Coach Saban, players like meals and snacks change

Anniston StarApril 17, 2014 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- On Tuesday, the NCAA removed restrictions on the number of meals and snacks that could be provided for Division I athletes. In the past, student-athletes could only receive three meals per day. Now, they will have unlimited access to meals provided by on-campus facilities. This extends to walk-ons as well.

"I'm in support of anything to do more for the players. I always have been," Saban said. "We don't know the specifics of the rule quite yet and how we can legally implement in terms of what we're going to do differently to help the players. But as always our commitment to helping the players will be everything that we can do to help them in terms of what we do."

Saban said Amy Bragg, the team's nutritionist, is one of the best in the country and that she'll provide options that are "healthy and beneficial" for the players.

"Amy does a great job with the nutrition part of what we do, with training table, with things that she's allowed to do right now to help players from a nutrition standpoint and a conditioning standpoint," he said. "So we're excited about having the opportunity to make sure that players are getting enough nutrition and I think this is a good thing for the players.

While Tide linebacker Denzel Devall hasn't read much into, he definitely supports it.

"That sounds like a good thing," Devall said. "I'm all for it."

No new injuries

For the most part, Alabama has managed to get through spring practice fairly healthy. While there are a few players banged up and battling nagging injuries, Saban said there are no new injuries to report.

"We only have three guys, the same three guys all spring," Saban said. "(Darren) Lake, Eddie Jackson and Dee (DeAndrew) White won't participate in the game. Everybody else will be expected to participate in the game."

Lake, a junior defensive lineman, had surgery to repair his pectoral muscle. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for summer conditioning. Jackson, a sophomore cornerback, had surgery to repair ligament damage in his knee and Saban expects him to return at some point during the fall. White, a senior wide receiver, had toe surgery before spring practice began and didn't participate in any contact mostly for precautionary reasons. He will be a full go once summer conditioning begins.

Slight personnel change

Tide linebacker Denzel Devall was expected to return as the starter at Jack linebacker while junior Dillon Lee appeared to be the next man up at Sam linebacker. But Lee may have been bumped off the first-team defense following a recent arrest for driving under the influence, pushing Devall to become a more versatile player. Devall said he's "going on my second week" at Sam linebacker and that the position is completely new to him.

"I'm dropping more and learning a lot more coverage, adjustments and stuff," Devall said. "So I'm just getting the feel of that. It's turning out pretty good."

Devall said he enjoys playing Jack linebacker because he's "more accustomed to it," but called learning Sam linebacker a "win-win." With Devall working at Sam linebacker, he said senior Xzavier Dickson is lining up at Jack linebacker with the first-team defense.

The Jack linebacker mainly rushes the passer while the Sam linebacker can rush or play in coverage.

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