A'Shawn Robinson, Brandon Ivory and Jarran Reed comprised Alabama's first-team defensive front during the A-Day game in April.
When the Crimson Tide held their first two-a-day practice Wednesday, all three were absent, with Robinson nursing an injury and Ivory and Reed serving suspensions. Those suspensions were lifted Thursday by coach Nick Saban, so the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Ivory and the 6-4, 315-pound Reed returned to the field in a limited capacity.
"They both did the things they were supposed to do relative to their suspensions," Saban said in a post-practice news conference. "Now they have to go through a five-day acclimation period just like all the other players did."
Alabama held its eighth practice of the preseason Thursday, working out for two hours in full pads inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility. Saban labeled the practice "fantastic" but admitted that being indoors likely helped that.
The Crimson Tide will hold their second two-a-day session today and scrimmage for the first time Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Saban last Friday announced the suspensions of Ivory, Reed and linebacker Tim Williams for violating team rules. Reed was arrested in July on a charge of driving under the influence.
Robinson's ailment had been unknown to the media until Saban said the 6-4, 320-pound sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, sprained his knee and will miss the next few days, possibly a week.
"We're going to be pretty cautious with this kind of thing, especially at his position," Saban said. "It's not easy to function as an inside player if you have a sprained knee."
Alabama's promising defensive front also contains Jonathan Allen, D.J. Pettway, Dalvin Tomlinson, Darren Lake, Dee Liner and freshmen Da'Shawn Hand and Josh Frazier. Hand, a 6-4, 273-pounder from Woodbridge, Va., was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 prospect nationally in the 2014 class.
Ivory started 12 games last season at noseguard in the 3-4 system, tallying 24 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Robinson notched a team-high 5.5 sacks in earning Freshman All-America honors, and Allen recorded 16 tackles and three for loss in playing all 13 games.
Reed and Pettway arrived in January from East Mississippi Community College.
"We thought that the defensive line was an area where we had pretty good depth with the guys that we recruited," Saban said. "This provided the opportunity to create more reps for the younger players."
One young defensive lineman who won't suit up this season is freshman O.J. Smith, a 6-2, 330-pounder from Bossier City, La. Saban said Smith has a shoulder injury that needs surgery, which would shelve him for the season.
Saban said offensive lineman Leon Brown is making progress with his foot injury but is likely a week away from returning to practice and linebacker Trey DePriest likely will miss Saturday's scrimmage as well. DePriest is recovering from minor knee surgery.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
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 ...