Comings And Goings On Tide Defensive Line

Alabama Coach Nick Saban had some news affecting primarily the defensive line. The coach talked about injured players and had updates on suspended players following the Crimson Tide’s fall camp practice in the indoor practice facility Thursday.

As expected, Nick Saban said that Alabama defensive end A'Shawn Robinson had suffered a sprained knee in Tuesday’s practice and that he would be limited in upcoming days. Robinson’s injury, however, will not require surgery, the coach said.

He also reported a likely upcoming surgery for freshman defensive lineman O.J. Smith and on the return to action of two defensive linemen who had been suspended – Jarran Reed and Brandon Ivory.

Saban said, “A’Shawn Robinson has a sprained knee. It’s not surgical and it’s probably going to take a few days before we get him back out there – maybe as much as a week or so. We’re saying he’s kind of day-to-day, but we’re going to be pretty cautious with this kind of thing, especially at his position. Because it’s not easy to function as an inside player if you have a sprained knee. We’re going to be pretty cautious with him.

As for Smith, a 6-2, 330-pound defensive tackle from Bossier City, La., Saban said Smith “came here with a shoulder that needs surgery. So we’re going to probably go ahead and do that. If we do that he’ll be out for the year.”

On the discipline front, Saban said, “Brandon Ivory and Jarran Reed both were allowed to return to practice today. They both did the things they were supposed to do relative to their suspension. They have to go through a five-day acclimation period just like all the other players did – so two days in helmets, two days in shoulder pads and then they’ll be ready to go with everybody else.”

Saban pointed out that Ivory and Reed have some catching up to do, but also said there is time for that.

He said, “Now, any player who misses a part of camp obviously has a lot of catching up to do in terms of conditioning level and being able to get back into playing football. I think there’s enough time left that these guys are at least going to get a week of camp next week in pads as the rest of the team does before we get into school and practice the one-a-days and not really being in camp.

“Each guy’s going ot be a little different, but they’re big guys so conditioning is really important to them. The way we have to play now they have to be in better condition to be able to play. We see so many no-huddle, fastball teams that big guys get affected by that quite a bit, especially when they get tired.”

Saban found a silver lining in the cloud of defensive linemen being out of action.

He said, “We thought that the defensive line was an area we had pretty good depth going in with the guys that we recruited. But, you know, it’s provided an opportunity to create more reps for some of the younger players. Dalvin Tomlinson, Jonathan Allen, (D.J.) Pettway. Those guys have gotten a ton of reps. It’s allowed Josh Frazier to get a ton of reps, who is just a freshman, as an inside player. (Darren) Lake, (Korren) Kirven, a lot of guys. So we obviously need to get some of these bigger guys back so that we can be a little more solid inside. But I always think it’s good that young players get a lot of reps.”

The defensive line wasn’t the only area for injury updates.

Saban said offensive lineman “Leon Brown is making progress with his foot. He’s actually doing some straight line running as a part of his rehab – but is still probably a week away from really being able to play, sort of do things as a football player.”

Senior inside linebacker Trey DePriest has been out for about a week with an injury and will likely miss Saturday’s first scrimmage of fall camp. Saban said, “I don’t know if he’ll be able to scrimmage and even if he can, I don’t know if we will scrimmage him. But he’s doing a little more each day. He’s certainly not 100 per cent in terms of his movement. I think he can run straight ahead okay. He has a difficult time cutting, which with the kind of injury that he had that’s usually the issue. But he is making progress, we are encouraged and he’s had a really good attitude about doing what he needs to do so ,he can get back to full speed and make a contribution to the team and his position is well, in terms of leadership and affecting other people.”