Guessing at What Experiments Saban Will Try This Fall at Alabama
By: Larry Burton
Every spring Nick Saban experiments with players with things like trying this receiver at corner, or this end at linebacker or some other position change. He does this for many reasons. Top among them are seeing who can fill an apparent hole or need for more depth at a certain position, or seeing how a talented player buried in the depth chart at his current position might get some playing time somewhere else.
This season you can expect to see some normal defensive ends and outside linebackers get a look at inside linebacker. You may get some lanky and fast young linebackers get a look at safety or something in the dime and six defensive back scheme. You’ll always have an offensive guard or tackle trying a few reps at center and lastly you’ll always find a speedy receiver getting a look at as a defensive back.
What I don’t think you will see is Jalen Hurts trying any position but quarterback, even though I think he could become wealthy in the NFL as a slot receiver. You won’t find anyone new tying out their punting or kicking legs, Saban is pretty happy with the way things look there. Lastly, I can’t see any defensive and offensive linemen switching sides of the ball this year either.
With a new special team coach this season, you are bound to see this new coach try and field a squad using offensive and defensive players on the kickoff and put teams. Only the specialist like the long snapper, punter and kicker have jobs that are pretty well settled. Also it will be interesting to see if changes are made in the kickoff and punt return backs are made. Let’s face it, neither group set the world on fire from those groups last season and there’s really nowhere to go but up from last year’s production.
So you may some new faces returning punts and kicks as Saban will give the new coordinator a lot of leeway early on in the schedule to try and do his job as he thinks it should be done.
So while most fall practices reveal little and that’s the way coach Saban likes it, it will be interesting to see what this year’s experiments will be. Let us know in the comment section which players or positions you think will fall into Saban’s experiment zone.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter