Stephen's Report

Practice report: Reserve LB improving, Tide ready for first scrimmage

Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

Before it takes to Bryant-Denny Stadium for its first scrimmage, Alabama went through its seventh practice today in sunny, 65-degree weather conditions. 

For head coach Nick Saban, he mentioned at Tuesday’s presser on how the Crimson Tide is looking to find leaders on defense. While Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses are the anchors at inside linebacker, redshirt sophomore Ben Davis has shown much improvement this week. 

As sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continues (thumb) to progress, Jalen Hurts (junior) and Mac Jones (sophomore) have gotten the majority of the reps with first-team players. 

Listed below is a breakdown of observations from practice. 

-Damien Harris took running backs through pass-catching with quarterbacks, and had Najee Harris and Brian Robinson following him. No timetable has been set on Josh Jacobs’ (ankle) return, however, Saban did state the junior could be back before the spring period ends. 

-Tyrell Shavers led one group of wide receivers through warm-ups, as Jerry Jeudy (knee) rehabs from surgery. Mac Hereford was behind him, while the other line consisted of Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III. Senior tight end Hale Hentges snagged a pretty pass from Mac Jones.  

-Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski had his unit on the sled. Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis started the drill, followed by Quinnen Williams, Johnny Dwight, Phidarian Mathis, LaBryan Ray and Stephon Wynn.  

-Alabama fans have been waiting for Ben Davis to emerge for a while, and it appears as though the lightbulb is starting to come on. He looked very smooth going through tackling drills and seems to finally have the grasp on details. Davis remains third-string behind Wilson and Moses, but the work ethic and intensity to be great is beginning to surface. 

-Things on the offensive line remain the same with Jonah Williams (LT), Joshua Casher (LG), Ross Pierschbacher (center), Lester Cotton (RG) and Jedrick Wills (RT) manning the first team. Brandon Kennedy took reps at center for the second team group. 

-Delta State, the Alma mater of Alabama inside linebacker coach Pete Golding, was on the University of Alabama campus observing practice. Golding played safety at Delta State from 2002 to 2005, before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant (2006) and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach (2010-11).

-Former Tide stars Bo Scarbrough, Shaun Dion Hamilton and O.J. Howard took in practice from the sideline. Hamilton and Scarbrough are looking to be drafted in the upcoming NFL venue. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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