Saban Gives Open Week Injury Update

Alabama Coach Nick Saban detailed the injury situation for the Crimson Tide football team as Bama had the first of the three practices it will have in this open week. He also announced a suspension and said that one of the previously injured Tiders has returned to practice.

Alabama returned to the practice field Tuesday after last week’s 34-20 win over Tennessee in Knoxville. Bama will work in pads Wednesday and Thursday and then have a long weekend break.

The next game for Alabama (7-1 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference games) is Saturday, Oct. 8, at LSU.

Freshman left tackle Cam Robinson suffered what has been describd by Saban as a high ankle sprain. Tuesday Saban said Robinson “is probably going to be out for at least two weeks. We’ll have to see how he responds after that.”

In the absence of Robinson, Saban said, “We’ve got a couple of options there.”

When Robinson went out in the Tennessee game, right guard Leon Brown moved to left tackle and Bradley Bozeman, who had been Bama’s center when starter Ryan Kelly was injured, took over at right guard.

Saban said that Austin Shepherd, the starting right tackle, and Grant Hill, who has backed Shepherd up, could end up playing the left and right sides at tackle. He could also leave Brown at right tackle.

Saban said, “But I really do think that Grant Hill played pretty well when he's had to play this year.” He said he’d get a chance in practice.

The coach said that tight end Brian Vogler and tailback T.J. Yeldon “probably won’t do a lot in practice this week. Both guys are just beat up and need a little time. We’re hoping that they’ll be back and ready to start practicing again on Monday.”

Saban was also asked if placekicker Adam Griffith is in “a psychological or physical slump.” The coach said, “Adam Griffith is doing fine. He's got a little bit of a physical problem that I'm not going to talk about that we've had to manage, which has affected his ability to kick maybe in practice as much as he's used to. He's still hitting the ball well. He kicked off really well in the last game. I think he slipped on the extra point that he missed, but other than that I thought he did really well in the game.”

On the good side of the injury ledger, Saban said tht outside linebacker Denzel Devall, who had been out with an ankle injury that required surgery, is back in practice. He said that it would take a while to work Devall back up to where he was before being injured, but that in any event Bama had gained experienced depth by the players who had moved into his playing time.

Saban said, “We want to play all players that can play winning football. Denzel has played winning football for us. Some of the guys that took his place played winning football. To me, it just adds to the depth and helps more guys to have to play and contribute in a positive way.

“And maybe they don't have to play quite as much, and maybe we can stay fresher. It's always a good thing to get good players to come back. I'm sure that we're going to have to work Denzel back into it. It's going to take him awhile. He missed three or four weeks. We're going to have to rep him.

“We gave him 50 per cent of the reps today and maybe we'll give him 60 per cent of the reps tomorrow, and see how he responds to the workload.

“We're still pleased and happy that the other guys got experience and they've been productive and confident and they'll be able to play as well.”

Saban also announced that redshirt freshman tailback Tyren Jones is suspended “for now.”

Asked about the possibility of moving someone to tailback where Kenyan Drake was lost for the year and Yeldon is now limping, Saban said that fullback Jalston Fowler would work at tailback with Derrick Henry and Altee Tenpenny.

“Those are our three backs for now,” Saban said. “If Tyren Jones does what he’s supposed to, maybe he’ll be back sometime soon.”

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