sunny.png
Monday May 17th, 2021 8:32PM

Playmakers wanted: Defending champ Alabama replacing stars

By The Associated Press

Nick Saban and Alabama opened spring practice Friday with an immediate goal. Along with winning another national championship, that is.

For now, they need to find replacements for three of college football's top offensive weapons.

The good news for the Crimson Tide is that, as usual, there are prized recruits waiting in the wings to replace those seemingly irreplaceable stars.

The competition officially commenced with the search for the potential successors to Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, quarterback Mac Jones and tailback Najee Harris. Jones and Harris also finished in the Top 5 in Heisman voting.

Receiver Jaylen Waddle also departed for the NFL draft, where he's projected as a potential Top 10 pick along with Smith.

Bryce Young, who saw some action as a freshman, is the only quarterback with college experience. The former five-star recruit played in nine games but only attempted 22 passes, completing 13 for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Playing only Southeastern Conference games limited the chances for him to play extended mop-up duties.

“I thought, at times, he was feeling his way out there, not playing with the kind of confidence that we would like for him to play with, but it’s part of his development and he learned from it,” Saban said.

“He’s been much better in practice, like today. This was the first day we could actually throw, and I thought he did a good job of throwing," the coach said.

Saban said Young looked more comfortable managing the offense and the fast pace than he had at times in the past. He also didn't get a spring practice last year because of the pandemic.

Alabama has 15 early enrollees from the nation's No. 1-rated recruiting class, including top offensive line signees JC Latham and Tommy Brockermeyer, highly touted receiver prospects Jacorey Brooks and Agiye Hall and top-rated cornerback Ga'Quincy McKinstry.

Alabama must replace projected first-round pick Patrick Surtain Jr. at cornerback, along with such defensive stalwarts as inside linebacker Dylan Moses

The running back competition heading into next season figures to include senior Brian Robinson Jr., second-year back Jase McClellan and former five-star recruit Trey Sanders. Sanders missed his freshman season with a foot injury and then was sidelined after a car accident last November.

“He’s not 100% but he’s getting there, and we’re very happy with the progress," Saban said. “He’s had a tough road to hoe and he’s had a great attitude about it and he’s worked hard. We’re really pleased.”

McClellan averaged 10.7 yards on 23 carries over four late-season games as a freshman.

Saban said several players are recovering from injuries and expected to be limited in spring practice, including defensive back Malachi Moore, defensive lineman Phil Mathis, wide receiver John Metchie and offensive linemen Pierce Quick and Emil Ekiyor.

One potential contender for carries in the backfield, five-star recruit Camar Wheaton, won't be on campus until this summer.

The freshmen were hardly the only new faces on the field Friday for the Tide, especially on the offensive side.

Former NFL head coaches Bill O'Brien (offensive coordinator) and Doug Marrone (offensive line) are among the new assistants. Steve Sarkisian presided over last season's loaded offense before taking the head job at Texas.

“The new coaches are doing, I think, really well," Saban said. "I think it’s been a transition a little bit, and we spent a lot of time working together on offense to implement some new ideas, as well as for the new coaches to learn the system that we had here before and try to improve on it.”

