Football Spring Practice, 2018: Looking to A-day... (Update: Tua with 2nd surgery on hand.)

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TerryP

I do my own stunts but never intentionally.
ADMINISTRATION
#2
A few thoughts to kick this one off...

In the last few weeks I've seen at least two dozen articles talk about the hot topic of the spring being the QB competition. Sorry folks, I don't see it that way. Based on what we've seen for more than a decade Saban will use these few weeks for development. I also suspect we're going to hear good things from all three guys that were on campus last season--all have been putting in work in areas they needed.

I know we've talked about how the offensive line might shake itself out. This is another area where I don't expect to see anything substantial. My question this morning is more along the lines of a guess, a hypothetical question if you will.

How many different groupings will we see this spring alone on the offensive line?

The wide receiver rotation will be one I'll be watching. It's rare to see a team return zero starters.

While the defense is returning starters in the interior, it's another position to watch when we see rotations reported. Cowan, Benton, and Allen are a few worth watching in my opinion.

I'll leave the guessing on the secondary in your hands. I'm still of the opinion Diggs gets a really long look versus some who think he'll be switching sides of the ball this season. McKinney, Thompson, and Smith the other three?

'Tis football season again!
 

Destiny's Child

It's Rolling Baby
#3
Excited that spring football is here for sure. There are several things I will be looking for this spring and I am sure many will be paying attention. I want to see the QB's all though spring isn't fair to Hurts as he wont be "live" so it's hard for him to run.

I want to also see the nose tackles and what we do there as we are going to miss Payne more than some probably think. The outside backers will be interesting as Jennings should be back at full speed and I have never been sold on Christian Miller. I think if one of the younger guys can step up that position can be up for grabs.

I agree with you TerryP the wide receiver competition should be fierce all though I have seen many players show out during spring only to see them disappear by fall time like Robert Foster and Corey Grant. I still want to see these young guys go out there and compete for truly open spots.
 

TUSKtimes

Riding The Wave
#4
Offensive line: Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.

Quarterback: The idea we only have a half to look at Tua's work is just wrong. He played a lot of football and whether it was Ole Miss, Vandy, Tennessee, Mercer, it was always the same. Meaning? That was the same guy I saw in the second half of the national championship game.

Jalen can change. He can reinvent himself with his approach to the pass and the run. I do believe an unusual fear of mistakes can get the best of you.

Defensive Line: The talent is there and the sooner coach Kool gets to work the better.

Lbers: This could very well be the deepest group we've ever had. Mixing and matching all the possibilities should be fun.

DB: I'm sure this is the group I'll be staring at. More than likely Carter and Thompson will anchor whatever we come up with. I hope Saivion Smith is all that he's supposed to be. Who isn't excited about Surtain, who is potentially the best DB to step on the field during Saban's tenure. We have a lot of talent that's been in the system for a few years now. It's such a complicated scheme maybe this is the spring lights start coming on.

Special teams: New kicker, new punter, new ST coordinator that I'm pretty excited about. And that Jaylen Waddle fellow has me thinking right here is where he could make his mark.
 
#5
You won't hear the outcome of any position battles during or after Spring practice. All the competitions will continue into August. After each scrimmage Saban will compliment players and say what the did well and where a focus needs to be.
 

alagator

Verified Member
#6
You won't hear the outcome of any position battles during or after Spring practice. All the competitions will continue into August. After each scrimmage Saban will compliment players and say what the did well and where a focus needs to be.
Oversimplification and not really accurate either.

We'll see some of the guys doing interviews with the press. Since Saban's been here it's been a given that when we see guys talking to the press they are in significant roles. As an example, If we start seeing a guy like Christian Miller getting press time when the media can talk to players we can be rest assured he's on the field game one.

There are some positions we won't see a starter named. There's probably five or six on defense but we'll be able to whittle that down.
 
#7
Oversimplification and not really accurate either.

We'll see some of the guys doing interviews with the press. Since Saban's been here it's been a given that when we see guys talking to the press they are in significant roles. As an example, If we start seeing a guy like Christian Miller getting press time when the media can talk to players we can be rest assured he's on the field game one.

There are some positions we won't see a starter named. There's probably five or six on defense but we'll be able to whittle that down.
In the Spring we'll see upper classmen and those with more experience meeting with the press. Whoever we see, don't make the assumption that these are starters (there is no depth chart).
 

TerryP

I do my own stunts but never intentionally.
ADMINISTRATION
#8
Whoever we see, don't make the assumption that these are starters (there is no depth chart).
I can't recall ever seeing a kid interview with the press who wasn't in a starting role. Understand, by "starting role" I'm referring to guys who will contribute a lot. After all, if we got down to the brass tacks of the matter, we could probably label 30 or more as starters depending on sets and personnel groupings used to start a game.

