TUSCALOOSA -- With a few veterans sprinkled in, Alabama’s newcomers took the practice field for the first time Friday night. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he likes the split practices because it gives the coaches a chance to completely focus on the younger players.
Here are some takeaways:
--Alec Morris worked at quarterback during the second session. Morris and freshman David Cornwell were the two quarterbacks in the late practice.
--Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones were the two running backs. While they were on the team last season, the two needed to work in the later session so Alabama would have running backs to participate in practice.
--When comparing the two practices, one thing that really jumps out is the difference in size at outside linebacker. Denzel Devall (6-foot-2, 254 pounds) and Xzavier Dickson (6-foot-3, 268 pounds) are two of the veteran outside backers. Now compare them to freshmen Rashaan Evans (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) and Christian Miller (6-foot-4, 215 pounds). It could be a product of Devall and Dickson having three or more years in the Tide’s strength and conditioning program, but it also shows Alabama’s new recruiting strategy to combat spread offenses. This is the beginning of a new era.
--Just when one thought Alabama’s defensive linemen couldn’t get any bigger, a guy like freshman Josh Frazier joined the fold. Listed at 6-foot-3, 335 pounds, Frazier is the biggest player on the team.
--Speaking of big players, Ronnie Clark and Laurence “Hootie” Jones are two physically imposing looking safeties. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Clark is the same size as Miller, a linebacker. At 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, Jones weighs nearly as much as Evans, a linebacker.
--Clark, Jones, Jabriel Washington and Jonathan Cook worked at safety with defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
--At cornerback, freshman Marlon Humphrey, sophomore Maurice Smith and a couple of walk-ons worked with Saban.
--The media got its first look at junior college transfer Ty Flournoy-Smith. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Smith looks more like a receiver. It will be interesting to see how he’s used under new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
--Cam Sims, Derek Kief, Raheem Falkins and ArDarius Stewart worked with the receiver group. Sims, Kief and Falkins are all 6-foot-4 or taller and will be matchup nightmares in the next couple of seasons.
--Da’Shawn Hand received some extra coaching from position coach Bo Davis. Hand responded well and completed the drill on the next attempt.
--Walk-on linebacker James Mosley, younger brother of Tide great C.J. Mosley, was praised for his technique during a drill, but coach Lance Thompson couldn’t remember his name.
--The specialists got the night off.
Up next: Alabama will hold a complete team practice Saturday around 2 p.m.
Watch Rashaan Evans, Christian Miller and Da'Shawn Hand in drills