Monthly Archives: August 2011

‘Roster management issues’ delay practice debut for Woodson

The final scholarship football player on the roster made his Alabama practice debut Wednesday afternoon.

The circumstances surrounding his situation, though, remained unclear.

True freshman receiver Danny Woodson Jr. worked with the wide receivers on the final day for Alabama students to register for classes this semester.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had been vague about his absence since practices opened Aug. 5. Specifics were hard to come by Wednesday, too.

“We have roster management issues that we deal with all the time and I don’t feel like they need to be public information,” Saban said. “We had a scholarship available. (Woodson) was the grayshirt guy. We had other promises that we made to other people in recruiting that maybe could have qualified or been available to come and participate on our team. So until we exhausted those possibilities, we had made a promise to Danny to bring him if we could. And when those things didn’t work out, we brought him in.”

Read the rest of this story in tomorrow’s print edition.


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Possible exclusive picture of Tide’s ribbon helmet sticker

We’ve written about the helmet sticker that Alabama will wear all season remembering those killed in the April 27 tornadoes. Well, here’s what that looks like.

As seen Wednesday

Enjoy the rest of your evening.


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Practice report, video from the scene

The Tide is back on the field as I type. The Kent State game is just a few days off now. Here’s the important stuff:

  • Duron Carter was wearing full pads while the rest of the team had shoulder pads, helmets and shorts.
  • It’s part of the acclamation period required to practice at full strength after Carter missed the first three weeks of practice.
  • Dee Hart was again working with trainers rehabbing his injured knee.
  • Nothing else really stood out, really. Enjoy video of the linebackers with a bonus clip of Carter at the end.


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Saban talks Duron Carter, Kent State

Here are the quick highlights of Nick Saban’s turn on the first weekly SEC teleconference of the season:

  • On Duron Carter, Saban said he will be able to help the team “later on down the road.” He likes size, speed, ability to run routes.
  • Carter will start implementing himself with offense next week. He doesn’t want to risk injury by throwing him out there with limited practice time.
  • Challenges with Kent State come from playing a team with a new head coach and unknown variables that come with that (read more about that later this week in print).
  • About Barrett Jones, Saban said they tried to decide if he was a guard or a tackle.
  • He could be both.
  • How soon he moves back to guard from left tackle depends on how fast Cyrus Kouandjio develops at left tackle.
  • About practice precautions, Saban said the team never practices two in a row with full pads. They don’t hit in practice, except for scrimmages.
  • The downsides include having inexperience with tackling defense and shedding cut blocks.
  • On the SEC’s dominance, Saban said there might be a little more speed among athletes in the South.


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Tide QBs to lose magic ‘force field’ Saturday

Watch any of the practice videos on this sight and you’ll see the Alabama quarterbacks don a different wardrobe on a daily basis. Instead of the white jersey worn by the rest of the offense, the black shirts act as a stop sign for defenders looking to make a hit.

Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim McElwain refers to its as their “force field.”

AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims have yet to take a hit this August, or in the spring for that matter. Here’s my examination of the matter that ran in print today:

TUSCALOOSA — Take the snap. Drop back. Survey the field.

That part won’t change from practice to the game for Alabama’s co-starting quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims. What comes next is a different story.

Those black non-contact jerseys won’t travel down Bear Bryant Drive from the training grounds to the stadium. No, against Kent State in the 11:21 a.m., Saturday opener, the Tide quarterbacks will be facing live fire for the first time in a while.

For the redshirt freshman Sims, he’s yet to see a pass rusher with permission to take him down in college. McCarron took a few hits as a backup a year ago, but from the spring through August practice, he’s shared the protective shield granted to quarterbacks. That added dimension is just one storyline facing the two most analyzed passers in the state these days.

Head coach Nick Saban knows the variables change when the games count.

“I look out there on the practice field lots of days and say, ‘Would that guy have made that decision if he was going to get splattered on that play?’ ” Saban said. “There are some disadvantages to putting a black shirt on a quarterback and not allowing him to get hit.”

Read the rest by clicking here or here.


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Video of running backs, offensive line at practice today

Here’s a second and final look inside practice from Tuesday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. When looking at jersey numbers of the running backs, keep in mind a few are wearing scout team shirts. Brent Calloway did not change his number to 22.

 


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Video of Dee Hart rehabbing at practice today

Take a look at Dee Hart, once the star running back recruit, working to rehab the torn ACL he suffered over the summer. He’s working with Alabama’s head athletic trainer Jeff Allen. More to come.

 


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Freshmen to chip in this fall

A few other true freshmen found their names on the depth chart Monday, but none besides Cyrus Kouandjio is a potential starter just yet.

Star linebacker prospect Trey DePriest is the co-backup behind Dont’a Hightower at middle linebacker, along with senior Chris Jordan. True freshman outside linebacker Xzavier Dickson will share backup duties with redshirt freshman Adrian Hubbard behind Courtney Upshaw.

Vinnie Sunseri and Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix were both listed third at strong and free safety positions, respectively.

Coach Nick Saban said to keep an eye on defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan “if he continues to develop,” although Pagan wasn’t listed on the three-deep Monday.

Read more in today’s notebook in print by clicking here or here.


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Listing the full depth chart

Here is the complete listing of the depth chart released earlier today. Please mind the word OR that means the players on either side share that position. Those separated by commas (,) signify a player is lower on the depth chart than the previous player listed.

You can find this information in its permanent home located right here or a the top of the page.