The first time I noticed the pattern was back in '09 with guys like Colin Peek. Saban's has been consistent on that front from my observations.
 
#10
with the short class and several "allegations" of grad transfers and Juco guys who did not sign... is there any real info regarding additional help on the DL or Dbackfield? Where is HULK when we need him?
 
#15
“I honestly believe that if you are willing to out-condition the opponent, have confidence in your ability, be more aggressive than your opponent and have a genuine desire for team victory, you will become the national champions. If you have all the above, you will acquire confidence and poise, and you will have those intangibles that win the close ones.”.....Coach Bryant

“recognize certain traits that seem to be in every champion: passion, commitment, confidence, pride in performance, high standards of excellence, relentlessness, perseverance, and the ability to perform in adverse circumstances.” Nick Saban
 
#17
No idea what video you're talking about, Jill.

Don't copy and paste the url of the page, copy and paste the date/time of the post.
What do you mean, no idea? I'm confused. I put the URL in the post. You'd click it, then go to the first post on the page. How else are folks supposed to get there?
 

bama alum

Verified Member
HARRY'S
#20
Nick Saban is ready for another season -- and that's just the beginning

Nick Saban is ready for another season -- and that's just the beginning

(video interview with Reese Davis)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Earlier this month, Alabama coach Nick Saban finally got to enjoy his first full day off in Tuscaloosa since the season ended. Sure, he'd spent a few days vacationing in Florida and even played golf at Augusta National, but this was the first time he kicked back and relaxed at the house, enjoying the aftermath of another national title.

At one point, Saban turned to his wife, Terry, and joked, "What the hell are we going to do the rest of the day?"

It was 8 a.m.

For a guy who hears with increasing frequency that he might be nearing the finish line -- perhaps wishful thinking from rival recruiters as much as anything -- the 66-year-old Saban isn't showing any signs of slowing down as Alabama begins another year of spring practice on Tuesday. For that matter, he can't imagine what he would do if he weren't coaching football.

"That's what everybody keeps saying, that I'm not going to be doing this for much longer, and all the people who say it have no idea what I'm going to do," Saban told ESPN during a wide-ranging interview. "I've been involved in some fashion with football and being a part of a football team ever since I can remember. I don't know what it would be like not doing it, and don't want to know."

One of Saban's former coaching rivals, Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier, said the rest of the college football world might want to take Saban at his word when he says retirement hasn't crossed his mind. The two talked after Spurrier stepped down during the 2015 season, and Spurrier said their conversation was telling.

"Nick ain't thinking about retiring, not even close," Spurrier said. "He can go into his 70s easy, and I think he will.

"I told him he won't retire until he loses three games in a season. He told me, 'If I ever lose three games around here again, they might kill me.' I think he was joking, but I'm not sure."

Kidding aside, Saban enters his 12th season at Alabama in tiptop shape. He's a notoriously light eater and weighs exactly the same (180 pounds) as he did during his senior season at Kent State in 1972. His pace -- be it on the recruiting trail, the practice field or one of his pickup basketball games -- remains as relentless as ever.

"The way I look at it is, as long as I'm healthy and as long as I feel that I can do a good job, I want to keep doing it because I enjoy doing it," Saban said. "What I don't want to do is just stay forever, forever and forever and ride the program down where I'm not creating value. I would never want to do that, and I think I'm a long ways from doing that. I don't want to talk about anybody else, but there have been a couple of coaches where their legacy was tarnished by them maybe doing it longer than they should have. That won't be me."

Saban's chase for coaching immortality is real, even though he shrugs it off as "clutter" that gets in the way of preparing his team each year. Yes, he's aware of the monster he's created at Alabama. And, yes, he's aware that you have to keep feeding that monster. But he doesn't agree that he and his program are defined purely by the number of championships the Tide rake in.

"I don't base being successful on what the standard is on the outside," Saban said. "I agree that the expectation is that we have to win the national championship every year. That's what it's become here. But I don't think having a good program necessarily is totally relevant to how many national championships you win."
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NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 23: Alabama head coach Nick Saban during a college football game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 23, 2017 at Commodore Stadium in Nashville, TN. Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire
Saban, who has guided Alabama to an unprecedented five national championships in nine years, also isn't naive.

"You've got to win games to survive. I get that," Saban said. "But to make that the standard anywhere, winning five national championships in nine years ... it's just not realistic. Nobody had ever won five championships in nine years, and now the expectation is that you're supposed to win every year? It's not going to happen."

