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Senior quarterback Jake Coker returned to practice Tuesday, after sustaining a minor foot injury according to a press release from Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

The media spotted Coker working with athletic trainer Jeff Allen. Alec Morris and David Cornwell split reps in leading all quarterbacks through drills. Cooper Bateman stood behind Morris, while Blake Barnett stood behind Cornwell in the team’s 16th practice session.

Touchdown Alabama Magazine contributor Maxwell Taylor and yours truly have a Q&A segment, breaking down all observations from Tuesday’s practice.


TDAM Q&A segment


Stephen: Senior quarterback Jake Coker returned to practice Tuesday, after sustaining a minor foot injury. He was seen working with athletic training Jeff Allen. Alec Morris and David Cornwell split reps leading all quarterbacks in drills, with Cooper Bateman behind Morris and Blake Barnett behind Cornwell. What did you see in practice from these four?


Maxwell: I saw a sense of urgency from the contending quarterbacks. Of course, Barnett and Cornwell were trying to be as accurate as they could in drills. It was Alec Morris who looked the comfortable during the media view period. Morris was very accurate with his throws during that time. The coaching staff could be sold on his command of the system  and might lead to him starting September 5th in Dallas. The competition is wide open just like Saban says.


Stephen: Junior running back Derrick Henry is a known commodity. He is expected to have a good season. Kenyan Drake will be used more as a receiver in the slot or a deep ball target. True freshman Damien Harris and redshirt freshman Ronnie Clark are two players that have to make a name for themselves. What qualities did you see from them?


Maxwell: I see Harris’ vision as his biggest strong suit. Damien really understands how to hit the hole and follow his blocks. Harris gets to the second level with ease and is a problem in space. He’s really has a third gear that helps him break-off those big 40 to 60 yard runs.


Stephen: Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Black (ankle) wasn’t too limited today. He participated a lot in pass-catching drills, while sophomore Robert Foster (knee) was toward the end of the line. True freshman Calvin Ridley led Foster’s group through drills Tuesday. How much did Ridley impress you? Is Foster slipped some in consistency?


Maxwell: I don’t know if he has slipped due to his consistency, but foster has seemed to drop off in the depth chart. Calvin Ridley starting in front of him for drills is a clear message from the coaching staff of who is advancing to starter positions.


Stephen: Senior center Ryan Kelly and sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson are the anchors up front, but Ross Pierschbacher, Bradley Bozeman, Dominick Jackson and Alphonse Taylor all have potential. If you had to create a starting depth chart (left to right) for Alabama’s offensive line, how would it read?

Who are  some other players that can work their way into the rotation?


Maxwell: I think you have the offensive line set the way that the coaching staff wants it. All of those guys you named have been consistent at practice. Mario Cristobal has a process with how to learn a position on the line and Coach Saban trust it.


Stephen: Graduate transfer Richard Mullaney is an intriguing player. He understands speed (Oregon State, Pac-12) and has good size at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds. Mullaney reminds many Alabama fans of former Crimson Tide standout Kevin Norwood.

Define Mullaney’s role on this year’s team?


Maxwell: Mullaney should be seen as a security blanket to whoever wins the job under center. Richard was a stand-out WR at Oregon State and will be a seasoned veteran in college football compared to many of the other recovers on the depth chart.


Stephen: Alabama’s defensive backfield looks to be much improved under first-year coach Mel Tucker. Cyrus Jones has established himself as a leader at cornerback. Sophomore Tony Brown appears to be the other corner.

In Alabama’s nickel and dime packages, true freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick is playing various roles. Junior defensive back Maurice Smith has a lot of range, and the safeties are Geno Smith, Ronnie Harrison and Eddie Jackson. What impressed you about this group?

Where does redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey fit in? Where does Bradley Sylve fit?


Maxwell: I don’t know right now where those two players fit in. It seemed like all offseason that the star position was Marlon’s to lose. However, Minkah Fitzpatrick has come in and really impressed the coaches with his abillity to soak up the system. Sylve seems to be in the same boat unfortunately, but that happens sometimes in the world of college football.


Practice Notes from Tuesday

  • Senior running back Kenyan Drake (hamstring) fully participated in drills. He was near the end of the line.
  • Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Black (ankle) wasn’t too limited. He participated in pass-catching drills, but at the end of the line.
  • Sophomore receiver Robert Foster (knee) fully participated in drills, but dropped some passes.
  • Sophomore receiver ArDarius Stewart and true freshman Calvin Ridley led both lines through drills.
  • True freshman running back Xavian Marks was third in position drills, behind Damien Harris and Derrick Henry.
  • Redshirt freshman Ronnie Clark continues to either be third or fourth in Alabama’s rotation of backs.
  • Alabama’s tight ends worked on run blocking techniques, while sophomore punter JK Scott was in the background.
  • Junior offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor is battling Bradley Bozeman for a spot at right guard.
Stephen's Report: Alabama OL drills (Aug. 18, 2015)


Stephen's Report: Alabama RB drills (Aug. 18, 2015)

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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