Alabama football holds first spring practice - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Saban talks offseason problems after Alabama's first spring practice

Posted: Updated:
Alabama head coach Nick Saban gives Christion Jones some advice during the first day of spring practice on Saturday. (abc3340.com) Alabama head coach Nick Saban gives Christion Jones some advice during the first day of spring practice on Saturday. (abc3340.com)
Freshman running back Derrick Henry. (abc3340.com) Freshman running back Derrick Henry. (abc3340.com)
Nick Saban spoke to the media after Alabama's first spring practice Saturday. (abc3340.com) Nick Saban spoke to the media after Alabama's first spring practice Saturday. (abc3340.com)
Freshman tight end O.J. Howard. (abc3340.com) Freshman tight end O.J. Howard. (abc3340.com)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Nick Saban said some Alabama players didn't start out handling the prosperity of a second straight national championship particularly well.

Some cut classes and, more visibly, four players were arrested and ultimately dismissed from school. Saban said things got considerably better once the offseason conditioning program started.

"I'd say until we got into the offseason program and sort of got a handle on things, that we did not respond as well as we would like with this group," the Crimson Tide coach said Saturday after the team's first spring practice.

"I think they've made a tremendous amount of improvement. I think we had more guys missing class, more issues. This was the first behavioral issue we've had with the guys that got in trouble in 5½ years.

"Just a lot of little loose-ended things that when guys have entitlement, you see a little slippage."

The biggest "slippage" came when defensive back Eddie Williams and linebackers D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes were arrested and charged with robbing two fellow students.

Those players and H-back Brent Calloway -- who was charged with using a stolen debit card -- were kicked out of school.

The players addressed the issues in a team meeting.

"We all had a meeting and basically told everybody that's not the way we do things," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "It's good that we're back in football because we don't have all of that off time we've been having. We just have to focus on football and going to school. That's when the family and leadership part of things start to set in."

Quarterback AJ McCarron figures to have an even bigger leadership role with the departure of three All-American offensive lineman and tailback Eddie Lacy. He said it comes down to accountability.

"You just have to be accountable for your job on and off the field," McCarron said. "We're getting an education at the same time, to do the right things not only because we represent this team and this university, but our last name, our families. We're not here to make anybody look bad, so we have to be a man. You're on your own, you have to be held accountable."

On the field, there's plenty of questions to answer and spots to fill before the Tide can start aiming for a third straight national title and fourth in five years.

Alabama opened spring with eight January enrollees, three new coaches and three offensive players getting work at cornerback, including starting wide receiver Christion Jones. Plus, five starting offensive and defensive linemen are gone.

Saban said Jones split his time evenly between offense and defense in the first practice while receiver Cyrus Jones and tailback Dee Hart worked exclusively in the secondary.

Alabama must replace safety Robert Lester and cornerback Dee Milliner, a potential top-five NFL draft pick, from a defensive backfield that was regarded as the weakest link on one of the nation's top defenses.

Xzavier Dickson also moved from outside linebacker to defensive line for the practice.

Saban emphasized that all the switches are experimental and he doesn't think all three players could stay at cornerback.

"I don't even know that we're looking to make permanent changes," he said. "I think we're looking to see if any of those guys could help us and whether and if this would be a better circumstance for them to be able to contribute to our team."

He said having more players familiar with a position can be "an insurance policy" in case of injuries during the season.

McCarron returns for his third season as starter after playing the final six games with three injured ribs. He said they "kept popping out of place," and that would happen with one when he threw.

He has set his offseason focus on getting stronger, even squatting 600 pounds for the first time.

"When I got here I probably couldn't squat 225. Seriously," McCarron said. "To do 600 with (strength coach Scott) Cochran shows what kind of strength coach he is and how much he's helped me in the weight room and made me work hard. It's paid off."

He'll still likely have another strong backfield led by sophomore T.J. Yeldon with a prominent new addition.

Freshman Derrick Henry, a 245-pound tailback who enrolled in January, could be in line to share the load with the departure of Lacy, the BCS championship game MVP, who replaced Cleveland Browns tailback Trent Richardson. He has already made an impression on teammates.

"We were talking about it on the sideline, me and a couple of the players, how Henry looked like a bigger version of Trent Richardson," Mosley said. "But you have to do what you have to do. So we've got to make him better and he's got to make us better. He came in and killed the first quarter program. So I'm excited to see what he's gonna do when we start our first scrimmage."

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:57:16 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:28:15 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:57:16 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:45:02 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a child was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a New York City smoke shop, officials...More >>
  • Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:18 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:18:33 GMT
    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records...More >>
    A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:28:15 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>