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In-state LB enjoys return trip to T-Town

Alabama 2021 target Dylan Brooks returned to campus on Saturday for the second time since picking up an offer. He breaks down the trip with BamaOnLine.

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Notebook: Young ILBs, QBs still need work after second scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After Alabama’s first spring scrimmage a week ago, Nick Saban said “we have a lot of work to do” regarding the inside linebackers and their mental errors on the field.

Outside of rising junior Dylan Moses, the position group needed some work. So, along with the Crimson Tide’s defensive line, Saban and company moved some players around this week resulting in more consistency in the practices following Scrimmage 1, the head coach believed.

With the focus on the inside linebackers the last week -- and really throughout spring practice -- Saban was asked what he saw from the younger defenders during Saturday’s second scrimmage.

“I saw some guys flying around,” Saban said. “I saw some guys miss some tackles. I didn’t feel like we tackled really well, especially the second team. First team did a pretty good job. But people weren’t running their feet on contact, trying to cut tackle, trying to butt people to the ground. And I think they’re finding out that if they don’t tackle them correctly they’re not going to get them on the ground, not when you play against good players.

“So, I think there was improvement there, but certainly the whole idea of playing defense is to tackle the guy with the ball. So, you can do everything right, but if you don’t tackle the guy with the ball, that’s why you’re out there.”

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Everything Nick Saban said after second spring scrimmage

ByCharlie Potter 20 hours ago

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters during a press conference following the Crimson Tide's second spring scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Below is everything Saban said in his sixth press conference of the spring.

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Alabama freshman DL works with first-team defense in Scrimmage 2

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- An Alabama true freshman worked with the ones on defense Saturday.

The Crimson Tide returned to Bryant-Denny Stadium for its second of three spring scrimmages, and according to head coach Nick Saban, defensive lineman DJ Dale received first-team reps.

“DJ is playing some with the ones at nose,” said Saban following the two-hour, 135-play spring scrimmage. “He’s got good initial quickness, good power, strikes, seems to be pretty conscientious, shows a little maturity about being able to go out there and do his job.”

Dale joined the Alabama football program prior to the team’s appearance in the College Football Playoff. A 4-star recruit out of Pinson, Ala., was the nation’s 18th-ranked defensive tackle and No. 9 player in the state of Alabama for the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

The Clay-Chalkville High School product has received rave reviews for his efforts on the field this spring, including the first two scrimmages. But the hype didn’t begin when the Tide started its spring practice schedule last month. Soon-to-be NFL draft pick Quinnen Williams showered the early enrollee with praise when he announced his decision to declare for the 2019 draft.

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Saban On Players Going Out Early For NFL Draft

“Well, yeah.” That could have been the answer Alabama Coach Nick Saban gave following the Crimson Tide’s second scrimmage of spring football practice Saturday. He had talked about the number of young players working with the team – including 15 true freshmen who were early enrollees from the 2019 signing class -- and the need for those players to develop in order to build depth.

“It’s a work in progress,” the coach said in pointing out that many of them have not yet reached that level. “We’re going to keep working with them to try to get them where they need to be.” 

A few minutes later Saban was asked if the loss of seven 2018 juniors – men who could have returned for a senior season but who elected to go into the NFL draft pool – makes a difference in spring practice. 

Quinnen Williams made good decision to go out early for NFL draft (Photo: Stuart McNair, 247Sports)

In the past Saban has said that he makes every effort to get good information on “draft grades” for his players to determine if it is a good decision for them to go into the draft. Some are not hard to judge. For instance, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and offensive tackle Jonah Williams are considered to be high first round selections. Some of the others will be, too, if the mock drafts are accurate.

Others who have departed early are running back Josh Jacobs, tight end Irv Smith, safety Deionte Thompson, linebacker Mack Wilson, and cornerback Savion Smith.

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Starting OL injured in Alabama's second spring scrimmage

ByCharlie Potter 22 hours ago

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- One of Alabama’s offensive starters sustained an injury Saturday.

