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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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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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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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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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EJ Williams is hearing good things from the Tide

Eddie “EJ” Williams is one of the top wide receivers in the 2020 class and the hunt for his commitment consist of some heavy hitters as the Crimson Tide are still punching in the fight for his signature.

Williams is a 4-star wide receiver. He is a product of Central High School  in Phenix City, Alabama,. The Crimson Tide has recruited him constantly since they offered him and Saban’s message about the Process still rings true.

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Antonio Doyle gets offer from Nick Saban

Nick Saban told Antonio Doyle personally about his offer from Alabama on Thursday.

Doyle is a 2020 4-Star outside linebacker and is a product of Lutheran High School in  Hazelwood, Missouri,. With Alabama’s offer, he now has 29 Division 1 offers. The success Doyle has enjoyed on the recruiting trail has him feeling like all of his dreams are right in front of him.

“I am blessed by God,” Doyle said. “Everything I ever wanted is in front of me, now I have to go get it.”

Saban spent some time talking to Doyle about his offer and what he could accomplish at Alabama. Doyle echoed the voices of so many other recruits when talking about how their conversation went.

“Our conversation was straight forward and about business.” Doyle said. “We talked about furthering my life.”

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Kimber enjoys first trip to Tuscaloosa

Alabama hosted four-star cornerback Jalen Kimber on Saturday for this first time to Tuscaloosa. He breaks down the trip and a decision timeline with BamaOnLine.

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Alabama in top five for in-state ATH

ByHank South Mar 31, 12:16 PM

It’s down to just five for Lanett (Ala.) product Kristian Story.

The four-star athlete took to Twitter on Sunday morning to reveal a final list of Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

The one-time Vols commit is a highly sought after prospect following a season that saw him amass 2,434 yards and 40 touchdowns passing, 1,207 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing, and 33 tackles and nine interceptions in the secondary.

Since backing off his commitment to Tennessee prior to his junior season, the 247Sports Crystal Ball has been trending towards Alabama. UA was aided in pursuit of Story after hiring new assistant Charles Kelly from the Vols. The family goes way back with the new UA assistant, as Kelly coached Story’s father during his time at Jacksonville State and recruited the 2020 prospect during his stint in Knoxville.

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Five-star QB intrigued by Alabama

Alabama is after one of the top quarterbacks in the country in USC commit Bryce Young. He breaks down what UA is telling him and where things stand with his Trojans pledge.

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Notebook: Nick Saban talks front seven depth, kicking game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Following Alabama’s first of three spring scrimmages, head coach Nick Saban was asked about several position groups -- how they performed thus far on the practice field and what he saw from them during the roughly 158-play scrimmage Saturday afternoon.

But even before that, the 13th-year head coach expressed concerns over depth.

“I think we have some really good players, we have some guys that can play winning football,” Saban said during a press conference. “To me, we don't have enough. We don’t have enough depth on our team. We don’t have enough guys that execute with confidence, play fast. So, the way we need to go about that is keep working these guys and keep practicing them.”

Getting into specifics, it started with the defensive line.

Raekwon Davis, Phidarian Mathis and LaBryan Ray currently make up the Crimson Tide’s first unit. Davis was a starter last season while Mathis and Ray were the first two players off the bench for Alabama a year ago. That group has played well up to this point in the spring. But the can’t be said for the players behind the first-team trio, Saban said following the scrimmage.

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Raymond Hawkins becomes first commit of Oats era

2019 center Raymond Hawkins verbally committed to Alabama on Sunday becoming the first pledge of the Nate Oats era.

“I’m going to the University of Alabama,” Hawkins told 247Sports. “A few weeks ago my mom, my brother and my step brother all visited coach [Nate] Oats and coach [Bryan] Hodgson at Buffalo. The culture between the players and coaches was unbelievable. The relationship just made me comfortable. I felt like I can trust them.”

Hawkins, a standout at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, visited Buffalo the weekend of March 8 and scheduled a decision date for March 30. Once Oats made the move to Alabama earlier this week, instead of pushing back his decision he opted to follow him.

“When I found out they were going to Alabama, he called me and said I was the first person he called and let me know that he wanted to bring me with him,” Hawkins said. "I told him I talked to my family and he called them as well.”

“It showed how much he actually wanted me and how much interest he has and how much he believes in me.” He added. “I believe in myself, but you play better when your coach believes in you and gives you that type of confidence.”

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Situational Work Helps Make Alabama Scrimmage Like Game

A football scrimmage is not the same as a football game, at least to those who have seen both, who have noticed there is no scoreboard in a scrimmage and no historical record of a winner. But to Alabama Coach Nick Saban, who is process-oriented, the scoreboard is immaterial. It’s not about the scoreboard to Saban. It’s about performance. That may be the reason his team almost always comes out on the right side of the scoreboard.

There was a reason for Saban to discuss the subject Saturday afternoon after his Crimson Tide football team went to Bryant-Denny Stadium and completed its eighth practice of the spring with its first scrimmage.

There may have been a few thousand fans – boosters, sponsors, football lettermen – scattered among the 100,000-plus seats, but that certainly did not make it like a game. That made part of Saban’s point: “Other than the fans, the noise, football is football,” he said.

And he enumerated:

“I think we try to create as many situations as we can in practice,” he said. “We practice good against good (first team offense vs. first team defense) a lot, so that’s a lot like playing in a game.

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BOL Nuggets: Notes from Alabama's first spring scrimmage

Alabama took part in its first of three spring scrimmages Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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