TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama got back on the practice field on Monday coming off its blowout over Southern Cal.
Here’s what you need to know from Nick Saban’s time at the podium, practice updates and everything else.
What we saw
- Former USC coach Steve Sarkisian was spotted at Alabama’s practice on Monday. Saban added Sarkisian to Alabama’s staff as an analyst.
“We talked about it, really, quite a while ago. I told him that we’d love to have him as a part of the organization. He’s going through some personal things himself to get himself in a very positive position and wants to continue to do those things in the future. Professionally, he loves coaching. So we thought it would be a good thing for our organization to have somebody – look, I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a very, very good coach – to make a contribution to being an analyst here and having some input into some things that we could do better, I think, would be a real positive for our organization. We’re going to continue to help him in his program as an organization and we’ll support him and he has an opportunity. But I think he understands the consequences that he deals with professionally if he has any issues or problems. We’re glad to have him as part of the organization. Hopefully he’ll be able to get back on his feet professionally and this will be beneficial to him.” — Saban
- Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson practiced on Monday. Tomlinson left Saturday’s game with an injury, but later returned.
- Wide receiver Cam Sims was not at practice during the media’s viewing period.
“Cam has got a bruised shoulder. He’ll probably miss a few days and could be questionable for this game, just depending on how he responds throughout the week. I think everybody else will be OK.” — Saban
- Blake Barnett led the quarterbacks through drills. He was followed by Jalen Hurts, Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell. It’s the first time we’ve seen someone other than Bateman lead the quarterback line.
- Damien Harris moved to the front of the running back line. Bo Scarbrough worked behind him.
Yeah, (Bo’s) healthy. Damien did a nice job in camp, he did a nice job in spring, had a good spring game. So we thought he was the guy that would be the most productive at the position. We have a lot of faith, trust and confidence in Bo. We’re hopeful that Bo will continue to improve and respond because we would like to be able to play two backs. And those two guys have the most experience. We have two young guys (Joshua Jacobs and B.J. Emmons) that both played in the game that we hope continue to develop, as well. — Saban
- A scout from the Arizona Cardinals watched practice.
What Saban said … What we think it means
On the offensive line and how Alphonse Taylor factors in to the rotation:
Well, Shank’s been a starter around here at right guard. He’s got to kind of earn his way back and that may take some time. But I think our two tackles played, really, pretty well in the game. I think that inside – the inside three – we need to continue to improve and work. There was a little inconsistency there in hand placement, steps, playing with power on a consistent basis. But there were also some very encouraging things that these guys did. But I think if you want an analysis that would be probably … Now, Shank coming back at right guard where he played before, he’s powerful guy, he’s a big guy. That might be helpful to us. He’s got to play his way back into it. He’s got to beat somebody out now. — Saban
What we think it means: Alphonse “Shank” Taylor is going to have to work to get his starting spot back. Taylor started all 15 games at right guard last season, but weight issues in the spring and a summer arrest for driving under the influence pushed him to the second team. Where does Taylor fit in if he does regain his spot? Does Alabama move Ross Pierschbacher to center and put Bozeman in a reserve role? Or does Pierschbacher get moved to left guard, which would send Lester Cotton to the bench? Alabama has options, but Taylor must raise his level of play to regain his job.
On Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts:
“I thought that both guys were a little shaky in the beginning in terms of how they played, and I think that the longer they played in the game, the better they played. That goes for both guys. I still think that we need to play two quarterbacks to try to gain the experience and knowledge and consistency that we need to see. We may do it a little different way than we did last week. But I think we’ll probably still play two guys in the game. But Jalen did a nice job in some of the things he did, turned the ball over a couple of times. When Blake went back in the game, he actually played with a lot more confidence and a lot more poise. I think we need to continue to develop both of those players. It was encouraging that both players played better as they played in the game, which should be expected of freshmen. Hopefully we’ll see big improvement in this game.” — Saban
What we think it means: It’s just a hunch, but the “we may do it a little different way than we did last week” alludes to Jalen Hurts getting the start against Western Kentucky. Both quarterbacks should see significant time on Saturday. Saturday should be the end of the competition. Surely, Saban and Alabama’s coaching staff don’t want to take a quarterback battle into Week 3 when the team faces Ole Miss. That cost Alabama a game last season.
On Eddie Jackson and Ronnie Harrison’s sideline altercation during Saturday’s game:
“I wish we had a rule in college football … We have a rule where our players can’t talk to the other players on the field. There was a lot of trash talking going on on the other side. That’s OK, that’s their choice, they can do whatever they want. I’m not being critical of that. You know, Ronnie let it emotionally get to him that these other guys were talking. So he said something, and Eddie said, ‘Hey man, this is not what we do, we don’t talk to the other team.’ And Ronnie got all upset, not necessarily at Eddie, he was just emotionally upset about the trash talking and Eddie saying something to him. You know, these two guys have a lot of respect for each other. They’re really good friends. I think the lesson to be learned is that when you have a teammate who is caring about you and trying to help you, the response should be ‘Thank you,’ not ‘Screw you.’ That’s basically the lesson that should be learned from the guys. I think sometimes when players get emotional, that’s very difficult to do. Ronnie Harrison is a fine young man, it’s totally out of character for him, he’s apologized for it and is very sorry for it and I don’t think that’ll ever be an issue again.” — Saban
What we think it means: Eddie Jackson showed leadership by telling Ronnie Harrison to stop talking with the other team. Harrison got a little too emotional. The two exchanged words that we can assume aren’t safe for publication. Cooler heads ultimately prevailed in the end. If you’re an Alabama fan, you should be happy about Jackson saying something to Harrison. That’s a sign of leadership. Alabama’s veterans have to keep their young stars in check to avoid any type of letdown. Reuben Foster also showed leadership by getting into Harrison’s face when separating Harrison and Jackson. Leadership shouldn’t be a problem for this team.
Watch: Player Interviews
Alabama running back Damien Harris
Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey
Alabama linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton
Alabama wide receiver Gehrig Dieter
Other news you need to know
- Nick Saban explains why Alabama’s heated sideline incident during the USC game won’t be an issue going forward
- Nick Saban glad to have former Southern Cal coach Steve Sarkisian on staff as an analyst
- Damien Harris, Marlon Humphrey highlight Alabama coaching staff’s players of the week
- Off the Marq: Analyzing Alabama’s throttling of Southern Cal
He said what? (quote of the day)
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I feel like our secondary’s pretty good. I know nobody gives them much respect; I don’t think they did either. We felt like we were kind of disrespected going into the game by kind of him and just that whole team. They felt very confident, but we also feel confident also. So, I wasn’t really surprised, but I was definitely pleased.” — Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey on holding USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to 9 receiving yards.