Offense
Left tackle: Barrett Jones OR Cyrus Kouandjio, Tyler Love
Left guard: Chance Warmack OR Barrett Jones, Alfred McCullough
Center: William Vlachos, Kellen Williams, Chad Lindsay
Right guard: Anthony Steen, John Michael Boswell
Right tackle: D.J. Fluker, Austin Shepherd
Tight end: Michael Williams, Chris Underwood, Brian Vogler
Tight end: Brad Smelley, Harrison Jones
QB: AJ McCarron OR Phillip Sims, Phillip Ely
RB: Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, Jalston Fowler OR Blake Sims
WR: Marquis Maze, Brandon Gibson, Kevin Norwood
WR: DeAndrew White, Kenny Bell, Michael Bowman

Defense
Defensive end: Jesse Williams, Quinton Dial OR Undra Billingsley
Nose guard: Josh Chapman, Nick Gentry OR Jesse Williams
Defensive end: Damion Square, Ed Stinson
SAM LB: Jerrell Harris, Alex Watkins OR Adrian Hubbard
MIKE LB: Dont’a Hightower, Chris Jordan OR Trey DePriest
WILL LB: Nico Johnson OR C.J. Mosley, Tana Patrick
JACK LB: Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hubbard OR Xzavier Dickson
Cornerback: DeQuan Menzie, Dee Milliner, John Fulton
Cornerback: Dre Kirkpatrick, Phelon Jones
Strong safety Robert Lester, Jarrick Williams, Vinnie Sunseri
Free safety: Mark Barron, Will Lowery OR Nick Perry, Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix

Special teams
Placekicker: Jeremy Shelley OR Cade Foster
Kickoffs: Cade Foster
Holder: AJ McCarron, Hardie Buck
Punter: Cody Mandell, Jay Williams
Snapper: Carson Tinker, Kelly Johnson
Punt return: Marquis Maze, DeAndrew White
Kickoff return: Marquis Maze, Dee Milliner

Updated: Excellent video of Duron Carter at practice

Don’t let your eyes fool you, this really is excellent footage of Duron Carter catching passes at Alabama’s practice this afternoon. The zoom is incredible. Enjoy.

Update 5:03 p.m.: I included Nick Saban’s earlier remarks from his news conference regarding Carter.


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Guess who was at practice today

It’s already old news at this point, I guess, but this beat writer can confirm Duron Carter was in fact at practice this afternoon.

I can also tell you he caught all seven passes thrown his way during the media viewing period. All seven.

Carter had to wear just a helmet and shorts today because he’s still required to go through the acclamation period before full practices.

I’m still trying to confirm 100 percent this means he’s good to go for the season. Even if he is, there will surely be some time before he’s at full speed.


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Expanding upon first depth chart

The much-celebrated distribution of the depth chart was already discussed earlier. Now that it’s out, here are the important notes.

Offense

  • Barrett Jones, of course, holds the key to the offensive line. That’s why he’s listed as the No. 1 left tackle, though freshman Cyrus Kouandjio has the slash (substitute for the “or”) at the position. Jones is also listed after the slash at left guard after Chance Warmack. Remember he was the starter at RIGHT tackle last year where Anthony Steen is listed at starter.
  • The only spot Jones hasn’t played this August is right tackle, where D.J. Fluker is the runaway starter. There isn’t a question about William Vlachos at center baring injury.
  • Oh yeah, there’s a quarterback competition.
  • The depth chart lists AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims as co-starters. There’s no need to read listing one before the other because it’s always done alphabetically. More on this at another time.
  • With Darius Hanks suspended for the first two games, DeAndrew White is listed as the other starting wide receiver along with Marquis Maze.
  • Trent Richardson is followed by Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler at running back, though Blake Sims will figure in there somewhere.

Defense

  • For now, Jesse Williams is listed as a starter at defensive end next to nose guard Josh Chapman. Damion Square is on the other side of Chapman.
  • Behind Williams at the end position is fellow JUCO transfer Quinton Dial/Undra Billingsley.
  • Nick Saban also said to look for freshman Jeoffrey Pagen to figure into the mix up front at some point.
  • The linebackers (in a base 3-4 set) are listed as Jerrell Harris and Courtney Upshaw at the outside positions and Dont’a Hightower and Nico Johnson/C.J. Mosley at the inside spots.
  • DeQuan Menzie and Dre Kirkpatrick are listed as the two starting cornerbacks with Dee Milliner a backup, but with the Tide playing so much nickel defense with an extra defensive back, this could be deceiving.
  • Mark Barron and Robert Lester both return to starting gigs at the two safety positions.

Special teams

  • Nothing too major here.
  • Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster still share the place kicking job while Foster will continue kicking off.
  • The most interesting position is kickoff return. Maze and  Milliner are listed there, while last year’s top guy (Richardson) isn’t on the list. Must be keeping him healthy for running back duties.
  • Maze will also return punts again backed up by White.
  • At punter, Cody Mandell is listed ahead of Jay Williams again this season.

Much more to come later on. See you then.

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The depth chart arrives

20110829-122443.jpg

The depth chart arrived just before the news conference. Here’s what it looks like.

I’ll have the full details that someone with a microscope would know already.

Saban updates Duron Carter situation

Junior college transfer Duron Carter dropped a hint about his eligibility earlier on Twitter. Now Nick Saban has an update.

He said it’s not official yet. They’re still waiting on some of the specifics.

“We’re optimistic,” Saban said.

Saban also said Carter might be on the practice field today. The deadline to add or drop classes at UA is Wednesday.

More updates on the matter to come.


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A tweet from the account of Duron Carter

The following was posted on the Twitter account of Duron Carter just a few minutes ago. Read it how you please.

Nick Saban will surely update this situation in his noon news conference.


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