Alabama football notes




The number one question, of course, is the quarterback position. Since the start of 7-on-7 a couple of weeks a few weeks ago, we've heard very little about the QBs.

Early on, we did hear that Tyler Buchner looked sharp. Last week, an observer of a workout told us that Ty Simpson threw the ball very well that day. As for Jalen Milroe, we haven't heard anything, good or bad. Again, for the most part, it's been very quiet so far with regard to the QBs.

Offensive line​

Multiple sources say that, with Alabama's offensive line and it's stable of running backs, it might not matter who plays quarterback. We're told that the staff was very pleased with the progress of the OL in the spring and the work ethic of the group this summer.

A source tells TI that the "leader" up front is sophomore right guard Tyler Booker. According to the source, Booker does everything the right way and he holds others accountable to do the same.

Left tackle​

Come August camp, a battle is expected at left tackle between redshirt freshman Elijah Pritchett and true freshman Kadyn Proctor.

While Pritchett struggled in pass protection on A-Day, the source we spoke with says that, aside from A-Day, Pritchett actually had a pretty solid spring overall. The source notes that Pritchett has all the tools -- size, feet, long arms and athleticism -- to be an outstanding player.

On Proctor, I thought he looked quite impressive on A-Day. Keep in mind, however, that he wasn't going against Keanu Koht or Quandarrius Robinson that day. Our source says that, while Proctor is a major talent, he needs to drop about 25 pounds before the season.

Left guard​

There might also be a battle at left guard. Heading to camp, Darrian Dalcourt is the first guy up. But our source thinks Dalcourt will have to fend off some competition in camp, whether it's TJ Ferguson or another young OL.

Running back​

As expected, the source raved about all five running backs -- Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams, Jam Miller, Justice Haynes and Richard Young.

DC Kevin Steele​

Defensively, the first name that came up was new DC Kevin Steele. The source reiterated that Steele was simplifying the defensive calls, which will help communication and allow players to play fast, physical and with confidence.

Defensive line​

There was some question about the status of defensive lineman Jamil Burroughs after reports surfaced that he recently punched a staff member. The source we spoke with admitted that Burroughs has had some ups and downs off the field during his career at Alabama, but said he's actually not a bad kid. We'll see how this plays out, but we're told that, as of now, Burroughs is part of the team.

Another DL who came up was redshirt sophomore Tim Keenan. The former Birmingham-Ramsay star is never going to be flashy, but the source says he has a great work ethic and that he's a real plugger inside against the run.

According to the source, this spring was the first time Keenan seemed fully recovered from a serious knee injury he suffered in his last high school game.

ILB Jihaad Campbell​

The name we keep hearing mentioned as a budding star is rising sophomore inside linebacker Jihaad Campbell. One offensive coach said after spring that "number 30 can't be blocked."

Our source says Campbell has flashed unlimited potential and that he could very well line up inside next to Deontae Lawson in game one.

We haven't seen the best of Jase​

While there's a ton of buzz -- and rightfully so -- about true freshman Justice Haynes and sophomore Jam Miller at running back, do not sleep on Jase McClellan. The former Aledo, Texas star missed most of his sophomore season with the ACL injury. Last season, he showed flashes of his old self. The running back room is loaded, so it's unlikely one guy will have a monster season. But if he stays healthy, watch out for #2. He will have a major role in the run game and as a receiver.

K-Law can do it all​

Inside the building, there is buzz that Alabama has eight to 10 receivers who could make a contribution in 2023. In reality, however, it's not likely that many receivers will have a regular impact. But one to keep a very close eye on is rising sophomore Kendrick Law. Number 19 might be the do-it-all player for this offense. He's capable of (not saying he will be) lining up inside, outside, at running back and even as a wildcat quarterback. He's tough, very physical, strong… Look for Tommy Rees to try to get "K-Law" the ball in different ways.

High on EP, but if KP is in shape...​

As TI posted in our summer notes a week or so ago, in spite of his A-Day struggles in pass pro, people inside the football complex are still buzzing about the potential of redshirt freshman offensive tackle Pritchett. He has size, long arms, great athleticism… a ton of potential to develop.

With that said, if true freshman Kadyn Proctor gets down 360-365 pounds by August (he was hovering around 390 late spring), he might well be the starting left tackle come the September 2 opener vs Middle Tennessee. Proctor is an absolute mountain. It's possible Proctor might work inside some in August camp.

Freshman DL tough vs the run and as an inside rusher​

Now that defensive lineman Jamil Burroughs has entered the portal, watch out for true freshman James Smith. According to sources, in the spring the 6-3, 300-pound Smith showed flashes of star potential against the run and as an inside pass rusher.

The toughest to block one-on-one​

TI mentioned several months ago that a source told us that, according to multiple current Tide offensive linemen, the most difficult DL on the team to block one-on-one is Anquin Barnes. On A-Day, Barnes collapsed the interior a few times near the goal line. Keep an eye on number 59. August could be a huge opportunity for him to snag a role in the rotation.

#24 is dripping with potential​

A player to watch at wide receiver and on kickoff returns is rising sophomore Emmanuel Henderson. A former five-star high school running back, number 24 is still a bit raw as a receiver, but he has very impressive tools -- tall, long arms, speed. He's got an incredible stride that eats up up ground in a hurry. He might be another year away as a receiver, but he could certainly make a major mark soon on kickoff returns.
From SEC media day:

OL JC Latham​

Q: The quarterback position, all the fans this off-season are wondering about it. What have you seen out of the three guys going for that job? You have a 30-year-old offensive coordinator.

Latham: Out of the offense as a whole, I've seen a lot of great things. We're taking everything in stride and doing what we have to do to be great.

We understand that we lost Bryce Young, so everybody around us stepping up, taking it all in stride, not just trying to be good on the field, but off the field as well, in the weight room, nutrition, recovery, mobility, recovery, whatever it is. We understand our goal is to win it all, national championship.

As far as the quarterback room goes, just competition. Everybody is competing. They know what's up for grabs for anybody. They're doing what we have to do to succeed.

Q: Can you be a little more specific about working with that new offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees, what it's been like getting to know him, how he has gotten to know the offense better.

Latham: I think just knowing him as a person, he's a great person. I can tell he has a love for the game, a passion for the game.

I think as far as the offense that he's installed and brought to the team, it utilizes everybody's strengths. We do whatever we got to do for whatever our strength is to succeed on that play or the series or whatever it might be.

So understanding that, I think we have a great group. I think we have a great scheme that we're willing to just showcase, show the world.

Q: You were the top-ranked tackle in your high school class. This cycle, Alabama, you guys brought Kadyn Proctor from Des Moines, Iowa. What have you seen from him so far? How to you expect him to contribute?

Latham: Understanding that rankings don't mean too much when you get here, it's all about how you work, what you're willing to do. He's been working since he got here.

Obviously nobody's perfect. We all have our ups and downs. Everything that he's been good at or great at, he's tried to get better at. Anything he may have a weakness in, he tries to eliminate it every single day.

He shows up with a great attitude, mindset, gifted, 6'8″. He knows how to move. He just knows who he is as a person, and he's humble about what he does in the everyday aspect.

Q: Why do you think the past couple years you guys and A&M have been such a close contest? What are you expecting this time?

Latham: As I was telling somebody earlier, experience is life's greatest teacher. I think both years weren't just the regular we show up to play. My freshman year, previously lost two games, so I think as a group, we didn't think they'd be ready to play us. Last year we lost Bryce. I don't think we were mentally prepared for him not to play.

I think we have to do a better job at understanding that anything can happen, anybody can go down at any given moment, they may not play the next game or however it may go.

I think that comes from experience. Both games I played in had a unique situation to them.

Q: Your first two years in Tuscaloosa, you see Georgia win national championships out of the SEC. Does that drive you as far as getting Alabama back to that level?

Latham: Yeah, it definitely motivates me. I've watched that game time and time again. I know our guys, we can compete with them. Just seeing them win, just understands, like, I'm not disrespecting them at all. I think they deserved to win. They've worked really hard.

I know our guys deserve to have that platform as well. Just seeing them take the stage and take the opportunity that we knew was up for grabs, that we could have taken, just fuel to the fire.

Q: A lot of new pieces on offense. How much does last season, the tough losses to Tennessee and LSU, motivate you to get back to the SEC title game?

Latham: That's a great question. It motivates us a lot. I'd be the first to say we needed to play with more discipline. Especially myself, I had way too many penalties. Every single day in practice, workouts, whatever it might be, we got guys who are trying to be more disciplined, hold each other accountable, trying to be responsible as far as that aspect goes, especially myself. We lost games off of just not being disciplined. We just couldn't handle them. It was just strictly off of discipline, so…

Q: Everyone wants to talk about the quarterback position. Jalen Milroe clearly had the most meaningful reps last year. What do you see from him, and how much confidence do you have from him each time that he's under center?

