TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama coach Nick Saban updated the team’s status and talked about the challenges of having so many new faces on the staff as the Crimson Tide opened spring practices on Tuesday.
Here are the highlights of what Saban had to say during his post-game press conference:
• Good to get back out there, start building an identity for this team and what they want to accomplish. Message to the players was everyone embrace the target.
• I know everyone wants a depth chart, but it’s an organizational took for how we go about practice. We had a good first practice, but have a long way to go especially in some certain spots we don’t have a lot of depth developed.
• We have fewer numbers than usual, but it provides the coaches a better chance to work with the guys we have.
• LB Anfernee Jennings (knee) won’t play this spring. Rehab is going well. We’re taking it easy with this injury. RB Josh Jacobs had ankle surgery, might return at some point in the spring and do some drills. OL Matt Womack had a foot fracture, it was bothering him all offseason and he aggravated it on a staircase during spring break. DB Keaton Anderson (shoulder) is out. OL Kendall Randolph (Achilles) is out.
• QB Tua Tagovailoa hurt his thumb today. Heading to Birmingham to have it checked out, but will probably be out a while. It’s the thumb on his throwing hand. He and Jalen Hurts were splitting reps.
• LB Keith Holcombe is giving baseball his best shot this spring. He’s been through plenty of spring practices. They’ll decide if he comes back for the football after baseball season is over, “but I hope he chooses to do that.”
• On quarterbacks, “Both have those guys have been great.” They’re two great players who have an opportunity” to contribute to this team. They’re both important for this team.
• Devonta Smith could play corner, but that’s not our plan for him. We’re shorthanded there. We’ve done this before with other players. Does individual drills with corners and then spends the rest of the time with the receivers.
• On new coaches: They’re all working hard. Have a lot of energy. I’m really excited about our staff. There are a lot of changes, I can’t deny that. They all seem to fit and are doing extremely well. We’re very, very fortunate and hit a home run with the guys we hired.
• Burton Burns is still around, he’s still going to contribute in other areas. We need some oversight in some other ways. Just in every way, shape and form I want him to help out in an overall way and it’s been very helpful to me.
• On offensive line, Wills and Leatherwood are both ready to contribute, we might experiment with someone else at center. You hate it when a player can’t compete like Matt, but these guys will get more reps and make progress.
• Butch Jones is an “intern/analyst” — we could have several names with his title. Today was the first day he was cleared by the NCAA. He’s now officially part of the staff.