University of Alabama

Tide begins spring with suspensions

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama football team held its first practice of the spring on Friday at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility, working out for more than two hours in shorts and helmets.

Due to inclement weather, the Crimson Tide practiced indoors on the same field that hosted Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday.

“The purpose of spring ball is to give every member on the team the best chance to be successful, I’d say that’s the No. 1 goal,” coach Nick Saban said. “Knowledge, technique, what to do, how to do it, why it’s important to do it that way. I think for every player that’s critical.”

The start of spring practice also brought about a pair of suspensions for the Crimson Tide.

Saban said senior reserve inside linebacker Prince Hall would be “suspended indefinitely” for the duration of the spring while senior outside linebacker Brandon Fanney was suspended for Friday’s practice.

Saban said both players were suspended for violating team rules. Fanney was not given a timetable on when he would return.

Junior wide receiver Earl Alexander (Central-Phenix City) and senior running back Roy Upchurch, as expected, donned black no-contact jerseys during the 30 minute media viewing session. Alexander is coming off surgery on his right shoulder while Upchurch had surgery on his neck.

Junior defensive back Kareem Jackson had a cast on his left hand from surgery he said he had in January. He was not in a non-contact jersey and joked it wouldn’t affect him until the team practiced in pads.

Sophomore B.J. Scott worked with the cornerback unit while senior Baron Huber worked with the tight ends. Huber has been a fullback his first three years with the Tide.

“B.J. Scott, I told you at one point that we were looking at him at defensive back,” Saban said. “We still are but now we are looking at him as a corner.”

Sophomore linebacker Jerrell Harris, as anticipated, practiced at the inside spot while senior offensive lineman Evan Cardwell, junior offensive lineman William Vlachos and sophomore offensive lineman Barrett Jones took turns under center.

Sophomore John Michael Boswell and junior college transfer James Carpenter worked at left tackle.

“It was a pretty good day overall,” Alabama offensive lineman Mike Johnson said following Friday’s workout. “The guys came out ready to practice, obviously, we have been through fourth quarter (conditioning) the last few weeks, and I thought everybody was ready to strap it up today.”

Saban harped on the fourth quarter conditioning program at various points throughout his 20 minute plus press conference. He said some 30 odd players were rewarded for their hard work and dedication shown throughout the four week period of the program.

“We still need to develop a sense of purpose as a team,” Saban said.

“We need to see how hungry this team is, what their drive is and what their commitment to a standard of excellence is in terms of what they can accomplish as a team. I think that’s a part of developing the team chemistry. That’s something that we hope gets nurtured along here in spring practice.”