Alabama Football Goes Back To Work

The hard news was bad news as Alabama opened spring football practice Monday. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban announced that Bama safety Robby Green, who had been suspended all last season by NCAA rule, has been suspended "for now" during spring practice.

Otherwise, Saban was upbeat about the Alabama football team that is coming off something of a disappointing 10-3 season in 2010. That is in part because the Crimson Tide has a large number of seniors.

"Some of the reason we suffered last year was we had only eight seniors, which leaves a void in leadership," Saban said. He said that some of the 20 or seniors on the spring roster (he said he thought it was 19) had "made significant contributions" to leadership last year, including linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Mark Barron, who were elected captains (along with graduated quarterback Greg McElroy) at the end of the 2010 season.

Saban also discussed Barron's recent misdemeanor arrest in his hometown of Mobile for hindering prosecution by failing to cooperate with authorities following an automobile accident in which Barron was not involved. "Mark Barron used poor judgment in protecting his friend or cousin instead of cooperating with the authorities," Saban said. He said players are instructed and urged to cooperate with authorities, "especially police." He also said any other discipline of Barron or Green would be handled internally.

Barron had been expected to be limited to some extent this spring because of an injured pectoral muscle suffered in the Auburn game which resulted in post-season surgery. The coach said Barron appeared to be physically "in great shape," showing a full range of motion in his arm. He added Barron is no danger of further injury and said that he was close to being able to participate in all drills.

Some others in black shirts, indicating limited work, included linebacker Jonathan Atchison bicep, safety Nick Perry shoulder, tight end Brad Smelley wrist, and defensive back Jarrick Williams shoulder.

He said that Anthony Orr is going to be looked at as an outside linebacker. Orr had been listed as a defensive end. Incoming freshman Vinnie Sunseri, a prep linebacker, will get work at safety. And because Bama has only three scholarshipped quarterbacks (A.J. McCarron, Phillip Sims, and Phillip Ely), redshirt freshman Blake Sims will work at quarterback. Blake Sims had been considered a possibility at either running back or wide receiver.

Saban said there would be an emphasis on fundamentals "because we lost some games last year" because of fundamental mistakes. He also noted that even though Alabama's defensive statistics in 2010 were not far off those of the national championship season of 2009 that there had been many more mental errors last year.

The coach said he was pleased with what he saw "coming off spring break," and added that it was good to be back on the practice field.

Alabama will have 14 more spring practices, including the A-Day Game on April 16.

BamaMag Top Stories