Alabama Coach Nick Saban makes it clear every time a player is tried at a new position that nothing is permanent. Before Brent Calloway was tried at linebacker, Saban pointed out that they had seen what the redshirt freshman could do as a tailback, and that he could always return to that position. Now they have seen what the 6-1, 217-pound Athens native can do at linebacker, so he’s going to get a look at H-back.
“We are just trying him there,” Saban said. “He did a really good job at linebacker.”
That wasn’t the only personnel move in Alabama’s 11th practice of the spring, a full-gear, two-hour Wednesday workout.
Saban said there were other personnel moves, including some linebackers moving from inside to outside.
Want to know about a really big move? How about 6-6, 340-pound Alphonse Taylor going from nose tackle to offensive guard. Taylor, a freshman who entered The University in January, had been a highly-regarded offensive line prospect, a four-star prospect by Scout.com and ranked 31st in the nation among offensive tackles.
Chance Warmack, who will be starting at left guard for the third season this year, said Taylor “is a big man. I’m so excited for him to be playing guard. He’s an exciting player. He knows a lot already. He came in with a positive attitude.
”I respect his level of play already as a freshman. He’s going to be really special. He’s a really powerful guy, a really big guy. He’s going to be really special someday – sooner than you think.”
Warmack had occasion to go against Taylor earlier in the spring. “I had to see him a few times,” Warmack said. “He’s a really athletic guy. He’s real quick for his size.”
It was suggested to Saban that this could be the biggest offensive line in Alabama history. Saban said he didn’t know if that is true, but said, “We have good size on the offensive line, but I think we’re very athletic in the offensive line. I think we have a chance to have a really good offensive line.
“I think we need to have more players develop on the offensive line so that we have the kind of depth on the offensive line that we need.
Just because you're big doesn't mean you can't be athletic, and just because you're little doesn't mean you are.
“I would rather have big, athletic guys,” he said.
Saban said, “The decisions about where those guys end up playing will be made as we gather information about how they do. Then we’ll be able to make a better assessment of what the best position and what role they have on the team.”
Saban had not been pleased with Monday’s practice, but said the team responded well Wednesday. “They had a little more energy, a little more intensity, and a little more enthusiasm about what they were doing.”
The Crimson Tide will hold its second scrimmage of the spring on Friday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama will take off Easter weekend before returning the practice field on Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Spring practice ends with the public A-Day Game at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday, April 14.
Saban said, “This is a little unusual in that we only have two practices in between scrimmages. It's the way the calendar fell this year. Our philosophy on getting the players Easter weekend off so they can go home.”
There has been a little extra duty this week.
“Usually at this time in the spring, we do spend time on next year's opponents, especially new opponents,” Saban said. “We have done that the last two days. Sometimes that creates a little bit of confusion with younger players, but we'd much rather have the confusion now so there's a little better resource when we have to play these people that we're unaccustomed to some of the things that they do.”
Among new opponents on the Alabama schedule in 2012 are Michigan (the season-opener) and new Southeastern Conference opponents Missouri and Texas A&M.