It appears Nick Saban is driving home a penal point to his young Alabama squad, one that returns just half of its starters on each side of the ball.
Earlier tonight, it was reported that Alabama’s top two running backs will be suspended for the first half of the opener against Duke. It was subsequently reported by Rivals.com that two additional Crimson Tide players, wide receiver Devonta Smith (pictured) and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, will be suspended for the first two quarters as well.
As was the case with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson, these suspensions stem from missing a mandatory team function.
Both Lewis and Smith are listed as starters on the depth chart headed into the 2019 season.
This past season, Smith was fifth on the Crimson Tide in receptions (42), receiving yards (693) and receiving touchdowns (six). Lewis missed significant playing time each of the past two seasons because of injury — all of 2018 with an ACL tear, 10 games in 2017 with an upper-arm issue.
It should be noted that No. 2 Alabama is listed as anywhere between a 32- to 35-point favorite in its matchup with unranked Duke.