Alabama Football: Nick Saban provided the latest from Tuscaloosa

Mandatory credit: Mickey Welsh/Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory credit: Mickey Welsh/Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK /

Due to rain in Tuscaloosa Wednesday afternoon, Alabama Football practiced inside. Media viewing is not allowed when the Alabama Crimson Tide works inside so Wednesday became the second straight practice with no media viewing periods.

Nick Saban gave a video review after practice and answered several questions via a Zoom connection.

Most noteworthy were clarifications about two Crimson Tide players. Saban confirmed the rumor of Xavier Williams missing the 2021 season by saying, “he’s medically not going to play this year.” An explanation was also provided about why Jahleel Billingsley missed the first two Alabama Football, Fall Camp sessions. Many of us (including me) jumped to wrong conclusions about Billingsley’s absence. Nick Saban explained,

"Jahleel’s back at practice. We had some COVID protocols that we had to go through with him."

Saban added Billingsley will have to work his way “back up the depth chart” after missing some time. That statement is included here, without any attendant conclusions.

Alabama Football running back, Trey Sanders received some words of praise from Saban.

"he hasn’t been limited. He’s been doing really well. He’s worked hard, he’s doing a good job, we’re very pleased with the progress he’s made."

In answering a media question, Saban also had positive words about Jaylin Armour-Davis, saying JAD can play multiple positions in the secondary and has become “more physical.”

A major unknown for Fall Camp is which players will step into lead roles as punt returner and kickoff return specialists. Brian Robinson Jr. was a primary kickoff returner last season, but as the Tide’s No. 1 running back, is not expected to have KOR duties this season. In responding to which players were making progress at KOR, Saban mentioned Jameson Williams, Camar Wheaton and ‘other’ running backs.

As far as punt return, Saban first mentioned JoJo Earle and Jacorey Brooks as doing well. He added that Slade Bolden has experience with the job and is “reliable.”

In what should be no surprise to anyone, Saban voiced an old complaint about the lack of value in “hypothetical” questions.

Alabama Football and Nick Saban ready for some contact

Nick talked about moving beyond the acclimation period.

"Tomorrow will be the first day we can put on pads. 2 days in shorts, 2 in shoulder pads, we’ve been able to make pretty good progress. Scrimmage on Saturday."

A full video of the media session follows.

Speaking of hypotheticals, here are some SEC predictions.. dark. Next

Fall Camp includes just two scrimmages. Both are important and the first one, this Saturday will begin to answer some depth chart questions.