Holden shines at Adidas 7on7, recruits 5-star QB to Bama

Alabama wide receiver pledge boosted his stock at the Adidas 7on7 National Championship this past weekend in Florida. He was busy helping recruit for the Crimson Tide, too.

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Instant Analysis: Monday

ByTravis Reier Apr 1, 6:03 PM

Since 2008, BamaOnLine.com's Instant Analysis has been a staple of Crimson Tide football coverage. That won't change in 2019, as we'll continue to provide Alabama fans with insight and interaction fresh from Tuscaloosa via Facebook Live.

As for items we touched on during the latest edition of IA, they included:

* Residual thoughts from spring scrimmage No. 1.

* First up close look at the running backs this spring.

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WATCH: Tide moves into second half of spring drills

Go inside Monday's practice at Alabama and watch the offensive skill players at work!

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Practice report: Alabama heads indoors after first scrimmage

Here are several observations from the media viewing portion of Monday’s practice.

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Mac Jones Battles In QB Competition

It’s going to be difficult to drop Mac Jones’s name from the Alabama football record book, but for some reason the third-year sophomore quarterback doesn’t seem to be much in the conversation of an important aspect of preparation for the 2019 season.

First, as to that record book entry. Last year’s Louisiana game was not in doubt when Jones was at quarterback for the Crimson Tide in the third quarter. Tua Tagovailoa had quarterbacked most of the first two quarters with Jalen Hurts coming in as first reliever and Alabama had a 49-0 halftime lead.

Late in the third quarter with no more scores having been recorded and Bama backed up to its six-yard line, Jones threw a short pass over the middle to Jaylen Waddle. When Waddle turns on the jets, there aren’t many in college football who can catch him, and none of them were on the field for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Waddle took it for a 94-yard touchdown, which equals the second longest in Alabama history. (AJ McCarron to Amari Cooper for 99 yards vs. Auburn is the longest and the Jones-Waddle hook-up matched the Freddie Kitchens to Michael Vaughn scoring strike against Florida in 1996.)

Although Jones saw action in 14 games as the holder on extra points and field goals, in his eight games as the third quarterback he completed 5-13 passes for 123 yards.

Now, of course, Hurts has transferred to Oklahoma.

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Veteran players recap Alabama's first spring scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama held its first of three spring scrimmages this past Saturday.

This time of year, the defense is typically ahead of the offense. But with the Crimson Tide seeing six starters back on offense, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, along with several reserves that have experience, that isn’t the case this spring. And UA’s defensive players know it.

Just ask safety Xavier McKinney which offensive players stood out out him in Scrimmage 1.

“Everybody,” McKinney said. “Yeah, they all had a good scrimmage. They all look good. I think they have had their time to jell, so I think they’ve jelled well together. So, they all looked good in the scrimmage.”

Inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, the scrimmage consisted of roughly 158 plays and was just over two hours long. The game-like practice “went pretty good,” according to both Tagovailoa and McKinney, but the quarterback was more hesitant to crown the offense scrimmage winners.

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Watch five-star Young at Adidas 7-on-7 National Championship

BySteve Wiltfong Apr 1, 1:51 PM

Premium Sports won the Adidas 7-on-7 National Championship over the weekend riding the arm of five-star quarterback Bryce Young who is committed to USC.

Ranked by 247Sports as the nation's No. 1 dual-threat passer and No. 18 prospect overall, the 6-foot, 176-pound Young was precise and clutch in leading his team to a title.

Young has been committed to USC since July. The blue-chipper has also been prolific on the prep level, throwing for 3,846 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior, 3,431 yards and 41 scores as a sophomore and 1,445 yards and 14 touchdowns freshman year.

Young will cap his prep career in January as an All-American.

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Nation's No. 1 player locks in Alabama OV

Five-star defensive lineman Bryan Bresee has set his return to Tuscaloosa.

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Alabama LB Cameron Latu showing potential at TE this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Spring is a time for experimentation.

