Alabama football coach Nick Saban provided an update on injured cornerback Khyree Jackson, who was seen with a walking boot on after the Crimson Tide’s victory over Louisana-Monroe at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, September 17.
Jackson was injured in the second half of the 63-7 win during Brian Branch’s punt return touchdown. Saban told reporters at his press conference on September 19 that the injury does not appear to be “significant.” The Tide coach said Jackson sprained his ankle.
Saban Said They Will Take Things ‘Day-to-Day’ With Jackson Ahead of the Vanderbilt Game
Saban added, “When you have an ankle injury, you have to go day-to-day and we’ll see how he does this week.” The Tide play at home against Vanderbilt on Saturday, September 24. The Commodores enter the game at 3-1, coming off a win over Northern Illinois.
Jackson has been part of a cornerback rotation along with Terrion Sasrnold, KoolAid McKinstry and Eli Ricks. The 6’3″ senior from Maryland, had two tackles, including one for a loss, against Utah State and three tackles, including two on special teams, during Alabama’s Texas victory.
McKinstry talked to reporters after the Louisiana-Monroe game about the Tide’s cornerbacks. “I feel like we have grown a lot. I feel like we’ve been doing a lot of feeding off of each other, learning from each other’s mistakes and just really being there for each other and just being brothers to each other,” McKinstry told reporters. He said they’ve been working hard to improve as a unit as the season goes along.
Saban Also Gave an Update on Injured Returner JoJo Earle
Saban said JoJo Earle, who earned freshman All-SEC honors during his first season with the Tide as a kick returner, is still working his way back from a broken foot he suffered in August. Saban said they wouldn’t consider Earle to be day-to-day yet.
“Hopefully he’s going to start doing some dry land, you know, running and things this week,” Saban told reporters. “But, you know, that’s a medical decision, so when he gets back I really don’t know for sure. Can’t comment on. I hope it’s sometime soon, but I don’t know when that might be.”
Earle, a Texas native, also missed time with a leg injury during the 2021 season. Along with his return duties, Earle also had 12 catches for 148 yards during his freshman season with the Crimson Tide. He returned 15 punts for 88 yards in 2021. McKinstry has been the main returner for Alabama this season, with 10 returns, while Branch stepped in with the touchdown return last week. Isaiah Bond, Ja’Corey Brooks and Malachi Moore have also returned punts so far this season.
Saban addressed his team’s punt return efforts after being asked by a reporter about blocking issues and penalties in 2021. The team had 8 returns with no penalties against Louisiana-Monroe. Saban said, “It really comes down to judgment. We coach punt returns very similar to the way we did last year. … Don’t clip, don’t blindside hit anybody. … We’ve coached all those things ever since I’ve been here. So, players make good choices and decisions because they play with discipline and they understand the consequences of making bad choices and decisions. One of the things we want to improve on is to be able to play penalty free and eliminate penalties.”