TUSCALOOSA,Alabama The wording of leaves room for interpretation, but one thing's almost certain.
Theknee injury to Alabama cornerback EddieJackson is serious and it creates more questions for a regrouping CrimsonTide secondary. ESPN reported it was a torn ACL suffered in Saturday's scrimmage,but Saban only called it .
Andthough he said he was "confident" that Jackson would be "ready to go this fall,"an ACL tear can take months of recovery time. Then there's conditioning work toget back to game shape and timing to recapture.
So,should Jackson be sidelined for the season opener with West Virginia 145 daysfrom Monday, what does Alabama do?
Jacksonwas having the best spring of any Alabama cornerback, . They're already having to replace starter Deion Belue, so who's next in line?
JuniorCyrus Jones had five starts startslast season and junior Bradley Sylvehad three. Sylve was the only other cornerback Saban identified by name ashaving a good spring after Saturday's scrimmage.
"Feellike have a few more guys that have a good understanding of what we're doing,"Saban said of the secondary as a whole. "We just seem to not be making as manymental errors as we have in the past at this time."
Theother popular name of the spring belongs to freshman Tony Brown.
Anearly-enrollee from Texas, Brown has lived up to his five-star billing throughseven practices. Though slowed later last week after falling on a hurdle attrack practice, teammates and Saban had positive reviews for his earlyprogress.
Hisability to grasp the complicated playbook was one of the compliments received.
"Tonyis very competitive," senior safety NickPerry said." He doesn't like to lose. Even out there in 7-on-7 orone-on-ones, he's fighting for the ball a couple minutes after the ball hasbeen caught."true freshman hasn't been forced into full-time starting duties at cornerbacksince Dee Milliner arrived withfive-star ratings in 2010. That was an adventure at times, but he turned into atop-10 draft pick after his junior season.
Laurence "Hootie"Jones is anotherearly-enrollee freshman who's performed well in spring practices. Perry likeshis size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) and speed while noting his quick uptake withthe schemes.
There'salso Maurice Smith, a freshman lastyear who started the Chattanooga game. He came to Alabama with a higherrecruiting profile than Jackson, but didn't see as much action as hisclassmate.
Hesaid he grew a lot in Year 1 at Alabama.
"Ineed to improve as a person and off-the-field kind of stuff because that alsoplays a role in the on-the-field stuff," . "Also, I think I need to pay more attention todetail as a player."
Incase of emergency, safety Geno Smithspent a season at cornerback so he figures to be able to move back.
Incomingfreshman Marlon Humphrey is regardedas one of the top cornerbacks in the nation, but he isn't at Alabama thisspring. Earning a starting job will take some time in the summer and fallregardless of reputation.Thank you for subscribing. You should receive your first newsletter within 24 hours. To view and subscribe to any of our other newsletters, please .