Right tackle Jedrick Wills suffered an ankle injury early on in the Crimson Tide’s second scrimmage of the spring at Bryant-Denny Stadium and did not return to the field. Nick Saban explained why.

“Jedrick Wills sprained his ankle today,” Saban said in a press conference. “We don’t know the extent of the injury. We’re doing an MRI. He didn’t come back -- we didn’t expect him to come back. We wouldn’t let him come back. So, we’ll see what the deal is when we do our MRI and all that probably on Monday. But no other significant injuries to report.”

Wills has 16 career starts to his name, including all 15 games as a sophomore. He led the team with 50 knockdown blocks, allowed just one sack this season and surrendered only one hit on the quarterback in 2018. Last year, Wills earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for efforts in the classroom and was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his play against Missouri.

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Photos: Day 12 of spring practice

ByDenon McMillan 22 hours ago

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Day 12 of spring brings us back to Bryant-Denny Stadium for Alabama's second scrimmage.

Check out photos from today's practice session.

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Instant Analysis: Saturday

ByTravis Reier 23 hours ago

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:

* Pre-scrimmage notes.

* Interior offensive line competition. 

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WATCH: Bama readies for second scrimmage

Go inside Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch the Crimson Tide get ready for its second scrimmage of 2019 spring drills!

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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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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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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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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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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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Nick Saban feels better about depth at wide receiver this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama’s three starting receivers, as well as its top reserve, are back for the 2019 season. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle will lead the Crimson Tide’s passing game, along with Tua Tagovailoa, for the second year in a row.

Alabama only lost scholarship seniors Derek Kief and Xavian Marks this offseason, but the top four players have returned for another season and so has all of its reserves at the receiver position.

Head coach Nick Saban shared exactly which young receivers have shown promise this spring.

“I think Xavier Williams has made a lot of progress. I think that (John) Metchie has shown flashes and doing things really, really well. I think Slade Bolden has made some plays, and (Tyrell) Shavers is better,” Saban said following Wednesday’s 10th spring practice. “So, I feel much better about the depth at that position than in the past, and I think that’s a good thing.

“And it also helps on special teams because a lot of those guys are good special teams players.”

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Saban satisfied with Alabama's top-two tailbacks this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said he believes Alabama’s Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris will be the first two running backs off the board in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

That’s great for the Crimson Tide and its recent pipeline to the league, both Jacobs and Harris and the positive effect potential draft results like that deliver for recruiting graphic quotes and a lot more. But it also leaves Alabama’s current roster lacking experience for the 2019 season.

Nick Saban, however, is pleased with the next two players up at the running back position.

“I really feel like Najee (Harris) and B-Rob (Brian Robinson) are both really good players,” Saban said during his Wednesday post-practice press conference. “I think both of them have got a significant amount of experience in the past. I think they’re ready to take the next step in terms of making a really significant contribution. They both had really good springs.”

Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are rising juniors and have contributed since their freshman seasons in 2017. Last year, Harris was actually the Tide’s second-leading rusher behind the now-departing Harris, rushing for 783 yards and four touchdowns on 117 carries. The former 5-star recruit’s 6.69 yards per carry average led the team and was second-best in the SEC.

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Greg Penn sees Tide offer as a way to keep DMV pipeline going

Alabama has recruited the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area very hard over the last couple of recruiting cycles and with Greg Penn receiving an offer from the Tide recently, this Trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Penn is a linebacker in the 2021 recruiting class. He is a product of Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland,. He considers Alabama’s offer to be a dream come true.

“It is a dream come true to know I have an offer from the school I always dreamed of going to,” Penn said.

The Crimson Tide were able to grab Demarcco Hellams out of Dematha Catholic in 2019. He was joined by other DMV products: Keilan Robinson, Darrian Dalcourt and Shane Lee. The area has also produced current and former Tide players.

Da’Shawn Hand, Jonathan Allen and Terrell Lewis all have roots in the area. Penn said he feels the success the guys before him have had in Tuscalooa has Nick Saban wanting to keep the pipeline going.

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