The Crimson Tide’s second fall scrimmage inside the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium did not start the way coach Nick Saban hoped on Saturday.
A storm forced the team to seek shelter and delayed the start of the scrimmage by 30 minutes. When things finally got underway Saban said the defense was uncharacteristically poor at tackling and there were more dropped more passes than usual as the entire scrimmage got off to a sluggish start.
“We need to be able to throw and catch it with more consistency,” Saban said. “We did make some explosive plays but we kind of need to clean up and execute things with a little more discipline and focus.”
Despite the poor start, Saban said he thought the effort from his team was better this week.
“Giving effort is not a gift. Talent is a gift. We’ve always had pretty talented guys around here, but to play with the kind of intangibles: effort, discipline, toughness, responsible to do your job, we’re getting more people to be able to do that,” he said. “…We’re excited about the things we’re going to technically look at from this scrimmage and work to improve on this week before we start getting ready for our first game against USC.”
Before Alabama takes the field against the Trojans, Saban said he needs to see more consistency from the running backs, the offensive line and of course the quarterbacks.
Consistency has appeared to plague all three quarterbacks going back to spring camp, but the younger ones, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts, have both seemed to struggle in that particular area far more than Cooper Bateman. Both freshmen have been guilty of turning the ball over with poor decisions or attempting to pick up yards with their feet when they should have gone through their progressions.
If one of those two shows the coaching staff the consistency that it’s looking for then Saban said their youth would not prevent them from winning the job.
“You know, we’ve played here with quarterbacks on good teams that didn’t necessarily do anything to win the game, they just didn’t do anything to lose it. And I think it starts with that,” Saban said. “…We talk about this on a daily basis, but each time we talk about it, somebody seems to come to the forefront, and then all of a sudden somebody else sort of pushes ahead. So the person that can play with the most consistency is the guy that’s going to have the best opportunity to lead us in the first game and I can’t really say that one guy sticks out right now.”
The first-team guys were praised for their play in the scrimmage afterwards, but it appears that Saban is still looking for more of his younger players to step up and members of the Alabama secondary seem to be answering the challenge thrown down by their head coach.
“I’ve been really encouraged by Hootie Jones and Deionte Thompson,” Saban said. “We have played Trevon Diggs on both sides of the ball, and he’s done very well, so that’s been very helpful. Anthony Averett has had a good, good camp, so we feel like we have three good corners. We have to have one of these young guys sort of come along and step up and continue to improve.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports