After a needed and earned respite, Alabama Football returns to practice Thursday. It will be the first of up to 15 sessions before the Alabama Crimson Tide takes on Cincinnati on New Year’s Eve.
Alabama football fans are concerned about the status of the Tide’s starting cornerbacks for the Playoff games. On Wednesday, Nick Saban did not completely rule out Josh Jobe playing again. Saban said,
"Josh Jobe has played with a turf toe all year long. It got to the point where it was very difficult for him to be able to practice and be able to play. So he is very doubtful for the game."
Perhaps it is possible for Jobe to recover from a recent medical procedure before a National Championship game. It would be a major surprise if he does. There is some reason for optimism that Jalyn Armour-Davis might recover enough to play. Frequent recent rumors about JAD having had surgery now appear to be unfounded. On Wednesday, Nick Saban said,
"I don’t know what Jalyn Armour-Davis’ status will be, how much he will be able to do in practice, where he will be physically. I know he wants to try to play in the game."
Until the comments from Saban, Alabama football insiders have been predicting the starting cornerbacks against Cincinnati would be Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson. McKinstry has gained some experience at corner this season, as a backup and recent starting roles. He made an important pass deflection against Auburn in the Iron Bowl overtime. Jackson’s playing time has been mostly on special teams. The formerly, highly touted JUCO defensive back is a physically gifted player. He has not yet been challenged in anything approaching a Playoff game situation.
Had Marcus Banks not decided to transfer, he would likely be the next man up at corner rather than Jackson. Even if Jobe and JAD miss the Playoffs, Kool-Aid and Khyree are confident replacements.
Better news on the injury front is that Brian Robinson Jr. is expected to be fully recovered for the Cincinnati game. JoJo Earle and Darrian Dalcourt should be available as well. Robbie Ouzts is considered questionable. Chris Allen, John Metchie III, Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams and Camar Wheaton are all out for the season.
A new Crimson Tide player will join practice on Thursday. Incoming 2022 class, quarterback, Ty Simpson will practice for the rest of this season. He cannot participate in games. Many Alabama football fans would like new incoming transfer cornerback, Eli Ricks to be immediately eligible. NCAA rules do not allow him to play for the Crimson Tide this season.
Speaking of Simpson, Nick Saban gave him unusually lavish praise, talking about him on Wednesday.