Alabama football prepares for second scrimmage before A-Day

Derrick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

In mostly cloudy, 76-degree temperatures, Nick Saban and the University of Alabama football program are inside Bryant-Denny Stadium warming up for its final scrimmage of spring ball. 

With its annual A-Day scheduled for next week, the idea is to locate more athletes that want to play “winning football” and grow in consistency. 

Saban will speak with the media following the two-hour practice, but listed below are the notes from warmups prior to the exhibition. 

-After missing the first scrimmage, Henry Ruggs III was back leading one line of receivers. 

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Practice report: Pre-scrimmage observations

Here are several observations from the media viewing portion of Saturday’s scrimmage.

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PODCAST: Notes from inside Alabama’s first spring scrimmage

Nick Saban and Alabama football have one final scrimmage on Saturday prior to A-Day, as spring practice starts to wrap up. During its first live exhibition last week from Bryant-Denny Stadium, there were a few players that stood out to the coaching staff and fans. 

Saban discussed some of the good things and areas the Crimson Tide needs to improve on with the media, following the two-hour practice.

In getting back to the “Alabama factor,” the five-time national champion is trying to locate the players that want to play winning football. 

Before the pads go off for part two, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine released a segment on Wednesday via In My Own Words on the first scrimmage.

After talking with various sources, Smith breaks down the individuals that stood out to him. 

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Former Alabama offensive lineman heading back to NFL

Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

We may have witnessed the end of the Alliance of American Football League, but the different brand of gridiron action provided excitement and it may have just granted a former University of Alabama player a second chance at the National Football League.  

After one season with the Birmingham Iron, offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer is heading back to the pros – according to a report from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. News came on Friday, as Fowler tweeted information on the Pittsburgh Steelers being expected to sign Hassenauer. 

A four-year player with the Crimson Tide, he arrived on campus as a four-star in 2014 and was one of the nation’s top high school center prospects. Hailing from Woodbury, Minn., Hassenauer lined up at both guard and center through 25 career games and had a role in helping Derrick Henry become the program’s first 2,000-yard rusher (2,219) in the 2015 season.  

Following his run to the Heisman Trophy, Hassenauer cleared the way for two straight 1,000-yard years from Damien Harris in 2016 and 2017. When it comes to pass protection, he assisted Jacob Coker to 3,110 yards passing in 2015 while aiding Jalen Hurts to be the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 (3,734 total yards, 36 touchdowns) as a true freshman. 

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Practice Report: Alabama Prepares for Second Scrimmage Before A-Day

via: Touchdown Alabama

On the Friday practice before A-Day week, Nick Saban and the rest of the Alabama Crimson Tide opted for a lighter session heading the team’s final scrimmage on Saturday. The University of Alabama also held its annual coaching clinic, where a few hundred high school coaches were in attendance to watch the spring practice.

Listed below are notes from practice:

-Offensive line coach Kyle Flood wanted his players to zone in on hand placement and power as the group worked on their steps and punch.

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WATCH: Inside linebackers prep for scrimmage No. 2

Go inside Friday's practice at Alabama to watch the Crimson Tide's inside linebackers at work!

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Practice report: Alabama readies for second spring scrimmage

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

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Activities, experiences announced for Alabama's 2019 A-Day Game

The Alabama Golden Flake A-Day Game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff on April 13 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, will include a full day of activities and experiences, including the opportunity for fans to take the field at the conclusion of the game.

The A-Day game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring for the Crimson Tide. Gates open at 10 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public.

It will be the program's 13th A-Day Game under the direction of six-time national championship coach Nick Saban. A myriad of activities punctuates the 2019 Golden Flake A-Day Game that will be televised on ESPN2 with Tom Hart and Todd Blackledge working from the booth while Laura Rutledge calls the game from field level.

Game day will get started with the Mercedes-Benz Fan Fest and the Coca-Cola Kick Off Zone, which will both open at 9 a.m. adjacent to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Fan Fests will feature giveaways, sampling, the Coca-Cola Kids Zone, live radio remotes, vehicle displays and other fun fan activities open to the general public. Numerous food vendors will also be open on the Walk of Champions Plaza starting at 9 a.m.

Alabama's 2018 Orange Bowl trophy will be on display at the Mercedes-Benz Fan Fest. Free photo opportunities with the trophy will begin at 9 a.m., while former Alabama football players will also be in attendance signing free autographs at the Coca-Cola Kick Off Zone. Check RollTide.com and UA Athletics social media pages for updated appearance confirmations and times.

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Nate Oats Rounds Out Alabama Basketball Coaching Staff

New Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats is expected to hire Charlie Henry as assistant coach. Henry was serving as head coach for a G-League team (aka NBA D-League), the Windy City Bulls, based in a Chicago suburb. The Bulls made the G-L post-season this season for the first time in their three year existence but lost in the first round.