Latham: I got confidence in the whole group, whoever's out there. I know each guy has taken the preparation to be great. Each guy has taken the preparation to go out and succeed.

Whoever lines up at quarterback and whoever's the quarterback of the team is going to take the role of that leadership role. I know they're going to be great.

As far as J. Mil goes, I know he has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country, if not the best. I have no doubt in anybody else that plays as well.

Q: What have you seen out of the skill players? Who do you think might be a big contributor we might not know of and why?

Latham: I think a big contributor, I think we got a lot of guys who are eager to player, eager to show who they are, guys who are returning like Ja'Corey Brooks and Jermaine Burton. I think those guys are looking to take that leadership role and trying to be better than the year before.

But guys like Isaiah Bond and Kobe Prentice, guys like that who are also trying to step into a complete role, along with Kendrick Law and Malik Benson, I think we have a great receiving group. I think everybody is looking to compete and be great. I think we have a really good offense.

Q: Would you kindly explain your jewelry.

Latham: Yeah, so ...

Q: What's the different blocking that you have to have for each quarterback?

Latham: So first of all, the chain, when I was a junior, that's when I first played O-line, and I kind of, like — my role model — or I wouldn't say role model, guy I look up to was Deion, "Prime Time." I knew, like, that name came with a standard. You can't be called "Prime Time" if you're not making plays.

So I wanted to have my own name. That's why I came up with "Trench King." Everybody, O-line, D-line, they live in the trenches, so I wanted to be the best. So TK, Trench King, it came from that.

As far as Jalen Milroe goes, I know he's a quarterback who has the ability to run. I think he's a really great runner, a scrambler. Kind of similar to what I did with Bryce, I'm mirroring myself off the defensive linemen. If I see him go inside, kind of like slowing down to try to catch J. Mil, then I'll try to mirror myself back inside. But if I see him getting ready to go outside, I try to find my way to get outside and give him an extra couple seconds, whatever it might be.

As far as the other two quarterbacks go, even though they can run, I know they have a different style than Jalen Milroe within their own aspect, so it might be a little different approach.

Q: I know being an offensive lineman you kind of had good relationships with running backs. Of the running backs, who do you get along with best?

Latham: I mean, I think I'm close with all of them. I love all those guys. Those are my guys. So, I mean, I'm really excited for them to go showcase who they are. We got really physical running backs, guys who like to put their head down and run people over.

Yeah, I love running backs like that because sometimes, especially in this conference, it's going to get physical. Having a back who I know is tough enough to just, hey, you want to come hit me, I'm going to come hit you in your mouth, I love blocking for all those guys.

Q: Jahmyr Gibbs was a huge addition to the team last year. Do you feel the running backs are ready to step up and replace him?

Latham: No doubt. Especially at running back, from Jase to Roydell to Jamarion Miller, the freshman running back Justice. I know all those guys are out there performing at their best, doing what they got to do to be great. Each guy, whatever they have to do, whether it's mobility, fieldwork, watching extra film, making sure they're staying healthy and ready to go, they're all taking accountability and ready to do it.

DB Kool-Aid McKinstry​


Q: How are you enjoying the day? You excited?

McKinstry: Yes, I'm very excited to be here with you guys. I know it's an honor for me to be here, so I'm very excited to be here.

Q: What are some of the younger players that have impressed you in the defensive backfield?

McKinstry: We have a lot of young players this year, young secondary. I feel like Caleb Downs has stand out, Dezz Ricks, Jahlil Hurley. Even the newcomers that we have, the transfers, are standing out, learning the defense, looking good for the coaches.

Q: With Kevin Steele, did he recruit you at Auburn? What is your relationship going back to that and now as your defensive coordinator?

McKinstry: Yes, sir. When Coach Steele was at Auburn, he recruited me very hard. Going back to the relationship we had, we had a great relationship when he was recruiting me at Auburn. For us to run cross paths here at ‘Bama was very exciting.

Q: Talk about some of the new guys, what is your message with the first impression of Coach Saban, what you expect out of them? What do you tell the guys? Do they think he's intimidating at first?

McKinstry: Well, of course, when I first came in, I was a little shaky about being around Coach Saban. I'm pretty sure those guys have the same mindset about that.

I just tell them, like, Coach Saban is a guy that you have to be able to trust. If he don't trust you, it's going to be hard for you. Just go out there, showing Coach you know what you're doing, looking like you know what you're doing even if you don't know what you're doing, just playing hard at all times, flying around. That's what I tell the guys.

