Today, the LAJ looks at the safety spot, a spot where I thought there were going to be plenty of opportunities for lots of players may not be all that accurate (via LAJ). I think we have one more position group from the LAJ after today, which is the Bandit Outside Linebacker. As far as the safeties are concerned, get used to the same names:
Free Safety: Keenon Ward, Josh Keys, Jalen Barnes, John White
Strong Safety: J.J. Gaines, Josh Keys, Jalen Barnes, Summit Hogue
You could flip White an Hogue, but apprently, this is your group. I originally had Caleb Woodward and Dorian Crawford here at the safety spots, but both of them have been moved to linebacker for the spring, so you can see that it really is just going to be Gaines, Ward, Keys and Barnes for the spring. In the fall, you should see some reinforcements from Derrick Dixon and Payton Hendrix, but for now, this is your safety group. Not a lot of quotes from defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, but there is this on Barnes:
"(Safeties coach) Trey (Haverty) is really fired up about the kid," Wallerstedt said. "He has good feet, good size, good range, is learning the system. This will be a great spring for him. We’re expecting him to emerge."
The article notes that Gaines is essentially going to be out for the spring, recovering from a shoulder injury, so Ward, Keys and Barnes should receive almost all of the time here, which could be a blessing in surprise.
I Don't Have an Opinion, But Let Me Give You a Really Long Quote: Alabama head coach Nick Saban said that he doesn't know anything about this 10 second defensive substitution rule (via CBS Sports). Saban cites player safety, i.e. more plays means more opportunity to get hurt and if the officials can officiate the game, but this third reason was the best:
And the third thing, to me, and the last thing, which is not the most important, I think the first is most important, is there any competitive imbalance created by the pace of play.
I'm not going to get this right, but Alabama has lost to Texas A&M, Auburn and Oklahoma the past two years, all hurry up teams, so yes, for Saban they have created a competitive imbalance. Three whole games. So yeah, I feel his pain.