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Update: April 16
Dee Hart had moved to corner back earlier in the spring, but after a few weeks of work on defense he was pushed back into the backfield (h/t al.com).
It was a good thing he was, because the Tide are hurting at running back after the recent announcement (via TideSports.com) that freshman early enrollee Derrick Henry is out with a tibia fracture he sustained in Saturday’s scrimmage and will undergo surgery.
The loss will hurt depth in the backfield, but the air attack looks to be doing just fine.
AJ McCarron had a huge day in Saturday’s scrimmage, throwing for 319 yards and five touchdowns after a 23-of-28 effort from the pocket (h/t Montgomery Advertiser).
He was able to connect with a number of different receivers with freshman Chris Black having a huge day snagging 10 catches for 113 yards.
The Tide was missing three starters at linebacker with C.J. Mosley, Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson all out with injury. Nick Saban told the media (h/t Montgomery Advertiser):
Defensively, we’ve got quite a few guys banged up, so we’ve got a lot of new guys in a lot of places. I don’t think we tackled real well, and I don’t think we probably played the kind of responsibility football that we need to, so we definitely have a lot of things that we can correct on that side of the ball.
The lack of proven starters on the field eases some of the concern that comes with the team giving up a load of yards, but there will need to be a lot growth before this fall in the two-deep.
Update: April 11
Alabama is heading into the final week of spring football this week with some bad news coming heading into the weekend.
Starting linebacker Trey DePriest has been sidelined by a fractured foot (h/t ESPN) and will miss the remainder of spring because of the injury. His injury opens the door for Ryan Anderson and Reggie Ragland to take over the position and battle for playing time.
One rising star to keep an eye on is Jeoffrey Pagan at defensive end. The Tide lose Jesse Williams, Damian Square and Quinton Dial upfront heading into 2013. Pagan is expected to step in for Square this year and play opposite of Ed Stinson.
Losing the three playmakers that the Tide did was a major blow, but Pagan looks ready to fill in for the departed Square.
Nick Saban took some time for the media (h/t WVTM-TV) after the Tide’s 10th spring practice and had this to say:
I thought we had two really good days of work Monday and Wednesday. We had a lot of different situations in practice. We started to look at a lot of things that we may not see in our offense that our opponents will show us next year, which always gets the players motivated. When you're at this point in spring practice, you really need to look for some theme or purpose for the players to go out there and want to be motivated.
There are only five practices that remain for the Tide, one of which includes the April 20 A-Day game.
More to come as the spring game approaches.
Update: March 18
Position changes are a regular part of spring practice, but Alabama had two interesting shifts of not in the personnel department when spring opened.
Former 5-star running back Dee Hart has moved from the backfield to the secondary this spring, taking his talents to the cornerback position (al.com). This isn’t the first time that a running back has been moved to the secondary, but it may be the first time such a highly regarded back made the move.
Cyrus Jones and Chrition Jones—both former receivers—also made the move to the secondary.
Another interesting shift was linebacker Xzavier Dickson to defensive line (al.com). Dickson had 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year as a starting outside linebacker for the Crimson Tide.
These moves may just be experimental, but when a player jumps positions it tends to stick.
Another important personnel development was news that All-American starting linebacker C.J. Mosley would be limited this spring due to shoulder surgery (College Football Talk). It may keep him out of contact drills all spring.
Other news that was released with the first practice was the practice schedule for spring. The Tide will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week before breaking for a week from March 25-29. They will be back on the field April 1 (RollTide.com).
Update: March 15
The Alabama Crimson Tide are preparing to head into spring training on March 16.
Alabama will welcome in seven early enrollees this spring as the Tide looks to fill voids left by 2012 departures immediately.
The Tide return a number of key starters from last year’s national title-winning team, but there will be a few key position battles to watch all spring.
Backup running back and the offensive line will be the key focuses for this coaching staff over the next few weeks.
This is an exciting spring for the Crimson Tide as they prepare to battle for a third-straight national title.
Once spring gets underway, updates will follow throughout practice.