day that supposed concerns about his ability to understand X’s and O’s surfaced, as if he hadn’t played multiple positions, including middle linebacker, in one of the most complicated defenses in the country — NFL included. With all due respect to Jonathan Allen, Foster was possibly the best player on what was probably the best team, and certainly the best defense, in college football. I’m not sure what’s so complicated about that.

Around the Capstone

The baseball team brought home a 4-1 win against UAB at Regions Field in Birmingham on Tuesday night. Freshman Deacon Medders, who starred in football and baseball at American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa, got his first career start, throwing 53 pitches in four shutout innings.

Alabama launches its men’s swimming and diving championships on Wednesday evening with the 800 relay. Alabama’s relays have been the powerhouse of its recent program revival, which the Crimson Tide will hope to continue at the 2017 championships. While the 800 is a slightly longer distance than the Tide have traditionally excelled at, this group is an All-American team and is only likely to improve on a 16th-place finish from last year.

Men’s golf couldn’t keep up its momentum and slipped to fifth on the final day of the Linger Longer Invitational. That said, the Crimson Tide equaled their season best and finished in the top 5 for the second consecutive tournament.

Softball is No. 2 in RPI but No. 9 in the polls. 

Get hype

Video from AL.com.

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