The Alabama Crimson Tide roster took a major hit before it even begins gameprep in Miami for Saturday’s Orange Bowl.
Alabama coach Nick Saban announced Monday night that redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Deonte Brown, redshirt junior offensive lineman Elliott Baker and sophomore defensive lineman Kedrick James are suspended for the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s College Football Playoff semifinal against the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners for violating team rules. None of the players made the trip to South Florida.
Brown is the biggest loss from the group, having played in 12 games and started five of the last six at left guard.
‘Fragmented’ bowl prep
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With the early signing period that finished up on Friday overlapping with early bowl preparation, Saban acknowledged that the schedule can get hectic at time as he and his coaching staff balance multiple facets of their job simultaneously.
“There’s no question it’s a little fragmented when trying to do all these things at once,” Saban said. “I think any coach will probably tell you that. You’re practicing during signing day when people are signing. You’re preparing for a game when it’s time to wind up recruiting. You’re trying to manage your team as well as everything that’s going on in recruiting.It’s a challenge.”
The Crimson Tide signed 23 players during the three-day early signing period and flipped St. Thomas Aquinas safety Jordan Battle — the 10th-ranked safety in the country this cycle and the No. 77 overall player in the country — from Ohio State. The Crimson Tide is poised to finish with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for the eighth time in the past nine years when things finish up in February.
“Now, we only have one thing to focus on,” Saban said. “That’s the game.”
Both Alabama and Oklahoma will have a pair of team outings on Tuesday.
First, each team is heading to the beach — Oklahoma to the Diplomat Beachfront in Hollywood and Alabama to Miami Beach. Afterward, both teams will have a dinner and charity outing at a nearby Dave & Busters — Oklahoma at the one in Hollywood and Alabama at the one inside the Dolphin Mall.
Each bowl is allowed to give student-athletes up to $550 worth of gifts for participating in their bowl game. Here is what Alabama and Oklahoma players are receiving for reaching the Orange Bowl:
▪ Gift suite
▪ Tourneau watch
▪ Personalized bobblehead of each student-athlete
▪ Sling bag