As fiercely driven and competitive as Saban is, senior running back Damien Harris said one of the big misconceptions about Alabama's program is that everything is geared solely toward winning championships.

"People on the outside look at the winning and the success we've had and the dynasty Coach Saban has built, and then you get here and realize this place is about a lot more than that," Harris said. "Yes, we want to win, dominate our opponents and be the toughest team, but at the end of the day, this place is 100 percent about the grind, the buy-in from everybody and the commitment to excellence, and that's all Coach Saban.

"We're proud of the championships we've won here, but not once have I heard Coach Saban use that as motivation, that we've got to win championships. It's not about the destination. It's about the journey, and I think that's what keeps him going."

But what a journey it's been.

To win five national championships in nine years is dizzying enough, but Alabama's .899 winning percentage over the past decade is the best of any major college school over a 10-year span since Bud Wilkinson and Oklahoma dominated the sport from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. Alabama's 125 wins over the past decade are the most for any FBS school during a 10-year span in the Associated Press poll era (since 1936), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Just as impressive is that Alabama never has a real letdown. The Tide have lost just one game to a team ranked outside the top 15 in the AP poll in the past 10 years, that loss coming to Spurrier's No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks in 2010. For perspective, Ohio State has lost 10 games to teams ranked outside the top 15 during that same span, Oklahoma 13 games, Florida State 20 games, Clemson 21 games and USC 26 games.

Since Saban's second season in 2008, Alabama has played just three regular-season games in which it hasn't been legitimately in the national championship conversation: against Mississippi State, Georgia State and Auburn in 2010 after losing 24-21 at LSU on Nov. 6.

In the Crimson Tide's five national championship seasons under Saban, the team went 17-2 against top-10 opponents, and since the start of Saban's second season in Tuscaloosa in 2008 the Tide are 27-9 overall against top-10 foes.

"I know everybody has their own interpretation of who Coach Saban is, and people get caught up in all of the wins and all of the championships," Harris said. "But what separates Coach Saban is his ability to bring out the best in every one of his players."

Saban is the first to admit he's old-school in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean he's unwilling to adapt. This will be his youngest coaching staff since he's been at Alabama, and despite massive turnover of his staff the past few years, there's been zero slippage in the program.

"Just because we change people, we don't change philosophy," said Saban, whose 2018 staff won't include a single on-field coach from the 2015 national championship staff in the same role. "We don't change what we do, how we want to do it or why it's important to do it a certain way.

"The people that we hire don't come in and reinvent the wheel. They implement the philosophy that we have. Now, they have input and we make changes. We change all the time. I'm always looking for a better way. And when you get new people, you get new ideas, and that's a good thing. But the basic core of what we do, we don't change. You define the expectation for everybody, and this is [Bill] Belichick through and through and where I learned it, because then it's easy for people who understand what the expectation is to be accountable to it."

Five of Saban's former assistants from the past three years are now head coaches elsewhere -- Kirby Smart at Georgia, Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee, Mario Cristobal at Oregon, Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic and Billy Napier at Louisiana.

So it wasn't by accident that this Alabama staff is so young. Newcomers Pete Golding and Karl Scott on defense and Josh Gattis on offense are all in their early-to-mid-30s, meaning five of the Crimson Tide's 10 on-field assistant coaches are under 40.

"I was making a conscious attempt to get younger," Saban said. "If you look through the years, until lately, I always had young guys. I had a real young staff at LSU, and look at all the young guys I've had over the years who emerged as really good coaches. They have more energy in recruiting, which is important, and they relate to the players better. It wasn't like we got rid of guys. They got better jobs, but I was looking to get younger."

That doesn't mean Saban is ready to say this infusion of fresh blood has given him more juice, although he has noticed one difference.

"I've got a little more patience than I used to have, but that's been a gradual thing through the years in philosophy of dealing with coaches and handling players and helping players," Saban said. "They respond better when you listen to what they have to say. Now, what is right for them or what is the right thing to do is still the right thing to do, but the approach is a little different."

Smart, whose first meeting against his old boss was the loss in the national championship game a year ago, said his enduring takeaway from all those years working under Saban was simply that you hold everybody's feet to the fire and hold everybody accountable.

"And that goes for every single meeting, every single drill, every single practice and every single day," Smart said.

Or as Saban likes to remind his coaches, "If you ain't coaching it, then you're letting it happen."

One thing we know about Saban is that he'll keep coaching it, the only way he knows how.

"He's as invested as he's ever been, and I don't see him leaving any time soon," Harris said.