After notching its 11th spring practice the previous day, the Alabama football team returned to Bryant-Denny Stadium for its second scrimmage in which coach Nick Saban saw his first teams play well on both sides of the ball.
Time is ticking away as Alabama has only two more spring practice before its A-Day game on April 16, which will publicly debut the new edition of the Crimson Tide.
“Obviously, they can do better,” he said. “We’ve got plenty to improve on, but there was better continuity, there was a lot of improvement, there were plays made by both sides.”
During the media-viewing period, the quarterbacks warmed up with throwing short, quick passes to the tight ends and deep passes to the wide receivers, a handful of which were dropped.
Saban said the quarterback who can best move the team and take care of the ball is the one who will come out on top and become Alabama’s offensive leader.
According to scrimmage statistics provided by Alabama’s athletics communications office, Robert Foster led the Crimson Tide, totaling four receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Saban said Foster made some big plays too.
“Robert has struggled at time this spring and not 100 percent healthy, but I think he’s gotten better and better,” Saban said. “I’m just really happy to see he made some big plays [Saturday] because that probably did a lot for his confidence.”
Calvin Ridley followed with three receptions for 62 yards, but Saban said ArDarius Stewart had a good day. He finished with five receptions for 60 yards.
Saban hopes it’s really competitive among the wide receiver, proving who’s worthy of starting, and there are three players who he believes are ahead of the rest – Foster, Stewart and Ridley.
There’s also competition among the running backs, but Bo Scarbrough continues to lead Alabama, filling in the void that was left behind after Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake moved on. Scarbrough carried the ball 12 times for 111 yards and a touchdown.
But Damien Harris is also making himself known. He had eight carries for 56 yards, meeting Saban’s goal of him and Scarbrough each getting at least eight carries.
“[Harris has] done a nice job, showing some maturity,” Saban said. “He’s able to compete in practice better. He’s got a better understanding and more confidence in what’s expected of him. I’ve been really encouraged by him and the springs he’s had, including today.”
On the defensive side, Saban said the first-team defense had three touchdowns off of two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Reuben Foster led with nine tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
Rashaan Evans, whose home base used to be on the outside, was moved inside where, on Saturday, he totaled seven tackles and a sack. Making the transition has been an adjustment for the junior.
“Because this is a new position for him, he probably makes more mental errors and struggles to feel comfortable knowing exactly what to do sometimes,” Saban said. “Certainly, if we can get him over the hump in that regard, he could be a really, really good player for us.”
Although he was happy with his first-team players, Saban wants to see the backups mature and become more consistent. If a situation comes up where they’re needed, he wants to be confident that they’ll be prepared.
“They’re trying to make plays and they don’t play with a lot of discipline, which affects their ability to go out there and do their job like they need to,” Saban said. “This is the goal for the rest of this spring, to get more and more guys that can play winning football, no doubt.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports