Quick Hits: Alabama spring practice #10
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Alabama football held its 10th spring practice Wednesday at Thomas-Drew Field. Alabama men’s head basketball coach Avery Johnson meet the team and gave a powerful speech before practice. Touchdown Alabama Magazine writers Maxwell Taylor and yours truly have another Quick Hits segment, recapping Wednesday’s practice.
Q1 Stephen: Wednesday was a huge day for Alabama athletics as former NBA head coach Avery Johnson held a press conference as Alabama’s next head basketball coach. He later introduced himself to Alabama’s football team, and gave a passionate speech before practice. What does Johnson bring to the culture in Tuscaloosa?
A1 Maxwell: In two words, instant recognition. This is critical for a program that hasn’t had it in the past two decades with former coach Mark Godfried, and if you want to go further back to the Winfrey “Wimp” Sanderson days of the mid to late 1980’s. I am extremely pleased with the hire and think that athletic director Bill Battle hit the nail on the head with this one.
Q2 Stephen: True freshman Ronnie Harrison and sophomore Laurence “Hootie” Jones practiced with Alabama’s first-team defense in the secondary. Both guys have size and ball skills, despite a lack of game experience. Will both guys start at the safety position next season?
A2 Maxwell: I won’t say if both players will be holding down a starting spot in the secondary because that is not up to me, but it seems to be pointing that way. This plus factoring in Geno Smith’s early DUI means more starting reps for everyone going for the two open safety spots.
Q3 Stephen: Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban continues to experiment with his players. Today, we saw freshman Deionte Thompson (safety) getting reps at wide receiver, and junior cornerback Eddie Jackson working at safety with the second-team defense. Saban said the experiments aren’t final, but how intriguing is it?
A3 Maxwell: It’s intriguing to the point that both may happen, unlike many of the other moves that the coaching staff has made this spring. Unlike quarterback Cooper Bateman participating in wide receiver drills on Wednesday. junior DB Eddie Jackson seems like a change of scenery in the secondary, after having an up and down season in 2014 coming of an ACL injury suffered in last spring camp. Deionte Thompson also played receiver in highschool, so its likely after all of the injuries we are trying to see all the talent that we have on both sides of the ball.
Q4 Stephen: Senior safety Geno Smith was at practice today. He worked on Alabama’s second-team defense. How much field time will he see in 2015? Will he be used only in certain situations?
A4 Maxwell: I think that Geno will see limited time in the backfield this season, if he continues to misuse his opportunities. This last DUI might have taken his starter reps away from him.
Q5 Stephen: Senior outside linebacker Dillon Lee is pushing for a starting spot, alongside Ryan Anderson and Rashaan Evans. Lee was a solid contributor as a freshman and sophomore, but battled injuries in 2014. He’s a versatile player that competes with reckless abandon. Do you see him accumulating much playing time next season?
A5 Maxwell: I do, Dillon has become a player that Saban seems to trust. He was a good contributor as a freshman and sophomore, and can excel next season, if he stays healthy. He should make an impact at the LB position in 2015.
Q6 Stephen: In today’s presser, coach Saban said left tackle Cam Robinson has to be more maturity and not be satisfied with where he is. Robinson and Ryan Kelly return as the anchors on the offensive line. Robinson’s battled an ankle injury, but is now back in practice. What does he need to do in order to play to his full potential?
A6 Maxwell: The only way Cam Robinson can continue to improve his play is by continuing to take coaching from offensive line coach Mario Cristobal. This will help a player who has all the natural talent in the world become of a technician and help his maturation in becoming the top offensive lineman in all of college football and soon the 1st lineman in the draft. That’s where I think he is headed next.
Quotes from Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban
Saban on quarterbacks: “David Cornwell has done well. Blake Barnett, being a freshman, has done well. Jake Coker and Alec Morris have done well at times.
Saban on Reuben Foster and Alabama’s LBs: “He’s [Reuben] had a good spring and has avoided injury issues. We have three guys that I’m comfortable with inside.”
Saban on freshman running back Bo Scarbrough: “He has a successful surgery. We hope to have him back before the start of the season.”
- Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (ankle) is day-to-day.
- Senior cornerback Cyrus Jones stretched with the team before practice.
- Players seeing action on Alabama’s second-team defense, Eddie Jackson (safety), Geno Smith (safety) and Marlon Humphrey (corner).
- Laurence Jones and Ronnie Harrison got reps at safety on the first-team defense.
- Sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson had his left ankle wrapped. Still practiced.
- Senior defensive back Geno Smith worked on second-team.
- Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster were together at linebacker on first-team.
- Alabama men’s basketball head coach Avery Johnson spoke to the team before practice.