Tide opens spring practice with holes on defense

From the AP: The Tide is an early, early favorite to open next season ranked No. 1 thanks to an offense that returns eight starters, including Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Mark Ingram and wide receiver Julio Jones.

Alabama worked out for about two hours on Friday before beginning spring break with practice set to resume March 22. A defense that has been among the nation’s best the past two years must replace nine starters, including three All-Americans.

“Especially with the young guys we have on defense, it’s good to expose them,” coach Nick Saban said. “It gives them something to take home with them during the break.”