Suspension, Injury For Tide Football

A key player was in a black jersey. Another important player was suspended. There were a couple of experiments. Such was life in Alabama football practice Tuesday.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban announced that returning starting middle linebacker Trey DePriest had been suspended and that returning starting wide receiver Amari Cooper is out for what is expected to be a short time with a foot sprain.

The Crimson Tide will have the last of its two-a-day practices Wednesday. Bama will have a closed scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday as Alabama works towards its season-opener Aug. 31 against Virginia Tech in Atlanta.

Saban said, "Trey DePriest is suspended for a short time, for violation of team rules and he will be eligible to return to the team if he does what he's supposed to do in relatively short order. If he does those things, he'll be back with us as soon as a week."

Saban said that he doesn't like to suspend players, but the reason for punishment is "in their best interest to change their behavior...We would only do it in the best interest of the player. We have a lot of respoecdt for Trey. He's played very well for us. He made a mistake. He didn't do the right thing. It wasn't a very smart thing to do, and there have to be consequences.

"Hopefully he'll learn from it and it will make him better and he'll have a better chance to be successful in life."

Coincidentally, Saban announced that tight end Malcolm Faciane, who had been suspended earlier, "served his 30-day suspension. He's now going through his five-day acclimation period. He reported (Monday) night and practiced (Tuesday)."

Amari Cooper was in a black jersey for Tuesday's practice. Saban said Cooper "has a strain in his foot. He's going to be out for a few days and then he will be day-to-day. I don't think he's going to be hurt for a long time; I don't think he's going to be out for a long time."

Saban said that cornerback Deion Belue, who has been hampered with a hamstring problem, "has been doing a little bit of work each day, a little bit more and a little bit more each day. We're trying to nurse him along so he doesn't have another setback. His hamstring was something he had during the summertime. He got okay. We started him out in camp and it bothered him again, so we've been trying to get him healed up."

Saban also discussed some lineup experimentations, including redshirt freshman Brandon Greene, a 6-5, 292-pound offensive lineman, getting some work at tight end.

"We don't really have a big guy who is a second tight end, so we've worked him a little bit at tight end a couple of days in short-yardage and goalline." Brian Vogler (6-7, 258) is the leading candidate at tight end and Saban said Vogler had done well.

The coach said there is also some movement on the offensive line with Arie Kouandjio, who had been at left guard through the spring and fall camp, getting a look at right tackle and right tackle Austin Shepherd working at left guard and left tackle.

"We're just seeing what's the best combination of guys to give us the best opportunity to be successful," Saban said.

"Arie came here as a tackle and a very good tackle and a very good right tackle. I think when he had his knee problems, he lost some of his mobility. So we moved him to guard. But now he's kind of regained all of his mobility and he's probably the next-best tackle on our team, even though he was playing guard.

"Shep could be a guard or a tackle, could be a right tackle or a left tackle. He's a guy that is a smart guy who we feel good about as a starter but may give us a little bit more flexibility if he played left guard, left tackle.

"We're going to look at this guy for three or four days and then decide what we think is the best. Arie is a powerful guy and that does help us develop power with the right side of the line."

Saban said, "The goal of this week is actually to practice a lot of situations, game-ending situations, whatever we might want to get into. And also we dedicate a period to our opponents, starting from the end of the season forward to cover some things we don't typically see in practice when we're playing against ourselves. I think our players get a little challenged by that, because it's not the same thing every day against the same guys.

"We're pleased with that."

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