Alabama offense takes the field for the first time during spring practice

Marc Torrence

AJ McCarron saw a crowded group of quarterbacks behind him when Alabama opened its spring practice Saturday. McCarron is entrenched as the starting quarterback, but he was joined by six quarterbacks who are all vying for the backup quarterback job behind him and a chance to take the reigns after McCarron plays his final season in 2013.

“We haven’t been around each other long enough, so I help them when I can or whenever they ask,” McCarron said. “It helps getting a break. It’s fun to sit back and watch the younger guys compete, watch them grow. It’s going to be a fun spring.”

At running back, early enrollee Derrick Henry, a five-star athlete from Yulee, Fla., stood out among the group – literally. At 6-foot-3-inches, 242 pounds, Henry drew a scary comparison from linebacker C.J. Mosley.

“We were talking about it on the sideline me and a couple of the players, how Henry looked like a bigger version of Trent Richardson,” Mosley said. “But you have to do what you have to do. So we’ve got to make him better and he’s got to make us better. He came in and killed the first quarter program. So I’m excited to see what he’s gonna do when we start our first scrimmage.”

The running back group was a little more spread out than it will be in the fall, when the Crimson Tide will welcome three other highly-touted backs. Additionally, Dee Hart worked on defense with the cornerbacks, while Jalston Fowler wore a black, no-contact jersey as he went through drills.

The running backs will run behind a re-tooled offensive line in 2013. Alabama is looking to replace left guard Chance Warmack, center Barrett Jones and right tackle D.J. Fluker. Ryan Kelly is expected to step in at center, while Arie Kouandjio lined up next to his brother, Cyrus at left guard and Austin Shephard went through drills with the first unit at right tackle.

The wide receiver group was thinner than usual with Cyrus Jones and Christion Jones working out with the defensive backs during the media viewing period of practice. Kevin Norwood sat out drills in a black jersey after having toe surgery in the off season, while DeAndrew White went through drills in a no-contact jersey.

“When I go in, Christion’s still with us when we go Blue,” McCarron said. “Other than that, I have [Kenny Bell] and [Amari Cooper] out there, so I’m not really throwing to anybody different out there. All the newer guys are with the other QBs, so I’m still with my same old guys I’ve been with.”