Players continue developing, looking to Friday’s scrimmage

Laura Owens

As the Alabama Crimson Tide gets closer to its first spring scrimmage on Friday, the coaches continue to develop each player individually to create an overall better picture for the team as a whole.

Head coach Nick Saban expects the scrimmage to help the staff judge which players have developed more throughout the spring practices.

“In the scrimmage, it’ll be interesting to see who reverts back to their old habits and who continues to make progress in terms of their ability to play disciplined football,” he said. “Whether it is eye control, looking at the right things, carrying out their assignments and doing it the right way. I think if we can get 11 guys doing that on both sides of the football, then we can have a good football team.”

As for who might be in the scrimmage, Saban said no one has been ruled out to play, though there are a few players who are still fighting injury.

“I don’t think that there’s anybody battered other than Vlachos,” he said. “I don’t know what we’ll do with Dont’a. He’s been doing a little bit better, but we’ll make the decisions tomorrow, maybe watch today’s film and make the decision.”

There were a few players who returned to practice Wednesday. Star Jackson had not practiced due to academic reasons, while Trent Richardson had been out with a hamstring injury, but they were both in their shoulder pads with the rest of the team.

Jerrell Harris, who had to sit out for six games last season due to improper benefit, has been making a comeback into the lineup as inside linebacker. He said he’s been working hard to get his weight up and get bigger to help him contend.

“I just realized I haven’t played a full season,” he said, “so I’m very hungry to get a good start and go full speed ahead and compete.”

Saban said before his violation, he had been a part of defensive plays, and after he came back, he got lost in the shuffle.

“When I came back last season,” Harris said, “it was very hard because I couldn’t come to practice as much as I wanted to or get in the mix like I wanted to because I wasn’t able to rip it out. I had to pick up the speed and try to catch up with everyone else.”

Still new in the defensive rotation is B.J. Scott, who is coming from the wide receiver position and moving into cornerback. He started learning the position in spring 2009, and with the added experience, he said he feels more comfortable on the defensive side.

“The toughest thing had to be learning the defense,” he said. “It’s all football, but going from offense to defense, the hardest thing is learning the playbook.”

There are rumors circulating about the 2012 schedule as to who some new opponents might be. According to a Birmingham radio host, Mal Moore is considering putting Notre Dame in the schedule for a game to be played at a neutral site. Another possibility is playing Texas Tech. The Texas Tech athletic director said scheduling such a game is in the works, but Saban said it’s not certain yet.

“It’s not something we’ve agreed on,” he said. “We have a lot of different options for 2012, and we’re in the process of considering them. We’re going to weigh all of the other options that we have [and] see what we feel is most beneficial to the program in the future.”