“He’s played probably the second half of the season with some shoulder problems,” Saban said Tuesday. “They got progressively worse. We decided to have Doc MRI it. He thought that it would not be good that Anthony continue to play so we went ahead and got fixed.”
Steen has been a three-year starter for the Tide and one of the leaders for the offensive line this season. Saban said the team has a few options to replace Steen.
“I think Shank (Alphonse Taylor) has played there, Kellen Williams has played there,” Saban said. “We kind of felt like Grant Hill may be a guy that we look at at guard at some point in time, so we may look at him there for a few days. We feel like one of the centers could move over there and play guard if we needed them to. We have several options. I think we want to try to look at all those things the next, at least these first four practices, where we’re really fundamentally working on things and see what the best combinations would be for us.”
Saban also said HaHa Clinton-Dix (knee) is “OK and ready to go.” Clinton-Dix injured his knee prior to the Iron Bowl, played in the game and had it scoped two weeks ago.
Defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (knee) and safety Nick Perry (shoulder) both returned to practice in black, non-contact jerseys. Both had season ending knee surgeries earlier this year. Tomlinson is just a redshirt freshman. Perry is a senior, but will receive a medical redshirt and return for a fifth season.
“Dalvin Tomlinson and Nick Perry are only out there to do individual drills,” Saban said. “It’s the next step in their rehab. They’re not really playing. They’re not really doing football stuff and they’re not going to play in this game. They’re just out there in black jerseys so they can do football-related type stuff, which is the next part of their rehab.”
Kiffin evaluating the offense: On Monday, ESPN reported that former USC coach Lane Kiffin was in Tuscaloosa to help evaluate Alabama’s offense.
Fans and others took to social media to voice their opinions. Saban said he couldn’t believe there was any reaction to it.
“Just about every year, we have coaches come in and do what we call sort of professional development type things,” Saban said. “We exchange ideas. Oklahoma’s staff has been here before, when we had bowl practice. Tom Moore, who is a longtime coordinator in the NFL, has been here on several occasions to just visit with our coaches, give us new ideas, brainstorm with us. To do it, though, the person can’t be coaching any place right now or they’ve got other things to do. There’s only a few people out there that you have an opportunity to do it.”
Saban praised Kiffin for his offensive mind and said he values his opinion.
“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him, just to come in and brainstorm a little bit just some professional ideas with our guys, I think, is a real positive thing,” Saban said. “And I don’t know why there’s any reaction to it. I’m really quite surprised.”
Leaving early: Two of Alabama’s juniors were asked about the possibility of leaving school early for the NFL draft.
For left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, it’s about solely focusing on the Sugar Bowl. Kouandjio is considered a first round draft pick by many scouts.
“I mean, we have one game left. It’s a one-game season for me so I’m trying to stay focused on this one game and I’m watching tons of film and doing everything I need to excel in this game. After that, then I’ll talk to some people, talk to my parents and see what everybody thinks.”
Defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said he hasn’t given it much thought.
“Honestly, I haven’t really put much thought into. At the end of the season, I’ll sit down with coach and my family and make the best decision.”