TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama got back to work on Monday with its ninth spring practice. The Crimson Tide has just five practices, including one scrimmage, before its A-Day spring game on April 16. It was a hot spring day (77 degrees) as the Tide worked outside in full pads.
Here are some takeaways:
- Cornerback Marlon Humphrey stood next to his position group and wore a regular jersey, but didn’t participate in any group drills. With Humphrey out, Anthony Averett and Minkah Fitzpatrick were the corners as the Tide worked on its dime package. Maurice Smith lined up at star (fifth defensive back) and Ronnie Harrison was the money (sixth defensive back). Laurence “Hootie” Jones and Eddie Jackson, who’s still wearing a black non-contact jersey, were the safeties. Reuben Foster was the lone linebacker. It’s worth noting that Rashaan Evans watched the drill and shadowed the money position.
- There’s a good chance Evans could be the other inside linebacker in the nickel package next to Foster. That would likely mean Shaun Dion Hamilton would be the guy next to Foster in the Tide’s base defense. It’s not uncommon for Alabama to split the roles like that. Last year, Foster was the extra linebacker next to Reggie Ragland in nickel while Hamilton was the starter when the Tide opened in its base defense.
- There was no change in the quarterback line. Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell were the first two up followed by Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts. Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he wanted the two young quarterbacks (Barnett and Hurts) to just execute the offense and not go “rat trap” thinking they have to make every play. That would indicate that those two are behind Bateman and Cornwell, which is to be expected given the experience difference. At this point, Bateman has the best grasp of the offense having been here three years. But Cornwell’s natural abilities could make it an interesting competition.
- There was no sign of second-year offensive lineman Richie Petitbon.
- In his last couple of press conferences, Saban has harped on wanting to get the five best offensive linemen on the field. We know Cam Robinson is one of those, and he’ll be at left tackle once healthy. Ross Pierschbacher appears to be the man at center, as his move there is no longer an experiment. That leaves three spots open. Reading between the lines, Lester Cotton and Jonah Williams are either in the group of five or right on the edge, and it’s a matter of where they fit. Cotton has played both right tackle and left guard. Williams has worked at both left tackle and right tackle. Other guys like Alphonse Taylor, Bradley Bozeman, Brandon Kennedy and Dallas Warmack are competing for spots as well.
Up next: Alabama is off Tuesday and will return to practice on Wednesday. Saban and select players are scheduled to speak with reporters.