Nick Saban provides injury updates on two Alabama Crimson Tide starters
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban provided an injury report on two Alabama starters during his Wednesday evening news conference, calling center Chris Owens “very questionable” while stating the team will continue to evaluate kicker/punter Will Reichard on a day-to-day basis.
Monday, Saban said that Owens has “a little knee” problem. Reichard suffered a hip flexor injury against Southern Miss on Sept. 21 when he kicked the tee during a kickoff.
Owens has started four games at center this season. During media viewing sessions in practice, he was replaced with Landon Dickerson, while Deonte Brown filled in at right guard. Dickerson started at center during Alabama’s home-opener against New Mexico State earlier this season.
“Chris Owens is probably very questionable for this week," Saban said. "He hasn't been able to do anything in practice. We'll probably get him back maybe next week, but we still haven't made that decision completely yet."
Earlier this week, starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa talked about the chemistry between quarterbacks and centers, stating it is “something that's probably underlooked.” However, during Saban’s appearance on the SEC teleconference earlier Wednesday, the head coach said lack of communication hasn’t been an issue this week.
“I think it’s always important, but Landon’s played center before and he’s played it in games,” Saban said. “It hasn’t been a problem in practice.”
Reichard’s injury caused him to Miss Alabama’s game against Ole Miss two weeks ago. Saban said the freshman participated in kicks during Alabama’s practice Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Saban said he was uncertain of how much Reichard would be able to do against Texas A&M. Through four games, Reichard is 4 of 7 on field goals and 21 of 22 on extra points. He has also 22 touchbacks on 29 kickoffs and is averaging 39.67 yards on three punts. Alabama currently ranks No. 127 out of 130 Division I teams in punting averaging 35.45 yards per attempt.
“It’s difficult to say right now whether he’ll be capable of punting or what exactly his role can be in this game,” Saban said Monday. “Maybe he can kick. Maybe he can punt. Or maybe he can kick off. I don’t know at this point.”
No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 in the SEC) will play No. 24 Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.