published Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Robinson in the mix for Alabama's top left tackle

Alabama's AJ McCarron, right, celebrates with teammate Austin Shepherd (79) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in College Station, Texas.
Alabama's AJ McCarron, right, celebrates with teammate Austin Shepherd (79) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in College Station, Texas.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Alabama has done some mixing and matching this spring on the offensive line, with touted freshman Cameron Robinson very much a key ingredient.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said after Wednesday's practice that Robinson and redshirt sophomore Brandon Greene are vying for the starting spot at left tackle. Robinson was among eight members of Alabama's 2014 signing class to enroll in January.

"Cameron gets better and better each day," Saban said in a news conference, "and Brandon has made a significant amount of improvement."

Robinson, a 6-foot-6, 325-pounder from Monroe, La., was the consensus No. 1 tackle in the 2014 signing class. He was rated the No. 2 prospect overall nationally by ESPN and Scout.com and the No. 3 prospect by 247Sports.com.

Fifth-year senior Austin Shepherd, the starting right tackle last season, worked on the left side last week but was back at right tackle Wednesday. Saban said Shepherd is competing with sophomore Grant Hill at right tackle and that senior Leon Brown has moved inside to guard.

The Crimson Tide practiced for two hours Wednesday, which was their 10th practice of the spring. Alabama will practice again Friday before conducting its second scrimmage Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"At this point of spring practice, you look for guys who can push through and sustain," Saban said. "Alabama football is supposed to be a tough, physical team that nobody likes to play against. That's been our identity, but we've lost our identity a little bit with the way we finished last year.

"We've got to get that back, and it's not easy."

Saban said that surgery on Eddie Jackson's knee went well, and he reiterated that the sophomore cornerback has a good chance of returning before the season.

Alabama will conduct its annual coaching clinic today through Saturday. Among those scheduled for the clinic are former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, Baylor coach Art Briles, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees, Tennessee Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom, Seattle Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider and Titans offensive lineman Chance Warmack.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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