Daily Bama Blog correspondent Brett Hudson, like he did for the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, will count you down to the beginning of spring practice with another series. Each day, Brett will break down a different position group going into spring practice until the beginning of practice on March 16. Here is the schedule.
Deion Belue (left) is following Dee Milliner (right) as Alabama’s No. 1 starting cornerback from 2012 to 2013. (AP photo)
March 7th: Quarterbacks (click here to read it)
March 8th: Running backs (click here to read it)
March 9th: Wide receivers (click here to read it)
Sunday: Tight ends/H-Backs (click here to read it)
Monday: Offensive Line (click here to read it)
Yesterday: Defensive Line (click here to read it)
Today: Linebackers/Pro Day (click here for the linebackers preview and click here for the Hub of Pro Day coverage)
Saturday: Opening day of spring practice
The practice videos throughout the years showcase different players going through different drills from year-to-year, even being led by different position coaches. But there is always on constant.
Nick Saban. And not just his presence, but where exactly he is: with the cornerbacks.
Saban’s hands-on approach with the Crimson Tide cornerbacks has produced NFL Draft talent such as Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie, all being replaced in-stride. Alabama has to do the same for 2013 after losing Dee Milliner to what could be a Top 5 pick.
The Tide has Deion Belue returning for his second season of starting at the cornerback position in as many seasons after transferring to Alabama from Northeast Mississippi Community College. Belue intercepted two passes, broke up seven and defended another nine last season.
Geno Smith began to rise as his freshman season carried on, at one point prompting Saban to say, “the light came on,” for him. Smith broke up two passes and defended two more in his limited playing time in 2012, but it was enough to make him a favorite for the 2013 season.
Smith would have been competing with John Fulton, the South Carolina native, had he not suffered a toe injury in the loss to Texas A&M and is out indefinitely for spring practice. Saban has not addressed whether or not he wil practice in spring, but it seems unlikely that Fulton will be ready for the first one on Saturday.
Redshirt sophomores Bradley Sylve and Jabriel Washington will also compete in the spring.
The Tide has four defensive backs coming in as a part of the 2013 recruiting class, all of whom could land at cornerback. Jonathan Cook, from Spanish Fort, Ala., played cornerback in high school and will likely stay at the position. New Jersey product Anthony Averett, listed as an athlete out of high school, has said that Saban plans to try him out as a cornerback.
ArDarius Stewart and Maurice Smith will also enter the program in the fall with their first positions in the defensive backfield.
Breakdown: Two seniors (Belue, Fulton), two redshirt sophomores (Sylve, Washington), one true sophomore (G. Smith), four true freshmen (none in spring training: Cook, Averett, Stewart, M. Smith).
Prediction: Belue is a sure thing as a starter, and G. Smith has a great opportunity to separate himself as the other in Fulton’s absence. Sylve and Washington have the opportunity to compete for the nickelback spot, but so do the incoming freshmen. G. Smith did just that last year: found an opportunity as the nickelback and did not fall back after his initial tryout.