Tide notebook: Saban moves Fanning back to defense
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Aug 17, 2013 | 2809 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama tight end Brian Vogler (84) with LaMichael Fanning (44), who has been suspended indefinitely. (Photo by Vasha Hunt/Associated Press)
Alabama tight end Brian Vogler (84) with LaMichael Fanning (44), who has been suspended indefinitely. (Photo by Vasha Hunt/Associated Press)
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TUSCALOOSA -- The LaMichael Fanning experiment at tight end is officially over.

Fanning opened preseason practice working with the tight end and H-back group and was there until Friday’s practice. Alabama coach Nick Saban initially called Fanning’s move a “five-day experiment.” While Fanning is back at defensive end, offensive lineman Brandon Greene may have found a home at tight end. He switched his jersey number from 58 to 89, a more traditional tight end number and the one worn by starter Michael Williams last season.

“Yeah, we worked Brandon Greene now for a few days at tight end,” Saban said. “He really gives us, he’s a very athletic guy for his size and runs halfway decent for his size, too, and has really good hands – was a high school basketball player. And he’s really heavy on the edge. So he’s a really, really good blocker and I think can be an adequate possession receiver as a tight end.”

Saban mentioned the possibility of Fanning having a role as an inside pass rusher.

“Since Dink (Fanning) came back (Friday) to defense, he’s done a really good job for us,” Saban said. “I think he might be a guy who can give us an inside pass rush. He’s a big ol’ tall guy with long arms. He did it yesterday and was effective. So we’re hoping that he can continue to develop in that regard.”

INJURY REPORT: After 19 practices in two weeks, Alabama players are starting to deal with minor injuries. The Tide will have two days off to recovery and will resume practice Tuesday.

Saban provided an update on some of the Tide’s banged-up players. Cornerback Deion Belue (hamstring) participated in the scrimmage after missing the first one. Belue has seen more work over the past two practices.

“The last two days, he’s practiced two-thirds of the reps,” Saban said. “We have three guys that rotate with the first team so many plays. We’re steadily trying to increase his reps. He hasn’t had any problems. So hopefully after these two days he’ll get a little better, continue to add strength.

"He’s playing with what I call a strap on his leg. You know, you can’t really extend on that leg, just for protection, so he probably can’t run as fast. It does allow him to get some reps and minimizes his risk with that injury. The last two days he’s done quite a bit, actually.”

Wide receiver Amari Cooper (foot) didn’t participate in the scrimmage. Saban said he should be able to start practicing a little bit when the team returns Tuesday.

Defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan (shoulder) strained his rotator cuff during practice Friday. Saban said he could have pushed himself had it been gameday, but Pagan was held out of the scrimmage, but will practice Tuesday.

Wilson Love, who’s been out with an undisclosed medical issue, wasn’t at practice.

“Wilson Love is still recovering from a little bit of a ding, so hopefully we’ll be able to get him back,” Saban said.

Defensive lineman Brandon Ivory was the only player injured during the scrimmage. He twisted his knee and will be re-evaluated later today, with a decision being made tomorrow on what his status is, Saban said.
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