Smith’s injury and line consistency

Andre Smith has a sprained knee and Earl Alexander has a sprained ankle. The biggest concern is Smith’s knee. Offensive linemen are important and left tackles are a premium, especially when they are future NFL players.

“From an injury standpoint Andre Smith has a sprained knee,” Saban said. “He is going to be day-to-day and out for a few days. I don’t know if he will play in this game or not, it is still up in the air and we probably won’t know for a few days relative to how he heals. Earl Alexander has got a sprained ankle that has been kind of a chronic thing that flared up again in the game. He is going to be in a boot for several days and it is undetermined right now whether he will be able to play in this game or not. There may be a couple guys out there that are in black shirts today but those guys are just sore, beat up or tired. We expect them to be fine for the game.”

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The injury to Smith could keep him out of the Tulane game. In itself, it may not be a bad thing to let Smith heal by missing the game. However, Smith missing repetitions isn’t a good thing. Routine is important, and while Mike Johnson did a good job it messes up the routine.

“Mike played an outstanding game. Probably the best game Mike Johnson has played since we have been here,” Saban said. “He has played a lot of good football for us. He was a little more hesitant when he was playing tackle because he wasn’t getting as many reps and they (Clemson) do a lot of good stuff and have a lot of good players on defense but we were not disappointed in the job that he did. We were still able to move the ball and I am sure with a week to prepare he would be able to play the positions a lot better.”

It is only natural for a player to have the hesitancy in such a situation. When Smith misses a game or two, you have to wonder if there would be similar hesitancy when players are shuffled back to their normal positions.

And not to bring up a doomsday scenario, but another injury would certainly further disrupt what looks to be the linchpin of this year’s team. (And when was the last time we could say the offensive line was a strength?)

Anything that disrupts routine is a bad thing. Let’s hope the disruption is minor and short—the SEC schedule begins soon.