Sugar Bowl notebook: DePriest: 'I'm coming back' for senior season
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Dec 28, 2013 | 2897 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) and linebacker Trey DePriest (33) during a practice session Saturday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Crimson Tide will take on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) and linebacker Trey DePriest (33) during a practice session Saturday afternoon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Crimson Tide will take on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday night. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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NEW ORLEANS — Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest wanted to end all of the speculation about his future.

After the Crimson Tide's practice at the Superdome, DePriest put to bed speculation he might bypass his senior season for the NFL.

"I'm coming back," the 6-foot-2, 245-pound DePriest said.

DePriest has started 24 of Alabama's 26 games the past two years. He was second on the team last season with 59 tackles and is third this season with 58.

On Sunday, senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said DePriest could be the next leader of the Tide's defense: "If he stays, it will be him," Mosley said. "He doesn't get a lot of credit, but he's a pretty good linebacker."

Injury update

Alabama's two top safeties are both nursing injuries.

HaHa Clinton-Dix is recovering from a knee scope he had after the Iron Bowl, while Landon Collins has been slowed by an ankle injury sustained during bowl practice. But both should be able to play in the Sugar Bowl. Tide coach Nick Saban said they’re both “doing OK.”

“We’re keeping black shirts on them, but both guys take every rep in practice,” Saban said. “HaHa’s probably really good. I don’t think he has any issues or problems. Landon, with an ankle, he does really well, but if he tweaks it a little bit it slows him down for a few plays. But he’s getting better and better every day.”

Collins said the ankle is “doing great” and that he’s keeping it secure so he doesn’t roll it again.

Cornerback

Nothing has changed with Alabama at the cornerback position. The Tide has been shuffling players all year because of injuries or poor performance.

So just days before the team’s bowl game, Saban is still tweaking the position.

“You know, we’ve been evaluating our options at corner all year long,” Saban said following Saturday’s practice. “I think that all the guys have made progress. Eddie (Jackson) has made progress. Eddie played well early in the year, went into a little bit of a freshman lull, and he’s bounced back and is playing really well right now. Deion (Belue) has been hurt a lot so we’re alternating guys at the other corner.

"Maurice Smith is doing a good job. I think those (freshman) with this being able to go back and start all over and practice for 5-6 days on camp-type stuff gave them a lot of confidence in terms of being able to relearn things a little bit. So both those guys have done really well.”

Jackson lined up with the first team defense opposite Belue when the Tide worked on its nickel package. Cyrus Jones worked with the second team.

Collins playing at home

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Alabama safety Landon Collins. Collins, a Louisiana native, will play in the Superdome for the first time.

“To even practice in the dome, it’s crazy,” Collins said following Saturday’s practice. “In your home state, I always dreamed in high school to play in there, now I’m playing in the Sugar (Bowl), a bigger event. So this is amazing to me.”

Collins said he had about 20 ticket requests from family and friends for the game.

Right guard

Nick Saban isn’t ready to name a starter at right guard, but he likes his options.

As of Saturday’s practice, Leon Brown lined up with the first offensive line group and appears to have a leg up on the competition.

“We’ve practiced three guys there. We think they all could do well there,” Saban said after Saturdays practice. “We’ll probably make a decision at the end of the week as to what we do at right guard. Leon’s probably a guy that, if he continues to develop and progress, has a good chance to do it. He’s not played guard all year, but he’s a very good offensive lineman so if he can make the adjustments and get the things needed to get done, I think he’s got a very good chance to do it.”
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