Alabama Practice Report 11/18: Tide Prepping for Triple Option Offense
After heavy rain earlier in the day, Alabama moved Wednesday afternoon's practice inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility. For the Crimson Tide, it’s only its second day of practice this week after taking Monday off. The players wore full pads.
- To no surprise, running back Kenyan Drake and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick were both absent for the second straight day. Coach Nick Saban said again Wednesday during his SEC coaches teleconference that Fitzpatrick is “day-to-day” and like won’t “get enough reps this week” to play against upcoming opponent, Charleston Southern.
Drake fractured his arm against Mississippi State last Saturday and likely won’t play again until the team’s bowl game.
- With Drake out, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are expected to move up the pecking order behind starter Derrick Henry and they did Wednesday. The running back order, from first to last, was Henry; Harris; Scarbrough; sophomore Derrick Gore, a former junior college transfer; and redshirt freshman Ronnie Clark.
- Sophomore Tony Brown worked as the first-team Star in place of Fitzpatrick during the second media viewing period. Brown, along with junior Maurice Smith, filled in for Fitzpatrick at Star after the freshman went down with injury against Mississippi State.
- Linebacker Reuben Foster had his right wrist heavily wrapped for the second straight practice. Behind Drake and Fitzpatrick, Foster was the third significant Alabama injury sustained against Mississippi State but eventually returned to the game.
- Linebacker Reggie Ragland also wore a large brace on his left knee, but it didn’t appear to limit him.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback David Cornwell appeared to be simulating the quarterback role in Charleston Southern’s triple option offense for the second straight day. The Crimson Tide allowed a season-high 21 points against Georgia Southern in 2011, the last team it faced that runs a triple option offense.
(Note: Saban said during his Wednesday evening press conference that it's freshman Blake Barnett, not Cornwell, who is filling this role in practice this week. My mistake.)
- Right tackle Dominick Jackson looks like he’s having another light work week to rest the ankle he sprained against Tennessee in late October, as he appeared limited again Wednesday. Jackson did not practice during the bye week following the injury and has been limited during contact drills in every other practice since then. He has not missed the two games since the injury occurred, though, against LSU and Mississippi State.
- Korren Kirven took reps as the first-team right tackle when Jackson stepped aside during run-blocking drills. Brandon Greene is the other backup right tackle, along with Kirven.
- Scouts from the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts watched Wednesday’s practice from the sidelines.
As is customary on any game week practice, a few Alabama players, mostly at running back, wore scout-team jerseys to simulate key Charleston Southern players. Here is what we saw:
- Among the running backs, Gore and Lawrence Erekosima wore junior Ben Robinson’s No. 2, while Clark wore leading rusher Darius Hammond’s No. 24. An unlisted walk-on wore junior Mike Holloway’s No. 27.
- At wide receiver, freshman Daylon Charlot wore the No. 3 of senior Nathan Perera, the team’s leading receiver. Perera has 37 catches for 560 yards and four touchdowns this season. Usually, freshman Deionte Thompson and redshirt freshman Derek Kief wear the scout team jerseys among the receivers.
- Of the defensive backs, freshman Kendall Sheffield wore junior cornerback Troy McGowens’ No. 7. McGowens has one interception and five pass breakups to go along with his 33 total tackles this season.
Saban and selected players will speak to the media after practice tonight around 6 p.m.