Alabama beat Ohio State 52-24 on Jan. 11 for its sixth national title in 12 years under Saban. The Crimson Tide holds its spring game on April 17 and opens the regular season against Miami on Sept. 4 in Atlanta.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capitol
Four men described by prosecutors as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys have been indicted on charges that they planned and carried out a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory
8:13PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Judge won't move trial in Floyd's death; 13th juror picked
A judge says he won’t delay or move the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death but he’ll allow limited evidence from a 2019 arrest
8:05PM ( 33 minutes ago )
State: Water may be unsafe at Texas site for migrant teens
Texas’ environmental regulator has barred most uses of the water at an oilfield camp converted into a holding center for immigrant teenagers
8:03PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
NCAA apologizes to women's teams for weight room inequities
NCAA basketball administrators apologized to the women’s basketball players and coaches after inequities between the men’s and women’s tournament went viral on social media
7:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
No. 8 seed Loyola holds off No. 9 seed Georgia Tech, 71-60
Lucas Williamson scored 21 points in a dynamic performance by the defensive whiz, All-America forward Cameron Krutwig added 10, and eighth-seeded Loyola Chicago beat No. 9 seed Georgia Tech 71-60 on Friday to mark a triumphant return to the NCAA Tournament
7:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
Oral Roberts shocks Ohio State, first big upset of NCAAs
Oral Roberts welcomed the madness back to March
7:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Let's Talk: NFL free agents and traded players speak up
Now that the muzzles have been removed for NFL team executives and the players they either re-signed or added in free agency, Thursday was a time for explanations and reflections
10:46PM ( 21 hours ago )
NCAA basketball players use biggest stage to deliver message
A social media effort to raise awareness about inequities in college sports by some prominent basketball players came with calls for rules changes and requests for meetings with the NCAA president and lawmakers
9:34PM ( 23 hours ago )
Amazon gets Thursday night games, NFL nearly doubles TV deal
The NFL will nearly double its media revenue to more than $10 billion a season with new rights agreements announced Thursday, including a deal with Amazon Prime Video that gives the streaming service exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” beginning in 2022
7:03PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Ex-UCLA coach gets 8 months in prison for admissions scam
A former University of California, Los Angeles men’s soccer coach has been sentenced to eight months behind bars for pocketing $200,000 in bribes to help applicants get into the school as bogus athletic recruits
5:43PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Oral Roberts stuns second seed Ohio State in OT
Oral Roberts has pulled off the first upset of the NCAA Tournament with a 75-72 overtime win over second-seeded Ohio State in the South Region
5:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
Arkansas shuts down Colgate 85-68 in NCAA opener
Justin Smith had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Arkansas shut down high-scoring Colgate to open the NCAA Tournament with an 85-68 win
5:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
College Sports
Not NCAA Property: Players push for reform on social media
Some of the top players at the March Madness tournament in Indiana are speaking out against the NCAA
6:53PM ( 2 days ago )
Byington gets her shining moment calling NCAA Tournament
Lisa Byington’s favorite event since she was 10 years old has been the NCAA men's basketball tournament after she saw Indiana’s Keith Smart hit the game-winning basket and David Barrett’s “One Shining Moment” played for the first time
9:43PM ( 3 days ago )
Kansas AD Jeff Long resigns after Les Miles debacle
Kansas athletic director Jeff Long resigned Wednesday, less than two days after the school mutually parted with Les Miles amid sexual misconduct allegations dating to the football coach’s time at LSU and one day after Long vowed he would lead the Jayhawks’ search for a replacement
6:58PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - College Football
49ers hand Trent Williams richest contract ever at OL
The San Francisco 49ers have locked up their biggest potential free agent for the long term by agreeing to give star left tackle Trent Williams the richest contract ever for an offensive lineman
6:31PM ( 2 days ago )
NFL teams are busy as business season begins
As the NFL opened its business year Wednesday, teams were doing a whole lot of, well, business
4:26PM ( 2 days ago )
With business season about to begin, NFL teams do business
As the NFL approached the opening of its business year Wednesday, teams were doing a whole lot of, well, business
2:30PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
4 men linked to Proud Boys charged in plot to attack Capitol
Four men described by prosecutors as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys have been indicted on charges that they planned and carried out a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory
8:13PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Judge won't move trial in Floyd's death; 13th juror picked
A judge says he won’t delay or move the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death but he’ll allow limited evidence from a 2019 arrest
8:05PM ( 33 minutes ago )
State: Water may be unsafe at Texas site for migrant teens
Texas’ environmental regulator has barred most uses of the water at an oilfield camp converted into a holding center for immigrant teenagers
8:03PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Marquette fires coach Steve Wojciechowski after 7 seasons
Marquette has fired basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski after seven seasons in which he posted no NCAA Tournament victories
7:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sources: Feds have no evidence yet for GA hate crime charge
Two law enforcement officials tell The Associated Press that federal investigators have not yet uncovered evidence that clears the high bar for federal hate crime charges against a man who has been accused of killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage businesses
7:13PM ( 1 hour ago )