Q: You guys brought in Caleb Downs, a top-ranked safety from this past class. He's expected to have a big impact. With all your defensive players, what do you see from him and what really makes him a player that, even as a true freshman, is really good enough to be able to contribute on a loaded defense?

McKinstry: I feel like a guy like Caleb, he's very dedicated. Every time I pop up at the facility, he's already been there for maybe an hour or two getting extra work in with the coaches, learning the defense, doing small things like that that's very important to learn the defense.

I feel like I see him doing a lot of small things in the weight room. Even when we get done working out, working on his abs one day, might be stretches one day. I feel like he doing a lot of little things right.

Q: Obviously you're having a new defensive coordinator coming in. Talk about the transition with Kevin Steele coming in, how smooth it's been for you guys.

McKinstry: Well, I feel like at ‘Bama we already know as players that coaches are going to be there and coaches might not be there.

I feel like us knowing that is a big deal with us, changing coaches, just learning new coaches, seeing their way of things, seeing how they're going to be different into the program.

Q: You were a two-way sports star in high school. Do you still have that itch to play basketball? Do you still play and hoop a little bit?

McKinstry: Yeah, I go to the rec and play. I kind of gave up on the college thing. Me playing basketball, I had to sit down with my family, be real with myself, focus on what's important to me.

Q: The jewelry, how does that allow you to express yourself in a way that allows people to get to know your personality a little bit better?

McKinstry: Well, a lot of people that know me know this is kind of me. I love being me no matter where I'm at, so it's just a part of me.

Q: What do you take away from the last two LSU games that went down to the wire?

McKinstry: SEC in general is always tough, hard games. My freshman year, went down to the wire in Tuscaloosa. Last year went to the wire in Baton Rouge. Games like that is why I come to ‘Bama and why you stay in the SEC. They're important to me.

Q: Getting a chance to go against the wide receivers all the time, you get a grasp of their strengths and weaknesses. Which receiver gives you the most trouble?

McKinstry: Well, all those guys are very different in things they do. Some of them are better route runners, some of them are better catchers, some release at the line of scrimmage.

I love going against all of them. They are all different. By all them being different, it's better than me working on this because this guy might be better at this, that guy might be better at that. I think every play is helping my game get better. I'm very thankful for those guys.

Q: Who are the best receivers you've faced so far at Alabama, either teammates or opponents?

McKinstry: Well, I could say I faced a lot of guys that were pretty good that wasn't on my team. But I feel like I face some of the best guys playing around on my team like Jay-Mo, guys like Metchie because those guys are just different. I was so young. Me having an opportunity to check Jay-Mo as a freshman and Metchie as a freshman, it was very big to me.

Q: What is it about your guys' matchup with Texas A&M the past couple years, what do you expect going back to College Station this year?

McKinstry: Like I said, I know College Station is a very tough place to play. Like I said, the SEC is going to be hard-fought games. That's why you play here at ‘Bama and that's why you play in the SEC.

LB Dallas Turner​

Q: Obviously on the offensive side of the ball, you lose Bryce. On the defensive end of the ball, you lose Will. You had a dynamic duo team going with him last year. What has he taught you about your game, things you can add to your pass-rushing abilities? Ultimately, what are you going to do moving forward to make sure his loss isn't a gaping hole?

Turner: I mean, more importantly, like, Will, he has paved the way for a lot of guys in the linebacker room. There are also guys that can come and fill those shoes, replace him in some way, like Chris Braswell, Keanu Koht, Quandarrius Robinson, Jeremiah Alexander, guys like that.

A lot of guys like that looked up to Will, seeing what he did, seeing him grow, make mistakes. We just learned from that, keep going off of it.

Q: Where did you get your name Dallas from?

Turner: You got to ask my dad that, honestly (smiling). I asked my dad that question every day. He just say the same answer, so…

Q: A lot of fans have been looking for Alabama to get back to Joyless Murderball, as they call it. A lot of good talent on the defense this year. How do you see the team getting back to that?

Turner: The expectations, Joyless Murderball, pre-season, of course. There's a lot of guys on the defense that can run around, fly around, make good plays.

Q: Will Campbell at LSU said that you were probably the best defensive lineman on Alabama last year. That game, exciting as it was, the finish, does that resonate with you?

Turner: We just fell up short when we played LSU. Will is a very good tackle. Coming in as a freshman, he opened a lot of eyes. He did a lot of good things when he played against us.

