Practice report: Crimson Tide has notable absences

Christopher Walsh

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There was a notable absence on Friday as the University of Alabama football team held its final practice prior to its first fall scrimmage.

Freshman nose tackle DJ Dale was not on the field as the Crimson Tide worked in the heat. The temperature was 91 in partly-cloudy conditions, but the heat index was 103.

Dale has missed the last two practices for an undisclosed reason. Junior defensive end LaBryan Ray (ankle) remains out, meaning the team is currently working without two of its three first-team defensive linemen.

Theer was also no sign of freshman running back Trey Sanders and freshman defensive back Brandon Turnage.

The players were in shoulder pads and shorts. The closed scrimmage is set for Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Junior tight end Miller Forristall (foot) has returned to practice, but only for individual drills. He’s still very limited and is using a boot to get around.

Redshirt junior cornerback Nigel Knott (medical issues) remains out.

Nick Saban didn’t have an update on Knott during his press conference Wednesday.

“He's getting rehab and being evaluated,” the coach said. “We’re hopeful that he can back on the field sometime soon, but that's going to be a medical decision.”

Something to keep an eye on is the offensive line. During the observation period, reporters saw players paired off for a drill in which the guards were working alongside a tackle or center. Freshman Evan Neal was initially with redshirt junior center Chris Owens, and then junior left tackle Alex Leatherwood.

When redshirt freshman Emil Ekiyor Jr. took his turn he was on the right side next to junior tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.

Also of note, Saban said the top three outside linebackers are set with Anfernee Jennings, Terrell Lewis and Chris Allen. The player paired with Allen for individual drills was redshirt junior Ben Davis.

EPSN has had a personality/reporter at practice almost every day during fall camp. On Friday it was Holly Rowe.