FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Alabama won’t be getting outside linebacker Terrell Lewis back against Oklahoma on Saturday, but he’ll be back in crimson next season.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Lewis and outside linebacker Chris Allen are on schedule with their rehab but aren’t cleared to play against the Sooners. Lewis injured his ACL in July while Allen had an ACL injury in fall camp in August. Both have been doing individual drills during the open portion of Alabama’s recent practices.
“They’re doing fine,” Saban said. “They’re right where they’re supposed to be.”
Losing Lewis and Allen before the season damaged Alabama’s outside linebacker depth significantly. Senior Christian Miller and junior Anfernee Jennings have remained healthy as the starters with senior Jamey Mosley providing depth. Both Lewis and Allen would have played a role if healthy, though.
“I was really getting excited for (Allen),” Lewis said. “It was a bummer for me when he got hurt. I knew that I would have to take him under my wing. This was his first time ever having surgery and stuff. Just helping him out and being a big brother, helping him get through the healing process.”
Both players will be able to redshirt this season, making Lewis a redshirt junior and Allen a redshirt sophomore next fall. Lewis would have entered the 2018 season as an NFL draft prospect with standout size and athleticism.
He’d be eligible to enter the 2019 draft if he chose, but said he’ll be back in Tuscaloosa for another season. Lewis missed most of 2018 after sustaining an injury in the season opener. Next fall could be his first chance to put together a full season.
“I thought about (the NFL), but I want to play,” Lewis said. “I want to have a legacy when I leave Alabama. I’ll be back.”
Cornerback Trevon Diggs, who is out for the season with a broken foot, is also continuing his rehab. His recovery is also on schedule; he could begin running soon.
“I feel good,” Diggs said. “I’m happy I can use both of my legs again.”
No official decision on offensive coordinator
Coach Nick Saban has not made a decision about who will replace departing offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, he said on Thursday.
“I’m going to think about that when this game is over or when we get finished with our season,” he said. “We have a lot on our plate right now getting ready for probably the best offensive team that we’ve seen for a long time. So we’re focusing on that right now.”
Multiple reports have indicated quarterbacks coach Dan Enos is expected to be elevated to the role. Enos joined the staff this year and tutored Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts as the Alabama offense set several records.
“We’ve had no real conversations about that,” Enos said. “We’re just focused on this game.”
Alabama’s 2018 playoff roster has a few names that hearken to the Crimson Tide’s legendary championship history. Jay Barker’s son Braxton is on the roster as a walk-on quarterback. Ben Davis, son of all-time leading tackler Wayne Davis is a linebacker. Wes Baumhower, the son of Bob Baumhower, is a linebacker.
Wes Baumhower is a preferred walk-on from Fairhope High School. Baumhower said following in his father’s footsteps was not the main reason for coming to Alabama.
“I came because it was a dream of mine and something I worked for my whole life,” said Baumhower. “He really didn’t encourage me to play football at the beginning. He just wanted me to kind of play the little sports and not get hurt. But football is something I love. It was one of my decisions to come here.”
Baumhower is continuing a family tradition. His older brother also came to Alabama as a walk-on.
“I was aware of the work you have to put in here and what to expect,” he said. “But definitely, it isn’t something you can’t be prepared for. No doubt it has been well worth it, worth all the hard work.”
After his college career at Alabama, Bob Baumhower played for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL from 1977 through 1986. The elder Baumhower made five Pro Bowl teams while playing defensive tackle with the Dolphins.
Suspended players out for season
Alabama’s three players who did not travel to Miami for a violation of team rules will not return if the Crimson Tide advances to the national championship, Saban said Thursday.
Starting left guard Deonte Brown, along with backup offensive tackle Elliot Baker and reserve tight end Kedrick James, were all suspended. Senior Lester Cotton has been practicing with the first team offensive line in Brown’s place.
There’s been no announcement on what team rules were violated or a timeline for when those players might return. Baker is a senior, though he didn’t play during the 2017 season.
If the players failed an NCAA drug test, bylaw 188.8.131.52 states that players who test positive for banned substances will “be charged with the loss of one season of competition in all sports.” Players who test positive for illicit drugs “shall be charged with the loss of competition during 50 percent of a season in all sports.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.