Saban discusses transfers, injuries and offseason incidents following first fall practice

Saban+discusses+transfers%2C+injuries+and+offseason+incidents+following+first+fall+practice

Ben Boynton

Coach Nick Saban has had to deal with several off the field incidents this offseason, and he took time to address them after the first day of fall camp. Among the incidents he discussed was former Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith’s intent to transfer.

“I know there’s a lot of talk out there and interest about the Maurice Smith deal,” Saban said. “I’m going to say the same thing I said at SEC media day: Nothing has changed. We support the SEC rule of not granting guys’ releases to go to other SEC schools. It has been our policy here not to do that unless there was a special circumstance.”

Smith is attempting to transfer to the University of Georgia, and has cited former Alabama wide receiver Chris Black’s February transfer, to the University of Missouri as a graduate transfer, in his defense. The University released a statement earlier today explaining that Black’s transfer was due to special circumstances, saying a mid-season surgery and the timing of his departure caused a non-renewal of his scholarship. Saban said that he did not want to discuss the situation any further.

When asked about wide receiver Daylon Charlot’s recent decision to transfer, Saban said that he felt Charlot had made a lot of progress, but that he had decided to change environments.

“I think that a lot of young guys right now, they get really, really fearful of their future and it creates a lot of anxiety,” Saban said. “We certainly feel like we can help guys develop here, but if they think that there’s a better way for them, another place, then we’re going to support them in every way that we can to help them do the things they would like to do if they don’t want to be in our program here.”

Regarding the eligibility of defensive back Tony Brown, Saban said that the University is working with the NCAA but the team is preparing for the season as if his suspension will last several games. Brown is currently facing an indefinite suspension from the NCAA.

Also recently, offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor was arrested and charged with a DUI, and was indefinitely suspended by Saban. According to reports however, Taylor blew a 0.00 on the breathalyzer. He participated in practice, and Saban said he isn’t ready yet to make a decision on whether Taylor will miss any games.

“Alphonse Taylor has gone through a program – pretty significant program, pretty intense program – and we have cleared him to practice,” Saban said. “But we have not made a decision, and it will be based on what he does and how he does it as to whether that suspension that he had will be lifted when the games come.”

Regarding offensive lineman Cam Robinson and defensive back Hootie Jones, Saban reiterated his previous statements that the two have completed what he has asked of them.

“Those guys have done everything they’re supposed to do and if they continue to do that, I feel like they’ve done a good job,” Saban said. “Unless there are other issues that come up, I don’t know that any kind of further punishment is going to help their behavior. I think they learned their lesson. I think when the facts came out, things were not what they seemed to be and I’m not going to comment on that anymore either.”

Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson said that the team tries to keep off the field issues from affecting its play.

“You know what you have to come in here and do day to day and you can’t let the off field situations affect you off the field or on the field,…you don’t want to let off the field situations affect you too much.”

Saban also updated the injury statuses of several players. He said that offensive lineman Richie Petitbon, running back Ronnie Clark, linebacker Sean Jennings, and defensive back Nigel Knott have yet to be cleared for practice after offseason surgeries and injuries, but are all participating in rehab.

“Those guys will not be able to participate probably until school starts but we’ll manage their rehab on an individual basis and when they’re ready to get into football we’ll sort of step them into it as they can,” Saban said.