TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama continued its preparation for Western Kentucky with a two-hour practice on Wednesday.
Here’s everything you need to know from Wednesday’s workout and Nick Saban’s time at the podium.
What we saw
- Wide receiver Cam Sims (shoulder) was back at practice for the first time this week. He appeared to be limited.
- When the secondary worked on dime, we saw Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett at the cornerback spots. Hootie Jones came in at safety next to Eddie Jackson. That moved Ronnie Harrison to the money spot with Minkah Fitzpatrick at star. Reuben Foster was the lone linebacker in the group.
- The second nickel group had Levi Wallace and Aaron Robinson at the corner spots. Shyheim Carter lined up at star with Hootie Jones at money. Deionte Thompson and Trevon Diggs were the safeties. Shaun Dion Hamilton was the inside linebacker.
- The first-team offensive line had Cam Robinson at left tackle, Lester Cotton at left guard, Bradley Bozeman at center, Ross Pierschbacher at right guard and Jonah Williams at right tackle. Alphonse Taylor is still working with the second group.
- Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson were the first three defensive linemen up. Da’Shawn Hand, Joshua Frazier and Dakota Ball made up the second group.
- Some popular scout team numbers included No. 1 (wide receiver Nacarius Fant), No. 2 (wide receiver Taywan Taylor), No. 3 (defensive lineman Chris Johnson) and No. 4 (linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe).
What Saban said … What we think it means
On Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson
“Hopefully their productivity will go up with their number of snaps. I thought Ryan played well in the game. I thought Tim played well in the game. Didn’t have as many opportunities but Ryan really played well in the game. He was pretty dominant. Got some pressures on the quarterback. I think it’s important, as I talked about before, especially on third down pass rushers, that they can be fresh on third down. So that means on the other downs in the game we need to have some people that can play those downs. And that’s what we’re going to try and do. Hopefully we can rotate enough guys in there to keep those guys fresh. Same thing with the defensive line. I think it’s important for all those guys that we create enough roles for players that we can keep those guys fresh throughout the game.” — Saban
What we think it means: That’s high praise from Saban on Ryan Anderson. Anderson had his way with USC’s offensive tackles. He showed off the strength with the bull rush, and flashed the speed to blow by offensive linemen. Anderson has been an underrated player on Alabama’s defense, but he could become more of a national name if he continues to play like he did on Saturday. Anderson is a complete player at the linebacker position. Williams also stood out in pass rushing situations. He consistently got pressure on USC quarterback Max Browne. He needs to continue to work on stopping the run, but Williams is an elite talent when he can focus on getting after the quarterback.
On Anfernee Jennings
“I thought he did a nice job in the game. I think it was valuable for him to get some playing time. We really feel like Anfernee can be a good player for us and that’s one of the guys we want to play in there some for Tim and Ryan, to help them out. He did a good job last week. He’s a physical player, has good size, can play at the point and he has some pass rush ability. All those things are things we can certainly use in regular downs and in nickel.” — Saban
What we think it means: Jennings is an intriguing player who could have a really big role in the future when Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams move on. He’s already playing a situational role as a redshirt freshman which shows that the coaching staff trusts him. He could have the same impact Anderson is having at some point down the line.
On Anthony Averett
“He did a good job. We worked this week on playing the ball a little bit better in the deep part of the field. He’s got really good ball skills and good ball judgment so there’s no reason for him not to do that. I think guys get a little anxious in those situations, but then we have a couple other guys who can play the ball in the deep part of the field a little better, too. That’s always a point of emphasis. The big things in the secondary are can we judge the ball, can we tackle well, and can we play man-to-man. So those are the three things we really focus on with our guys and I thought he did a pretty good job with the man-to-man and he did a pretty good job of tackling. Just got to play the ball in the air a little bit better and I would say that’s true for all the guys.” — Saban
What we think it means: Anthony Averett looked solid in his first career start. He gave up a big play early on, but locked in more and more as the game went on. He’ll have to get better at playing the ball. With Marlon Humphrey on the opposite side, Averett should see a lot of balls thrown his way. Getting his head around and improving his ball skills could be the difference in giving up big plays or making a few interceptions.
Watch: Player Interviews
Alabama defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (courtesy of BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter)
Other news you need to know
- Nick Saban explains how Alabama helped true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts prepare for season opener
- Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis was cleared by the NCAA
- Watch: Beat writer Marq Burnett discusses latest Alabama news
He said what? (quote of the day)
“I don’t like the word dictate. I’m not a dictator. We make team decisions here. Everybody has input. We take all that input in and then we make a decision. It’s not a democracy, but it’s not a dictatorship, just to be clear.” — A smiling Nick Saban when asked how he runs his program