Although Alabama Coach Nick Saban’s aversion to issuing depth charts is well known – reporters get a depth chart the week of the first game of the season and another one prior to bowl season – the Crimson Tide football roster is issued more frequently, including at the beginning of spring practice.
When Alabama began spring drills last week – to be continued starting Monday next week and continuing through the A-Day Game on April 16 – a roster was issued. There were the usual adjustments of a few weights, limited clarification on positions, a handful of number changes, and a few players missing and a few added, mostly walk-ons.
There was some interest by reporters in cornerback Tony Brown being included on the spring roster. Brown, a 6-0, 194-pound junior who has won two letters, was suspended from the team prior to Bama’s College Football Playoff semifinal win over Michigan State, and he was not on the roster for the national championship win over Clemson.
At the time of the suspension Saban said that Brown would have a chance to rejoin the team, and he was on the roster and in the first practice of the spring. But when Saban was asked about Brown’s status, the coach said only, “He is facing some suspensions. When I get the final data on that I’ll definitely let you know.”
One number change had been leaked prior to the start of practice, quarterback Blake Barnett going from No. 6 to No. 8. That 8 had belonged to wide receiver Robert Foster, who now is wearing No. 1.
A team can have more than one player wearing the same number, but the two cannot be on the field at the same time. Thus, Tide coaches have to be aware not only of the obvious offense and defense, but also which players might be used on special teams so there are no number violations.
Wide receiver Cam Sims has gone from N. 7 to No. 17, which is also worn by linebacker Adonis Thomas. Linebacker Keaton Anderson changed from 18 to 31, which is the number worn by running back Xavian Marks. Defensive back Nate Staskelunas went from 31 to 34 (also worn by tailback Damien Harris. Running back Brandon Turner not only changed from 29 to 40 (also worn by linebacker Joshua McMillon), but also clarified his first name – Brandon to Ty.
Brandon Greene has played both offensive tackle and tight end, and that’s possible to be the case, but on the spring roster he is listed as No. 89 and tight end, not his No. 58 offensive tackle number and position.
Defensive back Deionte Thompson changed from 14 to 23. Speaking of Thompson, he was one of four players who had been considered either an offensive player (he has worked at wide receiver) or safety, and he’s listed as a defender. Ronnie Clark had been a possibility at either running back or safety, and he is with the tailbacks. True freshman Shawn Jennings was considered either a safety or linebacker and is listed as a linebacker. Anthony Averett, a possibility as either a wide receiver or defensive back, is with the defense.
Although there are reports that Rashaan Evans, an outside linebacker last season, is working at inside linebacker, the roster does not differentiate specific positions. He is listed only as LB, just as safeties and cornerbacks are all listed as DBs.
Five men who had been possibilities for the spring roster are not listed. They are linebacker Walker Jones, defensive back Cedric Powell, tight end David D’Amico, offensive lineman Nolan Boatner, and offensive lineman Chris Posa.
There had been off-season reports that back-up snapper Gunnar Raborn was not going to return to the team, but he is on the spring roster. Ryan Parris, another back-up snapper who had not previously been listed on a roster, has also returned, as expected.
Senior tight ends Brandon Moore and Truett Harris have also returned.
Some others on the spring roster who had not been on pre-bowl roster are wide receiver Tré Dunn, wide receiver Parker Bearden, running back Avery Reid, wide receiver Josh Pugh, offensive lineman Eastwood Thomas, and punter Brannon Satterfield.