A Michigan native, Henry got his first coaching job with Oats at Romulus High School for the 2009–2010 season. He then went on to join Fred Hoiberg’s staffs at both Iowa State and the Chicago Bulls. Several Nebraska news outlets prematurely reported that Henry would reunite with Hoiberg at Nebraska.

Henry is set to join Oats’ Buffalo right-hand man Bryan Hodgson and Alabama fan favorite Antoine Pettway on the bench. It is unclear what will become of Yasir Rosemond. He was recruiting with Oats, Hodgson, and Pettway as of a few days ago.

Some believed that former Arkansas head coach and Avery Johnson assistant John Pelphrey might be retained, but it is widely believed that he will be taking the head job at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. The Golden Eagles were a sad 8-23 last season.

ELSEWHERE

Meanwhile in Nashville, Vanderbilt is set on hiring Jerry Stackhouse. The former NBA star has served as an NBA assistant and two seasons as a G-L head coach but has no college coaching experience. The Commodores signed him to a six year contract.

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Eddie Lacy Works Out for Baltimore Ravens

via: Brad Penner USA Today Sports

According to Pro Football Talk, the Baltimore Ravens brought in former Green Bay Packers and Seatle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy for a workout. Lacy who was out of football in 2018 continues to pursue a career in the NFL.

The 28-year-old was one of the best young running backs in the league at the beginning of his career as he was named 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was a second round pick for the Packers and began his career with back to back 1,1oo yard rushing seasons. But an ankle injury in 2016 and the team’s frustration with his weight led to him getting let go by the Packers after that season.

In 2017 Lacy signed with the Seatle Seahawks and was used sparingly, rushing for just 179 yards on 69 carries.

If the Ravens do in fact sign Lacy, he will join another former Alabama running back Mark Ingram in the backfield as Baltimore continues to build a strong rushing attack.

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BamaOnLine Recruiting Chat Recap

Get answers to all of your Alabama football recruiting questions.

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Alabama expected to hire assistant linked to Nebraska job

Nate Oats has reportedly added another assistant coach to his staff at Alabama.

Oats is expected to hire current Windy City Bulls coach Charlie Henry, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. It’s worth noting that previous reports have indicated Henry was set to join Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska as an assistant coach, but no hire has been officially announced.

Henry has experience working with both coaches as he got his start in the profession under Oats at Romulus (Mich.) High School in 2009. He later joined Hoiberg at Iowa State as director of player personnel in 2013 and was later promoted to an assistant in 2014-15. Henry followed Hoiberg to the NBA where he served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls for two years.

Most recently, Henry was the head coach of the Windy City Bulls of the NBA’s G League.

Oats has already filled a few positions on his staff, including one assistant in Bryan Hodgson. Hodgson was Oats’ right-hand man in Buffalo and led the Bulls’ recruiting efforts. Hodgson and director of operations Adam Bauman have joined Oats in Tuscaloosa. Both have been removed from Buffalo’s website and changed their Twitter profiles to reflect their moves to Alabama. Oats is also bringing strength and conditioning coach Mike Snowden, though that is not official yet.

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Meet the New Guys- Defensive Backs

So far, we’ve covered the quarterback, running back, pass catching, offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker position groups from Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class. Today we’ll finish off the offensive and defensive units by delving into the new defensive backs.

With Deionte Thompson moving on to the pros and Kyriq McDonald transferring (still upset about that one), finding some depth at safety is going to be critical this season. On the cornerback front, Shyheim Carter and Trevon Diggs are both rising seniors, so any new corners will be right on time to learn for a year before vying for a starting job in the 2020 season.

As usual, I will be referring to SPARQ, an analytical tool used to quantify and compare a player’s athleticism.

I pull all of my rankings from the 247Composite, and all heights, weights, and athletic tests are from ESPN, since they pull data from the Opening combines. However, most of the players have changed somewhat in their weight since participation in these combines last summer, so their college-arrival size may be much different. I just keep that old weight because it shows what size the player was when he ran that 40-yard dash.

As a side note, defensive back is typically the most difficult position to watch in high school videos, since the videographers rarely ever show what’s happening down the field. So I may wind up a little less wordy this week than I usually am.

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Safety Jared Mayden showing encouraging progress this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The secondary will be one of Alabama’s most experienced position groups in 2019 as five defensive backs that started in its dime package in at least six games are back.

Most of the attention has been on players like cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II or safeties Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter that are familiar names to football fans.

But one of the players having a quietly productive spring is safety Jared Mayden.

“Jared has really done a nice job for us,” coach Nick Saban said. “He really showed up well in the scrimmage, played really well. Did a good job of tackling, played with more toughness in the game and he’s been pretty consistent. I think he has a pretty good understanding of what is expected of him. I’m very encouraged with his progress and very happy with his performance so far.”

