Alabama football fans will get an official post-Fan Day practice update on Sunday. Beginning at 10:00 CST, Nick Saban, Kevin Steele and Tommy Rees will have media sessions. We can expect to be enlightened. We should not expect to get detailed answers to every media question.
Full disclosure is rarely wise for coaches and the trio will not pull back much of the curtain.
Observations from Saturday are provided below. No doubt I will be contradicted by one or perhaps all of the Crimson Tide coaches.
Alabama Football Practice No. 3 – What was learned and what can be guessed
Three things are important to remember. First, Fan Days are always vanilla versions on both sides of the ball. Second, it was miserably hot in Tuscaloosa with sweating probably impacting the throwing and catching. Thirdly, while the players went after each other hard, they played in shells, without a full complement of pads. The bottom line is except for the heat, the two upcoming scrimmages will be much different.
Whatever we learned on Saturday may get unlearned over the next two weeks.
- Quarterback – No separation was gained on Saturday, with Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson still pretty even to become QB1. Tyler Buchner was noticeably behind Milroe and Simpson. It could be argued the Tide’s third-best QB on Saturday was Dylan Lonergan.
- Wide Receiver – Loads of talent with Burton, Brooks, Benson and Bond leading the way, but Bond had a bad drop that should have been a TD catch from Milroe. Plenty of depth at wideout, but the drops …
- Offensive Line – Elijah Pritchett began at left tackle but left with an apparent ankle injury and was not part of the 11v.11 work. Kadyn Proctor took over for him. The players were moved around a good bit but most frequently the first group was from left guard to right tackle, Terrence Ferguson II, Seth McLaughlin, Tyler Booker and JC Latham.
- Defensive Line – The top six in the rotation were Jaheim Oatis, Justin Eboigbe, Tim Smith, Tim Keenan, Jah-Marien Latham and Damon Payne. Freshman James Smith gained some praise.
- Outside Linebackers – A deeper group of linebackers cannot be remembered. And not just at Alabama, but anywhere in college football – ever. Jeremiah Alexander stood out. Freshmen Keon Keeley, Yhonzae Pierre and Qua Russaw have third-year player bodies. Despite being a summer enrollee, Keeley could make a strong contribution this fall.
- Inside Linebackers – Deontae Lawson is the Mike and someone will now have to beat out Jihaad Campbell at the Will.
- Defensive Backs – Kool-Aid will be an All-American. Calen Downs will be All-SEC at safety. Everything else appears fluid, The next two most likely additional starters is Malachi Moore and then, Terrion Arnold. But don’t count out Trey Amos and Jaylen Key, along with Kristian Story when he is 100%. Plus Devonta Smith showed on Saturday that he is in the mix. The group may be a bit short on Alabama football game experience, but like the outside linebackers (and the running backs) the Crimson Tide is loaded with talent in the secondary.
- Running Backs – The Tide, when Jam Miller returns from his quad strain will have a four-headed monster at running back. Justice Haynes may end up being the best.
Stay tuned for a Sunday afternoon update after we hear from the coaches.