This week Saban had tons of praise for Arie Kouandjio, the older brother of last year’s left tackle Cyrus.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone more dedicated, work harder. Had a very difficult [both knees] rehab. We knew it would take him a long time to come back. He came back quicker than we thought. We thought it might hurt his mobility. It did at first. We think he’s one of four best offensive linemen.”
There may be a tackle battle on our hands, as Saban isn’t afraid to experiment with seasoned players in the offseason and summer camp.
“He’s [Arie] been a tackle all of his life. We moved him to guard because we thought he lost his mobility because of his injuries. But he got his mobility back. We’ll take a look at [him at tackle] in the scrimmage and go from there.”
In spring drills Saban experimented with moving Christion Jones, an accomplished and well-utilized receiver at corner, and did the same with Cyrus Jones, another receiver. Christion moved back to receiver, Cyrus (now wearing #5 from last year’s #8) has stayed in the defensive backfield.
Another experiment seems to be over, at least for now. LaMichael Fanning who had been practicing with tight ends has moved back to his more familiar defensive end post. The move could’ve been prompted from the return of Malcom Faciane from suspension.
Amari Cooper (strained foot) continues to wear the black no-contact jersey at practice, and freshman running back Alvin Kamara had a knee scope that Saban called “not very serious,” though it will keep him out of drills for a couple of weeks. Saban referred to it as something “similar to what Mark Ingram had a couple of years ago,” which sidelined him for a short period of time.
Saban also had praise for the Tide’s kickers, the veteran Cade Foster and freshman Adam Griffith.
“They’ve done a really good job. Cade was four of four in the scrimmage. Griff was four of six. I’ve been really pleased with both of them.”
Linebacker Trey DePriest continues to serve what Saban called earlier in the week a “short suspension.” His status of rejoining the team is unknown, but Saban has indicated he could rejoin soon if he “does what he’s supposed to.”
Deion Belue’s injury appears to be behind him as he’s back at work with the defensive backs.