Alex Leatherwood (Photo by Chad Simmons)

Championship game preparation includes former quarterback and incoming players

Three newcomers have begun practice as Alabama prepares for title game

One of the interesting aspects of last year’s Alabama vs. Clemson national championship game in Arizona was the early enrollment of Jalen Hurts, who was admitted to The University in time to participate in a few practices between the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Michigan State and the title game against Clemson.

Hurts, of course, played the role of Clemson’s outstanding quarterback, Deshaun Watson in practice.

Also of note, last year there was a gap of 11 days between the semifinal games and the championship game. This year there are only nine days.

Alabama and Clemson will play Monday night in Tampa in a rematch of programs. The Crimson Tide was a 45-40 win over the Tigers last year.

This year there are a few early enrollees taking part in Alabama practice this week, but they are not expected to be as involved in the game plan as was Hurts last year.

That doesn’t mean Alabama doesn’t have a special addition to the roster to help in preparation for Watson. Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked if he was bringing in a former Tide quarterback to play the role of Watson. Bama has used the rule that allows the use of former players in occasional practices this season.

Saban answered, “Yep.” One restriction in using former players is that the school can not publicize the action.

Conventional wisdom: Blake Sims, Bama’s 2014 quarterback.

As for the newcomers participating in practice:

Alex Leatherwood, a 6-5, 295-pound offensive tackle from Pensacola, Fla. Booker T. Washington, arrived in time to take part in Wednesday practice.

Beginning Tuesday the Tide had 5-11, 190 cornerback Kyriq McDonald from James Clemens High in Madison, and Isaiah Buggs, a 6-5, 290-pound defensive end from Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College.


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