Among several Alabama football changes that do seem to have been made permanent is that of former defensive lineman Brandon Fanney to outside linebacker. And in Saturday's scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Fanney may have had the biggest play of his spring, perhaps of his Tide career, which has been mostly practice time.
Fanney turned in an interception, and made a nice play to do it.
But the play didn't make the post-scrimmage comments of Coach Nick Saban.
One interception did come in for comment, though. Saban seemed more pleased with the defense than the offense following the practice, and the one name he mentioned from the defense was cornerback Simeon Castille.
Castille, an All-Southeastern Conference performer as a junior for the Crimson Tide last season, had an interception he returned for a touchdown.
In response to a question, Saban spoke at length about Castille.
"He's done a really good job," Saban said. "He's smart, and he plays multiple roles. It's good to have a few guys like that on your team. He makes a lot of plays because he is instinctive, but he can also take what you're trying to teach and apply it on the field without having to have multiple reps on it because he is smart.
"He's a good athlete, he has good ability, he likes to play, and he sets a good example for what we need in terms of leadership in the secondary. He's made some plays and been a real positive force not only in making plays but also in his presence."
Saban pointed out that Castille plays the nickel back for Alabama. That is a role the upcoming senior has played for several years, in addition to working at cornerback. Saban said Castille could "probably play some other positions."
Saban said he calls that fifth defensive back "the star." The coach said the nickel back replaces the strongside linebacker.
Saban said Castille has given the position "a lot of stability."
Saban, who takes an active role in working with cornerbacks, pointed out that the nickel back is more often a safety. "It's completely different than playing corner," he said, "so it's very difficult for some guys. You really have more carryover from safety in terms of techniques and teaching. But he's learned it all very well, has very few mental mistakes. He has done a good job this spring, and I think he's starting to get comfortable with a lot of coverages and the things we are trying to do."