The loss of C.J. Mosley was more than just a man who had over 100 tackles each of the past two…
Alabama Coach Nick Saban addressed those three in his opening remarks following the first of 15 spring practice dates.
Saban said H-back Harrison Jones, center Chad Lindsay, and safety Jai Miller had decided to end their Bama careers. Lindsay had long been rumored to be planning to graduate to from Alabama and then possibly transfer to another school for a final year of football. He was behind upcoming junior Ryan Kelly at center.
Saban said, "Harrison Jones and Chad Lindsay were not out there today. Both those guys are guys that were fifth-year guys who have graduated who have decided not to come back and play. We certainly appreciate the great job that they did when they were involved in the program and wish them well. They'll always be a part of what we've done here, and we certainly appreciate their efforts and contribution that they've had in the success of the program.
"Jai Miller decided to focus on academics and not come back and be a part of the team, at least for right now."
Miller was a former professional baseball player who entered The University last fall as a walk-on safety candidate.
All three saw playing time for the Tide last year. Lindsay started the last four games of the regular season after Kelly was injured.
Saban also said that redshirt freshman Ardarius Stewart is going to spend a few days working at safety. Stewart, an outstanding athlete who was signed as a likely wide receiver, is not being moved to defense, Saban emphasized. It is common for Alabama to work men at different positions on an experimental basis in case there is a need for the transfer in the future.
"This is very experimental," Saban said. "We're just trying to sort of find out whether he could play safety or not. He's not been moved to defensive back. This is a temporary experimental, ‘could you do it if we needed you to' type of circumstance."
There were also a few number changes on the roster. Cornerback Bradley Sylve wore number 3 last year and was number 16 Saturday. Linebacker Reuben Foster, who started his career as number 2, changed to number 9 because of special teams play (he and DeAndrew White, number 2, were both on special teams), was number 10 Saturday. Linebacker Reggie Ragland was in 19; he was 18 last year.
Saban said, "It was great to get started today. We're certainly excited about the way the players responded in the offseason program. We had a really good offseason program. A lot of guys really made a lot of improvement, did a lot of work to get in better shape. I really liked the attitude our team had during the offseason program.
"It was great to get started today in spring practice. The first practice is always sort of a work in progress for everybody. New players learning where to go. Old players trying to get back into the swing of things.
"I think the most important thing is that every player knows that we're just committed to trying to help them be as successful as they can be as football players and make as much improvement as we can individually and collectively as a group as we possibly can.
"Practice is really to create the repetition to develop the kind of habits that you can go out and play well.
"That's what we want our players to understand and that's what we're trying to do to help them prepare for the season for the season and do the work they need to do to have success individually and collectively.
"Obviously there's some things that we want to improve on. We have some goals and objectives and things that we'd like to improve on offensively and defensively, special teams that all come from the quality control that you did in the offseason.
"Not many of those things could we address today. Not really many of those things can we address that are beyond fundamentals until we get sort of a little further along in our installation of what we do. The practice tempo, I thought, was good. I think players have to develop the discipline to sustain so we finish practice, finish games, finish quarters, finish halves like we really want to and need to."