One could see that it was Kent State week. The ordinary Wednesday media opportunity for Alabama football is a post-practice question-and-answer session with Tide Coach Nick Saban, followed by interviews with a few players.
This week, the Wednesday player interviews were eliminated. And Saban’s appearance was preceded by an announcement that he had an engagement and would be brief.
Thus, the biggest news Wednesday is the inference that Johnny Dwight has an NCAA issue.
Here’s how it happened. Although Saban has said on numerous occasions that he would address the issue of Tony Brown being under NCAA suspension “as soon as there is something to announce,” every couple of weeks he gets a question about the situation. So Wednesday afternoon when Saban was asked if there was any update on the Brown situation, there was a long pause. It was reasonable to expect Saban to repeat that he would address that when he knew something. But the pause continued.
Finally, Saban said, “We do know. I'm not sure that we're allowed to announce it. I'm being honest with you. I'm not trying to keep anything from you. I was told not to announce it."
He added, "Let me just put it this way: Everything has been done that needs to be done for him and Johnny Dwight both. So that's all I can say about it."
It was the final question Saban was going to take, so left hanging in addition to the situation with Brown is, “Johnny Dwight?”
Brown, a 6-0, 198-pound junior defensive back, was sent to his home in Beaumont, Texas, prior to Alabama’s game against Michigan State in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Game in the Cotton Bowl last December. He also missed Bama’s national championship game win over Clemson, and word on the street was that he would miss the first four games of this season.
There was also speculation that Alabama was appealing the length of the suspension. Bama will play its fourth game Saturday when the Tide hosts Kent State in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 11 a.m. (SEC Network telecast).
And barring the unforeseen, it will be at least next week until we know the status of Tony Brown, and also that of Johnny Dwight, a 6-3, 306-pound third-year sophomore defensive lineman.
There was also some news on the injury front, some expected, some not, and it puts a dent in the Crimson Tide depth situation at wide receiver.
As expected, starting receiver ArDarius Stewart is questionable for Saturday’s game. He was injured in last week’s win over Ole Miss in Oxford.
One of those expected to perhaps get more playing time with Stewart out is Robert Foster, who was an Alabama starter early last season before being injured. Wednesday Saban announced that Foster had “tweaked his knee” in Tuesday’s practice and also would be questionable.
Those are the only likely injury absences.
Saban’s report on the team was that there was “pretty good energy at practice today. Obviously focused on trying to get some corrections made and some improvement made and try to continue to develop the standard as a team in terms of our execution.
“We certainly respect the opponent that we're playing and the Mid-American Conference is known for sneaking up on people.
“We want to focus on starting fast and finishing strong in this game and trying to improve as a team. The big test is whether we can correct and execute better, which I think we've done a little bit better job in practice this week.”