Q: What is it about the way you guys match up with Texas A&M? The past couple years have been close. How much are you looking forward to playing them this year?

Turner: It's always a battle when we play them, of course. Jimbo is doing a very good job over there, leading the guys in the right direction. There's a lot of talent over there, a lot of good things they're doing over there, so yeah.

Q: Iron Bowl is back in Auburn this year. You were at the game in 2021 as a freshman. What do you remember? Are you excited to go back this year?

Turner: Honestly, I didn't know how important and how deep the rivalry was till I actually, like, ran out the tunnel in the stadium. Once I ran out the tunnel, I seen, like, all those people. They really did not like us. It was kind of eye-opening.

I'm looking forward to that game. It's going to be a good game every year, especially at Jordan-Hare. The atmosphere is very crazy over there, very loud. They call it the Jungle, so it's definitely the jungle, for sure.

Q: What's the biggest difference you've noticed between Kevin Steele and Pete Golding heading into the season?

Turner: They're both very good defensive coordinators. I'll say that first and foremost. Kevin Steele, he has more experience, I would say that. With Alabama, he understands the standard, he knows what we supposed to be doing as a defense. Being under Coach Saban, just being there for a long time.K

He is showing guys the Alabama Standard and the type of style we want to play on defense.

Also, he's been a defensive coordinator for a very long time, just been in the game for a very long time, as well.

Q: What is your favorite quote from Saban? If you could impersonate him, how would it sound?

Turner: There's a lot of things I can impersonate, but I can't say it in the mic in front of all these people. I apologize. I can't (smiling).

Q: How important was Will to your development? What did he teach you so you can teach the new guys?

Turner: I feel like Will taught me a lot. We taught each other a lot, I'll say that. But just seeing him grow, him seeing me grow, it's been very good. I took a lot of things for him. I feel like I wouldn't be who I am today without him. I'll say that.

He's a very important person in my transition from high school to college football. I'll say that, yeah.

Q: ‘Bama doesn't lose, they reload. Losing Will and Jordan to the draft, we know what the defense brings this year. How are you hoping to reload and go out there this year?

Turner: We just hope to lead by example every day. We got new guys coming in. We just show the new guys how it is supposed to be at the University of Alabama, the type of football we play, the type of attitude we have day in and day out.

Q: There's a tremendous amount of hype for Caleb Downs coming in, obviously. One of the highest-ranked players coming into Alabama. A lot of Minkah Fitzpatrick comparisons. What can fans expect from him? Do you expect him to be an immediate impact player for your defense?

Turner: Yeah, Caleb has the possibilities to be an immediate impact player. Very smart, very cerebral. On the field he's a guy that you can also depend on as well. He's a young guy, but he also knows what he's doing. Communicates very well. Very confident, too, in his game.

If you look at him physically on the field, you can tell he's ready to play, so…

Q: Coaches move around a lot. Pete Golding has moved to Ole Miss out in Oxford. Is it going to be weird for you seeing your old coach on a different sideline this year?

Turner: Of course. Pete Golding was my first defensive coordinator when I came to Alabama. It's going to be a little weird to see him at Ole Miss. But he had to do what he had to do for him and his family. I hope for the best for him.

Q: There's an expectation at Alabama that you guys will play for championships. After missing that last year, what kind of taste that left in your mouth or what kind of memory did that leave in your head?

Turner: I mean, I would say that we have a new season coming up with a lot of new opportunities, a lot of new doors that we can open. We plan on going 1-0, laying that foundation now in the summer and during the off-season should be important going into the season as far as camp and stuff like that. I feel like it should all be good.

Q: We didn't see you in the spring because of injury. How are you feeling physically?

Turner: I feel great. That time off really helped get my body together physically after playing a very hard, long season. I feel like that rest of kind of sitting out for the spring kind of benefited me in a way.

Q: Did you watch the national championship this year? Not sure if you saw the moment with David Pollack where he said there's new kings of college football in Georgia. What did that mean?

Turner: I mean, I didn't watch it. I mean, everybody has the freedom of speech, so…

Q: You go up against the offense daily in practice. What have you seen out of them and their progression?

Turner: I mean, every day in practice, it's always a battle between the offense and defense. A lot of very competitive guys on that side of the ball as well.

I'm seeing a lot of great progress with all the quarterbacks we have going on. A lot of good things. Being seen on that side of the ball and just seeing them grow and come together, just having that same chemistry on the offensive line.