It allows Nick Saban and his coaching staff to see if a player might have a better opportunity to contribute at another position, he said, or bolster the depth for a group that was lacking beforehand.

A couple of Alabama football players have spent time at different positions during the Crimson Tide’s spring practice, including redshirt freshman linebacker Cameron Latu working at tight end.

“Obviously, losing Hale (Hentges) and Irv (Smith Jr.), we’ve got some experience issues at tight end and also some depth issues,” Saban said. “Having another guy suspended for four games next year at that position, I mean, you’re taking three out of the first four guys, so we need to get some people there. We’ve been encouraged by the progress that (Latu)’s made at that position.”

Hale Hentges and Irv Smith Jr. were Alabama’s first-team tight ends the last two seasons, and both are no longer on campus with Hentges exhausting his eligibility and Smith entering the NFL draft a year early. That left the Tide with four scholarship tights on the roster for the spring in Miller Forristall, Kedrick James -- who will be suspended -- Major Tennison and Michael Parker

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Crimson Tide Softball: Life Without Fouts

No. 3 Crimson Tide suffered their first loss of the season the previous weekend but the biggest loss was news that star freshman pitcher Montana Fouts would be out “indefinitely” due to a minor injury. We are hoping it is just a blister on her pitching hand. With their ace on the shelf, it was time for her teammates to pick her up. The rest of the rotation stepped up in a big way including back-to-back complete games on Friday and Saturday but a bullpen letdown failed them on Sunday.

WEDNESDAY

Alabama 4 Georgia Tech 3

The Yeller Jackets put a scare into the Crimson Tide but all it took was one swing for Alabama to secure their 34th win of the season. Georgia Tech was not playing like an unranked team with a 22-13 record. They were hitting on all cylinders with excellent pitching and timely hitting. Tech took a 2-0 lead while the Tide squandered some opportunities, leaving runners on base in each of the first four innings - three of whom were in scoring position. In the fifth, Bama put runners on second and third with one out. Tech opted to pitch four unhittable balls to slugger Bailey Hemphill in what amounted to an intentional walk. After purposely throwing four bad balls, Claire Jenkins just knew the first pitch she would see was coming right down the middle and she jumped ALL over it stroking a bomb that landed somewhere in Northport for a grand slam. Sarah Cornell (W, 13-0) got the W on 6.1 innings pitched.

* After Wednesday’s game, Alabama had hit five grand slams over a stretch of 11 games, already surpassing the season totals from each of the last three years.

FRIDAY

Alabama 3 Mississippi State 2 (8 innings)

Two nights after a solid outing against Georgia Tech, Sarah Cornell (W, 14-0) was back in the circle and delivered just what the doctor ordered with another big time effort. The junior pitched all 8 innings of the Tide’s first extra innings game of the year. Kaylee Tow coaxed a bases loaded walked in the bottom of the 8th for the walk-off win. Leadoff hitter Tow drove in all three runs on the night, striking a 2-run single in the 4th.

SATURDAY

Alabama 8 Mississippi State 2

The Bama Bomb Squad was back on Saturday. The sellout crowd was entertained early on with Hemphill and Reagan Dykes both hitting 2-run homers in the first inning. Maddie Morgan hit a solo shot in the sixth and the rout was on. Courtney Gettins (W, 5-0) was the workhorse this time in the circle going the full 7 innings and allowing one earned run on 107 pitches.

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Georgia WR enjoys first trip back to T-Town as recruit

Four-star receiver Dacari Collins, one of the top overall prospects in the 2021 class, talks about his visit to Tuscaloosa over the weekend.

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Jumbo Package: Saban is impressed with the kickers, ILBs have “work to do.”

Happy Monday, everyone. As Roger already told you, the baseball team predictably took one on the chin down in Gainesville and will hope to bounce back at home this week. Meanwhile, softball took two of three against Mississippi State despite missing freshman phenom Montana Fouts, who is out indefinitely with what is termed a minor injury. The Gym Tide were off this weekend but saw a league-best six gymnasts named All-SEC, which makes the fifth-place regular season finish a bit perplexing.

