A University of Alabama spokesman would not comment nor confirm any details on reports of suspensions for the football team’s season opener against Duke.
AL.com first reported running backs Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. would be suspended for the first half; Rivals later reported wide receiver DeVonta Smith and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis will miss part of the game.
Nick Saban is scheduled to speak to the media Wednesday on an SEC teleconference call at 10:40 a.m. and will also address the media after Wednesday’s practice.
The suspensions could leave Alabama thin at running back considering the injury to freshman Trey Sanders in preseason camp. In Tuesday’s practice, Jerome Ford was behind Harris and Robinson as the third back with Keilan Robinson as the fourth option. Alabama also has the option to use Chadarius Townsend at running back, as he has gone between running back and wide receiver in his career.
Harris enters the season as Alabama’s No. 1 depth chart with 1,153 career yards, 783 of them from last year as the No. 3 back, adding four touchdowns. Harris came to Alabama as a highly touted five-star from Antioch, California, and remains poised to finally receive bulk carries after the first-half suspension.
Robinson, a Hillcrest High School product, enters his junior season with 87 career carries for 437 yards and four touchdowns. He also returned five kicks last year and is listed as one of the reserves at that position this year.
Smith is expected to be part of a potent wide receiver group after catching 42 passes for 693 yards and six touchdowns. Lewis is expected to play a prominent role in what will otherwise be a youthful defense, as the junior is returning from a pair of injury-plagued seasons.