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October 16, 2013Since center Ryan Kelly stretched his MCL on Sept. 28 in the University of Alabama's 25-0 win over Ole Miss, back-up Chad Lindsay has started and play well in wins against Georgia State and Kentucky.
Now that Kelly is back practicing for the team, though he likely won't start Saturday against Arkansas, UA coach Nick Saban might have a difficult decision to make once Kelly is fully healthy. At the very least, the injury has helped establish depth at the position.
"We think both guys are good players and both guys have played well for us, so it's good to have the opportunity to play both guys at some point in time," Saban said. "I don't think it's a difficult decision. I think the chemistry and how we're playing the last couple of weeks has been really good. I think Ryan is a very good player and did a nice job when he was in there. The competition is probably healthy for both guys and hopefully they'll both be able to contribute and play well for the rest of the season."
Saban expects Kelly to play Saturday.
"He's been able to practice, he hasn't had any issues or problems, we're kind of just going day by day with him," Saban said. "My sense is that he'll be able to play in the game if he doesn't have a setback and we're hopeful we can get through practice without that happening.
"Now is he ready to go out and play 70 plays in a game? I'm not sure of that. We're just going to have to take it day by day."
Slowing down the Hogs
Arkansas averages 216.3 rushing yards per game with two running back, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, ranking in the Southeastern Conference top 10 in rushing yards per game.
Collins, a freshman, became the first back in conference history to begin his career with three consecutive 100-yard games. He averages nearly 103 yards rushing per game.
Alabama knows the challenge at hand.
"Even games they've lost, they're still averaging 150, almost 200 yards rushing," senior linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "So like I said their big linemen are able to control the line of scrimmage, get a good push to get up to the second level with linebackers and DBs. As long as we control the line of scrimmage we'll have a good chance of stopping the run."
Best game still out there
Saban said the team is trying to establish its identity.
"I don't think we've played our best game. I don't think anybody on our team has played their best game," Saban said. "So everybody's got something they can do every day in practice to try and get better so they can play their best game. Sometimes good is the enemy of great. In other words, you do pretty good at something and you start getting pretty satisfied with it and you don't continue to pay attention to detail, you don't do the little things right. There's only that much difference between being really good and being great.
"I read something about Phil Mickelson was like second on the money list, I don't know what year this was, and Zach Johnson, who stopped to see me a few weeks ago, was like eighth. And they both played 73 rounds. There was a half-a-shot difference between those 73 rounds between their two average scores. One guy's second and one guy's eighth. But the difference in the money was phenomenal. Phenomenal. Half a shot. "
Quarterback commitment done of the season
Alabama quarterback commitment David Cornwell will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He confirmed the news to the Tuscaloosa News on Wednesday.
Cornwell, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound Rivals100 prospect from Norman, Okla., is Alabama's lone quarterback commitment in the 2014 class to date.
Cornwell, who plays for Norman North High School, injured his right knee during his team's game on Oct. 4. He is rated the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and the No. 70 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com. Cornwell is still expected to enroll at Alabama in January.
New running back
Wide receiver Christion Jones lined up in the backfield and recorded a carry againt Kentucky last Saturday night.
"It was assigned for last week and we had a chance to get it out there and it was pretty fun," Jones said.
So is there more carries in his future?
"It's OK. I don't think I could sustain it like T.J. and Drake," Jones joked.
Williams making presence felt
Defensive back Jarrick Williams is fitting in nicely in Alabama's physical defense, starting at the Star cornerback position.
He knocked Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow out of the game on sack.
"On that blitz, I just saw an opportunity and took it," Williams said. "I saw a man standing in my way. He was either going to move or me. I moved him."
He models his game after former UA All-American Mark Barron.
"He was the type of guy who knew everybody's position. I'm still working on that," Williams said. "On the field he was a dominant player. That's why I looked toward him for. That's what I want to be.
"I call him and ask him about some tips on some plays that we use to run. He'll tell me to reroute here, do this and don't do that. He's real big on helping players."
DC Reeves and Andrew Bone contributed to this report.
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.