In football news, the Tide held its first scrimmage of the spring, and the media were not allowed past a short viewing period, and of course Saban spoke afterward. Practice notes:

“The kicking game was good,” Saban said. “I think we’re a lot further ahead in the kicking game this year. We had to make a lot of changes in the kicking game last year, which really was beneficial in terms of statistics. How explosive we were on kickoff return really improved. We improved punt return explosive plays to the point where in the second we weren’t getting the ball kicked to us so that we could return them. I think that it seems like we have a few more guys that really buy into playing special teams well. Coverage units did a pretty good job last year.

“When you guys say special teams, I think of special teams. When you say special teams, you think a punter and kicker. So, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just ask me about the punter and kicker. Because special teams are special teams, the punter and the kicker are the punter and the kicker, aight.”

Perhaps not so surprising: Terrell Lewis was not with the OLBs as they warmed up. If Alabama is limiting him in spring, makes sense that he wouldn’t be participating in a scrimmage with so much contact.

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Alabama Baseball Swept By Florida

Alabama could do nothing offensively, 16-93 for a .172 batting average, scoring seven runs, or on the mound, 21 runs allowed in 24 innings for a 8.75 ERA, in being swept by the Florida Gators this weekend. The 24th ranked Gators entered the series with an SEC record of 1-5, but quickly got healthy on the Tide. Friday’s game was the only competitive one of the three, with Florida claiming a 3-1 win. Saturday was a 12-3 blowout, and Sunday the Tide fell 6-3.

Game One: Lost 3-1

The Tide fell behind quickly, when Sam Finnerty walked the lead off man in the bottom of the first, followed by two ground balls that scored the run. As is always said, oh, those lead off walks. Bama tied the game in the top of the third when T.J. Reeves reached on a one out bloop single to right, followed by Kobe Morris reaching on a hit by pitch. Kolby Robinson grounded a single up the middle to score Reeves to tie the game.

Finnerty then put up three scoreless frames, even though he walked two more batters. The three walks were surprising since the senior right hander had only walked four batters all season up to this game. FInnerty got in trouble in the top of the fifth on a lead off double and two singles, before being replaced by Casey Cobb. Cobb induced three ground outs to end the inning, with the Gators on top 3-1. Cobb and Chase Lee both pitched two scoreless innings for the Tide.

Meanwhile Florida starter Tommy Mace was mowing down the Tide inning after inning, and pitched a rare complete game with 119 pitches thrown. Bama had three hits on the night, none of which were hard hit, two of the infield variety and one bloop. Mace walked only one and hit one, while striking out seven batters.

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Alabama is jumping on the Marcus Burris’ train early

Marcus Burris received his second SEC offer from Alabama on Friday and his recruitment is set to explode.

Burris is a product of Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas,.  The Crimson Tide’s offer is his third overall offer. After hearing Nick Saban tell him he was going home with an offer, Burris left Tuscaloosa with a crazy feeling.

“It was crazy,” Burris said.  “Alabama has one of the best football programs and to know that I have an opportunity to play there is just a blessing.”

Arkansas is the only other SEC school to offer Burris.  They extended their offer to him on Thursday. With Burris being a rising junior, he still has some room to improve, but his sophomore highlight tape shows he has the potential to be one of the highest ranked defensive tackles in the 2021 class as Nick Saban and the Tide see it in him and plans to get him on campus again this Summer.

“I was talking to coach Saban and he told me that I had tons of potential and that they were going to offer me,” Burris said. “I also got invited to some summer camps.”

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Breaking: Former Alabama DB Kyriq McDonald Expected to Transfer to Cincinnati

via: Jason Getz USA Today Sports

According to Al.com, former University of Alabama defensive back Kyriq McDonald (middle) appears to be transferring to the University of Cincinnati.

McDonald who left the team in February was reported to be looking at Cincinnati as a possible destination last week and has now made it a reality.