Mayden was the Crimson Tide’s sixth defensive back last season, entering games as a safety in dime formations while McKinney moved down to Money. With Deionte Thompson declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft, Mayden could take over as a full-time safety, though Alabama has options.

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College Football Spring Games: LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke

FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, kinda sorta. There are 11 players on each side in full pads with an oblong leather ball. Yep, we are talking spring football games. While the Crimson Tide’s A-Day is still another week away, there are a few spring games of interest to tie you over until next Saturday. With rain in the forecast for this weekend, you could do worse than to preview some 2019 Alabama opponents.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Duke 5:30 CT/6:30 ET ACCNExtra - Alabama’s first opponent of the 2019 campaign will be learning what life is like without QB Daniel Jones.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

South Carolina 11am/12noon SECN - It’s been 9 long years since the Stephen Garcia Incident. Many Bama fans have Week 3 circled on their calendar.
(Also of interest during this time will be Purdue on BTN).

LSU 1pm/2pm SECN - The Bayou Bengals return many starters on offense but are once again left rebuilding the defense.
(Also during this time: Southern Cal on the Pac-12N)

Clemson 1:30/2:30 ESPN2 - The Defending National Champs are back and hopefully getting all full of themselves. [Not being assumptive that Bama will play them; just letting you all know the Tigers will be available to watch.]

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Top50 OL still considering Alabama

Despite coaching turnover this offseason, Tate Ratledge is still listening to what Alabama has to say.

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Former Alabama defensive lineman lands huge JUCO coaching job

Photo comes from Rudy Griffin

He wants to build a pipeline of recruits from Mississippi to the University of Alabama and former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Rudy Griffin, he is well on his way to his goal. 

After serving five seasons at Hewitt-Trussville High School as defensive coordinator, the Mike Shula disciple landed a coaching position on the defensive line for East Central Mississippi Community College on Thursday. News came via the school’s head coach – Ken Karcher — who said Griffin will be a “great role model for our young men on and off the field.” 

Hailing from Hepzibah, Ga., Griffin was a two-year starter at defensive tackle for the Tide from 2005-06. He was a pivotal component, seeing how Alabama finished No. 1 in total defense for college football in both years. During the 2005 season, Griffin helped the program earn a 10-win season under Shula (before sanctions) and helped him gain a contract extension.

Prior to Alabama, Griffin was a two-year at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. 

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Festivities announced; four players to be honored at Alabama’s spring game

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Next week could draw the biggest crowd of the Nick Saban era to Bryant-Denny Stadium, as this year’s spring game is set to be the most highly-anticipated one since 2008. 

For fans of Alabama football, A-Day is a time to be with family, catch up with old friends from college and enjoying a dominant football program.

Per a press release from the University of Alabama athletics department, the festivities for the spring game will include photos with the Orange Bowl Trophy, shopping at the Bama Style Shop, taking in an Alumni Flag Football Game and watching four players from the 2018 team get their hand print and cleat print enshrined at Denny Chimes in the honor of being team captains. 

The four players are Damien Harris, Christian Miller, Hale Hentges and Ross Pierschbacher.  

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Nick Saban likes Harris & Robinson, but wants to see freshmen emerge

Adam Hagy - USA TODAY Sports

Alabama football may have a pure two-headed monster at running back for the first time since 2014 – T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry – however, head coach Nick Saban still is one for seeing freshmen make contributions at the position. 

Since 2008, a list of players that include Yeldon, Henry, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Kenyan Drake all were pivotal guys as freshmen.

The duo of Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr., have earned the right to set the tone for Alabama’s rushing attack next fall. 

Despite their difference in size, running styles and star rating upon signing their letter of intent for the Crimson Tide, Saban looks at both as leaders who are “ready to take the next step.” 

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Alabama's Oats finishes fourth in AP Coach of the Year voting

The Associated Press named Texas Tech’s Chris Beard men’s college basketball coach of the year on Thursday. Beard’s Red Raiders will compete in the Final Four this weekend in Minneapolis.

But new Alabama head coach Nate Oats also received votes for coach of the year.

Oats finished fourth in this year’s voting, which was submitted before the NCAA Tournament, by receiving five votes. The former Buffalo coach finished behind Beard (20), Houston’s Kelvin Sampson (13) and Wofford’s Mike Young (6) and ahead of Tennessee’s Rick Barnes (4).

Before taking the Crimson Tide job, Oats spent the last four seasons at Buffalo. This past year, Oats guided the Bulls to a 32-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in conference play, leading the program to its second consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships. Buffalo was ranked for 20 weeks in the AP top 25 throughout the 2019 season, which marked the first time in school history the program had earned a national ranking.

Buffalo went on to climb as high as No. 14 in the nation, which was the highest ranking by any MAC team in the past 40 years. The 32 victories not only set a program record but was the most wins ever by any MAC program. Oats was also named the 2019 MAC Coach of the Year.

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