TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama held its 15th practice of fall camp on Tuesday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide worked in full pads for the team’s final session before classes start on Wednesday.
- Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle) rode a stationary bike for the second straight day. Tomlinson wore a boot on his right foot.
- Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is wearing a club on his right hand. Fitzpatrick wasn’t limited during practice.
What we saw
- Redshirt freshman Kendall Sheffield missed his third straight practice on Tuesday. Alabama coach Nick Saban said he didn’t know what Sheffield’s status is with the team, but added that he is open to having him back.
- The secondary worked on some nickel during Tuesday’s practice. Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett were the cornerbacks. Minkah Fitzpatrick lined up at star. Ronnie Harrison and Eddie Jackson were the safeties. Reuben Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton were the inside linebackers while Ryan Anderson was the outside linebacker.
- The second nickel group had Tony Brown and Jared Mayden at cornerback. Aaron Robinson shadowed Mayden. Shyheim Carter lined up at star. Hootie Jones and freshman Trevon Diggs were at safety. Deionte Thompson came in on the second rep and worked next to Diggs at safety. Keith Holcombe and Rashaan Evans were the inside linebackers. Ben Davis shadowed Holcombe and Lyndell “Mack” Wilson shadowed Evans.
“Anthony Averett has played really, really well and is a really good third corner and would be a solid guy to play if we need him to play in nickel. I think after that, we’ve got young players that we have to develop. Kendall Sheffield was certainly a guy that was in that mix. But it is what it is and we’re going to work hard to do the best we can with the players that we have and try to develop those players. Tony Brown – suspension pending – is also a very capable guy but he won’t be there for several games. So we’ll just do the best we can with the players that we have. We recruited some freshmen, three freshmen, we’re working hard with them right now.” — Saban
- The first offensive line group had Cam Robinson at left tackle, Lester Cotton at left guard, Ross Pierschbacher at center, Bradley Bozeman at right guard and Jonah Willliams at right tackle.
- Keaton Anderson worked with the safeties for the second straight day.
“Keaton is really, really a great competitor, very smart. His size has been a little difficult for him at linebacker. So we feel like we want to see if he can play safety and maybe a money, which is our sixth defensive back. Which by him being a safety he’d learn defensive backs skills so that would allow us to see if he can play that position. So we’re trying him there, it’s an experiment, and it’s an experiment based on need at the position and something that might be beneficial to him in the future. He’s going to be a really good special teams player for us this year, so we’re trying to find a role for him.” — Saban
- A scout from the Indianapolis Cots watched practice.
What Saban said … What we think it means
On Kendall Sheffield
“Kendall Sheffield has not been here for the last couple of days. I don’t really know what his status is so there’s no need to ask me. We’re happy to have him back. He’s a fine young man. He’s worked hard, he’s made a lot of improvement here. We enjoy having him be a part of the team if that’s what he chooses and continue to work with him in a positive way to help him develop academically and athletically.” — Saban
What we think it means: First, reports and talk of Sheffield transferring is a little premature. He could very well still leave the program, but it’s not a done deal at this point. Saban and Alabama want Sheffield to return to the team. He’s a young player with a lot of talent and potential. He was competing for a spot in the rotation, but was being pushed by some of the younger players. Still, Saban doesn’t want to lose a player with Sheffield’s upside.
On if there is a cutoff date for Sheffield to return
“No. We want what’s best for the team on our team. If there’s something we can do to help resolve this from their family’s standpoint, we’re certainly available to do that. There’s no pressure from our standpoint. School starts tomorrow. It’s really important that our players develop the right habits, have success in school, that’s what they’re here for, and hopefully he’ll make a decision so he doesn’t get behind from that standpoint.” — Saban
What we think it means: There are two issues with Sheffield not being with the team right now. The first is classes which begin on Wednesday at Alabama. The second is that the team is running out of practice days before the season starts. The days in camp are when players refresh themselves on the fundamentals and compete for positions. Sheffield is missing valuable time in that regard. Alabama would welcome him back, but it’ll be interesting to see where he fits into the rotation if he misses more practice time.
On Trevon Diggs and Keaton Anderson playing different positions
“We’re just basically trying guys. I think we have a lack of depth in the secondary right now, so we’re trying to play Trevon Diggs at two spots. He’s playing receiver and we’re trying to get him to learn one position in the secondary. Keaton is really, really a great competitor, very smart. His size has been a little difficult for him at linebacker. So we feel like we want to see if he can play safety and maybe a money, which is our sixth defensive back. Which by him being a safety he’d learn defensive backs skills so that would allow us to see if he can play that position. So we’re trying him there, it’s an experiment, and it’s an experiment based on need at the position and something that might be beneficial to him in the future. He’s going to be a really good special teams player for us this year, so we’re trying to find a role for him.” — Saban
What we think it means: Diggs was a talented athlete coming out of Maryland. He played both receiver and defensive back in high school, so the skills are there. With Alabama’s lack of depth in the secondary, Diggs has been working at safety. He has looked like a natural so far. Anderson is a more interesting move. Alabama has a lot of depth at inside linebacker so there’s a chance he may have gotten lost in the fold there. But the low numbers at safety have created a need that allows Anderson to make the switch. He’s a tough-nosed player who could develop over time. If he can show some cover skills, he may have found his long-term position.
On what the quarterbacks can improve coming off the first scrimmage
“I think consistency is what’s going to be the key to the drill for those guys. I think each one of those quarterbacks are capable of being really good players. I really do believe that. Some have a little more experience than others. But it’s going to come down to consistency in performance – taking care of the football, taking what the defense gives, consistent decision-making, showing good judgment, leadership, how does the team perform when you’re in the game and how do you affect that with your command and leadership. So all these things, I think, are really, really important. It was a tough day to throw it Saturday because we got that sort of torrential rain, but the guys actually played better as the scrimmage went on. It’ll be really, really interesting to see how they respond this week.
Sometimes guys put pressure on themselves, that anxiety creates not a good situation for them. When people get outcome-oriented – I think there was an article in the New York Times a couple days ago – when people get outcome-oriented and goal-oriented based on outcomes, it creates a tremendous amount of anxiety and it doesn’t help performance. We certainly don’t want this with these guys. If they would just focus on every play what their job is and what they’re supposed to do, try to get the best execution on that play, learn from the good and bad of that play and move on to the next play, I think that’s going to give them the best opportunity to play their best and give us the best opportunity to have success offensively.” — Saban
What we think it means: The quarterback competition is still open, and not much has changed. As we’ve said before, Alabama’s quarterback competition comes down to whether or not the coaching staff wants to go with the older guy with experience (Cooper Bateman) or turn things over to one of the younger guys with more talent and potential (Blake Barnett, Jalen Hurts).
Other news you need to know
- Alabama coach Nick Saban is open to Kendall Sheffield rejoining the team
He said what? (quote of the day)
“It makes me feel great. I think it makes the team feel great. Obviously it’s a great reward for the player, but I’m telling you in this case Jamey earned this on his own. He’s worked really hard, he gives great effort in practice. When I announced it last night to the team there was a roar that went up. It’s heartfelt for me, but also it was sort of amazing to see hoe happy the players were for him. But that’s what a team is all about. I’m really happy for him. Hopefully we’ll have some other guys who will surface in that regard as well.” — Saban on walk-on Jamey Mosley receiving a scholarship. Mosley is the younger brother of former Alabama star and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley