Alabama football: What to watch for this A-Day weekend
Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at what we can learn from A-Day.
In many ways, the annual spring game is a waste of time, a methadone equivalent of football in the white-walled rehab facility of the off-season. Its biggest value is not in the team’s competitive development or in the resolution of position battles. It’s a day for the fans. The free admission and relative ease of access make it the only opportunity many fans have to see the team that defines their falls (and winters and springs and summers) — particularly in some of the low-income parts of the state.
On offense, it’s unlikely we’ll get to learn much. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and coach Nick Saban are not going to open up the playbook in the spring game on national television, and 3 of the 4 four running backs are out injured. Daboll’s “system” remains a mystery for good reason — he doesn’t really have one. According to that bit of reporting from Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News, Daboll is as well-rounded an offensive mind as they come and able to adapt his offense to the issues of the week. So, he may not be more conservative than Lane Kiffin, or more aggressive, but he will almost certainly be more flexible, and that’s more valuable to Saban than anything.
In the void, all the focus will be on Jalen Hurts’s arm, source of much consternation over the last 5 months. Saban said Hurts’ passing game was underdeveloped last season when the team spent far too much time being worried about protecting their quarterback.
There will be some knowledge to be gleaned from what passes for a depth chart in these parts, though that is subject to change in the fall, when players return from injuries and more freshmen join the team.
And in annual breaking spring game news, Alabama doesn’t really have a kicker. But it does have JK Scott.
AL.com has a full schedule of events for the game.
Deionte Thompson is on campus and in class while he works through the legal process. Saban is still gathering information, according to Suttles.
One of Alabama’s time-honored traditions is being threatened by erosion, and there’s not much to be done.
Alabama’s now-famous sideline tent is thriving on campuses nationwide and could soon make the jump to more serious applications.
Saban explains why he’s always in practice working as a secondary coach.
Built by Bama
Reuben Foster is back in the headlines after it was revealed that his NFL combine drug test was so diluted that it triggered a positive test. Foster claims the test was diluted because he was re-hydrating after a pre-combine illness. The result will place him immediately into the NFL drug program, where he’ll face mandatory random tests. It’s one more black mark in a tough few months for the middle linebacker, from his background in Auburn to perceived shortcomings in commanding a defense.
The basic facts of Foster’s career work in his favor: He was an outstanding linebacker who ran one of the most complex defenses in the country and never had any major issues off the field.
As usual, A-Day features a roster of former Alabama stars back on campus before their own OTAs start. This year, at least two of those players are on campus to finish a degree — Derrick Henry and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Saban name-dropped former players that will be at A-Day, including @zeus30hightower, @MarkIngram22, @KingHenry_2, @marcelldareus & @haha_cd6
— Alex Byington (@abyingtonTD) April 21, 2017
In the NBA playoffs, JaMychal Green posted 8 points and 6 rebounds as his Memphis Grizzlies took Game 3 against the Spurs to make the series 2-1 in San Antonio’s favor.
Around the Capstone
The baseball team had every chance to get its third SEC win in fine fashion by beating No. 15 Mississippi State on the road on Thursday night, but threw its best shots away by allowing runs on a throwing error on a bunt and a play at the plate that got away from the catcher. Alabama fell, 6-5, after a final-out groundout left a man on third base. The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Friday.
Softball gets a rare weekend out of conference when it hosts No. 9 Washington for 2 games.
Both golf teams will participate in the SEC championships this weekend. The women’s team, ranked No. 1 in the country, has only to travel up the interstate to the Greystone Country Club in Birmingham, while the men’s team is headed to St. Simons Island in Georgia. The men’s tournament is split into 2 rounds of stroke play and 2 rounds of match play, while the women’s tournament is 4 rounds of stroke play.
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