The 5’11” safety mainly served as a special teams contributor for the crimson tide as a redshirt freshman. He finished the 2018 season with seven total tackles in five games of playing time.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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Transferring Alabama DB Kyriq McDonald commits to AAC school

ByCharlie Potter Apr 1, 12:10 AM

A now-former Alabama player has found a new home in the American Athletic Conference.

Defensive back Kyriq McDonald has committed to transfer to Cincinnati, according to Chad Brendel of Bearcat Journal. McDonald entered the NCAA transfer portal in early February along with long snapper Scott Meyer and received offers from Florida State, Mississippi State, Louisville, Purdue and Memphis. However, Meyer is still on the Crimson Tide roster and practicing. 

McDonald visited Cincinnati on Thursday.

McDonald filled a role in the Alabama secondary and on special teams this past season after redshirting his first year in Tuscaloosa. He totaled seven tackles and a quarterback pressure through 11 games of action in his redshirt freshman campaign and was named one of the Alabama coaches’ special teams players of the week for his play against Mississippi State and Auburn.

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Charles Kelly has to put Alabama’s secondary back in order

In being hired as associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the University of Alabama football program, Charles Kelly has the task of getting the Crimson Tide’s secondary back to the elite play it had from 2015-17.

It had its worst season last year since 2014, finishing 23rd in the nation for pass efficiency defense (115.8 passer rating allowed) while the defense as a whole was No. 12 in points allowed (18.1 ppg) and No. 16 in yards allowed (319.5 ypg). 

Despite recording 14 interceptions in 2018, the Tide faltered in the postseason as its defensive backfield struggled against Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson. Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence torched Alabama for 347 passing yards and three touchdowns in Clemson’s 44-16 blowout win to open 2019 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. 

Prior to last year, Nick Saban’s back five had a create a “No Fly Zone” moniker. 

In all five national titles under Saban, the prize was earned due to the play of the secondary. With the returns of Xavier McKinney, Shyheim Carter, Patrick Surtain II, Trevon Diggs and Jared Mayden among others to this group, Kelly anticipates mentoring guys that are ready for a bounce back year.

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Kicking game, special teams ahead of curve at Alabama for 2019

John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

The media learned a valuable lesson on Saturday: Don’t equate special teams with just the kicker and punter around Nick Saban, because the Alabama football coach will get you. 

Upon finishing the conversation on the reporters’ version of special teams versus what the position really entails, Saban went on to state how the Crimson Tide is ahead of the curve in all facets of special teams this year versus last season. After the first scrimmage, he did provide positive insight on the third phase of football – which included him praising the coverage team. 

“Kicking game was good,” Saban said. 

“We made a lot of changes in the kicking game last year, which was really beneficial in terms of statistics. We improved on kickoff and punt return and got explosive plays to the point where in the second half of the season, we were not getting the ball kicked to us so we could return it. I think we have a few more guys that buy in to playing on special teams well. The coverage units did a pretty good job last year.” 

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UA looking for incoming freshmen to bring “winning football” mindset

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 12 seasons under Nick Saban, Alabama football was more so feared for its offense than its defense in 2018. Despite achieving its highest marks of the Saban era in both points and yards, while boasting a Heisman finalist at quarterback – Tua Tagovailoa – the staple of the Crimson Tide was picked apart in January as Clemson won the national championship. 

Part of re-establishing the Alabama factor is getting players to have a “winning football” attitude.

After the Tide’s first scrimmage on Saturday, Saban told the media that the communication was there on defense but the execution was not.

Even with the coaching staff needing to make sure veteran guys are prepared, Saban is ready for the incoming freshmen. 

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Birmingham Iron: Tide players contribute to another big win

Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

The Birmingham Iron features a lot of former Alabama players. On Sunday, the presence of those former Tide stars proved to make a big difference.

The Iron (5-3) were taking on the Atlanta Legends (2-6) for the second time this season. The first matchup included a 28-12 victory for Birmingham on the road. Things weren’t that different this go around, as the Iron walked away with a 17-9 win to get to eight victories.

Several former members of the Crimson Tide were a major reason for that.

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