SPRING FOOTBALL NOTES//Bama will hold first scrimmage on Saturday

Alabama started week three of spring drills on Tuesday. The Tide also practiced on Thursday and will hold its first spring scrimmage on Saturday. Here are a few quick notes from the first two weeks of practices.

SECONDARY IS SHAPING UP

Perhaps the biggest question heading into spring was the secondary, where Bama lost six players from 2017. But the early buzz this spring sounds pretty good. The word is that corners Trevon Diggs and Saivion Smith have both had two good weeks of practices. Diggs is at left corner and Smith is at right. Both are high quality athletes with excellent size for corners.

Safety Deionte Thompson finished with strong performances in the playoffs last season. The feeling is that he has Eddie Jackson type potential. He is having a good spring. And rising sophomore safety Xavier McKinney has also had an impressive start.

Some positive things are being said about both Jared Mayden and Shy Carter at the star spot.

Redshirt freshman Kyriq McDonald is another player to watch at star and possibly safety.

GOOD AND BAD AT INSIDE LINEBACKER

At inside linebacker, there is some good news and some bad news. The good is that Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses have elite potential. The bad is that there is virtually no proven depth behind them.

Tider Insider’s Rodney Orr  posted a year ago that seeing Wilson and Moses line up next to each other in drills was impressive. They look like NFL linebackers. Wilson is a physical player with a resemblance to Rueben Foster. Moses is an incredible athlete who looks ready to make a major step.

Word is that redshirt freshman Markail Benton continues to occasionally flash. If he stays on track, Benton could be a key contributor in a backup role inside.

I’m not sure that he will be a factor in 2018, but sophomore VanDarius Cowan should eventually be a player inside.

An interesting twist inside might be Ben Davis. The buzz is that the former Gordo star flashed some potential in the last couple of practices. Davis’ stepping up would be beyond huge.

BUGGS AND DAVIS LEADING THE DEFENSIVE LINE

It was noted before spring drills started that Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis were the rave in the off-season program. Both have carried it over into spring practice. These two could become terrors next season.

A name that keeps popping up is Quinnen Williams. After showing some flashes as a redshirt freshman last season, it sounds like “Q” has had a very good start this spring. He’s showing the versatility to play different spots up front.

Two other young DLs flashing are LaBryan Ray and Phidarian Mathis. And true freshman Stephon Wynn has been popping up as a guy to watch.

A quick note about an upcoming addition to the DL: There seems to be a good bit of excitement about the signing last week of JUCO interior DL Tevita Musika. The feeling is that the 6-1, 350-pounder has the potential to give 10, 12, maybe even 15 snaps a game. Musika will enroll this summer.

OFFENSIVE LINE UPDATE

On the offensive line, as expected, there is some shuffling going on. Jonah Williams has worked mostly at left tackle. But he could also get a strong look at left guard and possibly even center later this spring. There is even talk that Williams might work some at right tackle (where he started as a true freshman in 2016) before spring ends.

Three-year starting left guard Ross Pierchsbacher has worked primarily at center this spring — and word is that he has done very well so far. Center is not entirely new to Pierschbacher.. Two years ago, he spent the spring and most of August camp at center before going back to guard just before the opener.

The feeling is that rising sophomores Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Willis might be too good to keep off the field. Leatherwood has worked primarily at left tackle and Wills at right tackle. Both have the versatility to play guard.

It is too early to project a starting group for next season, but it would not a surprise if Williams, Pierschbacher, Leatherwood and Wills were four of the five.

 

 

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