Alabama took to the practice field again on Saturday afternoon, this time inside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first scrimmage of the spring.
The media was able to view the team warming up and doing a few drills before the scrimmage, which was closed to the public.
During the media’s viewing period Alabama seemed to be continuing with the experimentation on the offensive line. With the first team Austin Shepherd lined up at left tackle, with Arie Kouandjio next to him at right guard and Ryan Kelly at center. Alphonse Taylor was manning the right guard spot and Leon Brown was next to him at right tackle. When the second unit took to the line freshman Cameron Robinson was at left tackle and Grant Hill was actually at center.
Blake Sims was the quarterback for the first team offense as expected. Alec Morris was the second team quarterback and Parker McLeod was third team. Sims finished the scrimmage completing 16 of 23 passes for 227 yards and 2 TDs. Morris completed 9 of his 12 passes for 57 yards. Cooper Bateman completed 14 of 25 passes for 102 yards.
OJ Howard was the first team tight end rather than Brian Vogler. Amari Cooper and Chris Black were the first team receivers. DeAndrew White would likely be in Black’s spot if he were healthy. Lane Kiffin could be heard giving freshman receiver Cameron Sims a lot of praise as he ran routes. Cooper caught 5 passes for 190 yards and both of Blake Sims’ TD passes. Cameron Sims caught 2 passes for 48 yards.
Both TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry worked with the first team at running back while Jalston Fowler was the fullback. Both Kenyan Drake and Altee Tenpenny worked with the second offense at tailback. Drake led all rushers with 60 yards on 11 carries and a TD. Derrick Henry had 12 carries for 40 yards and Altee Tenpenny had 13 carries for 40 yards. Redshirt freshman Tyren Jones had 10 carries for 49 yards. Starter TJ Yeldon had just 7 carries for 20 yards and a TD.
Among the first team defensive line A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed were the defensive ends while Brandon Ivory was the nose tackle.
Trey DePriest and Reggie Ragland were the first team inside linebackers. DePriest had 8 tackles to lead the defense and Ragland had 5 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass breakup. Landon Collins recorded 4 tackles, one for a loss, and blocked a field goal attempt as well.
Injured defensive lineman Darren Lake and wide receiver DaAndrew White were watching from the sideline. Incoming freshmen Rashaan Evans (linebacker) and Derek Kief (wide receiver) were watching practice.
Saban praised the effort following the scrimmage as well as the “mental toughness” the team showed during it. He also said that he feels that the team already has more “togetherness” than last year. He said that the execution could be better but they still made some “good plays” out there today. Saban heaped praise for the running game and felt the offense had “good intensity” as well.
Saban liked what saw with the first team defense but things “fell off” with the backups.
During the scrimmage sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson injured his knee without making contact.
“He just came down on his knee funny,” Saban said of the injury. Jackson will have an MRI tomorrow to see the extent of the injury. He didn’t sound very optimistic.
Linebacker Reuben Foster also has a stinger but Saban said that injury isn’t new and he’s been battling it all spring. Also, freshman cornerback Tony Brown injured his shoulder when he fell over a hurdle at track practice. He injured the same shoulder during the High School All America Game. He’s going to wear a black, non-contact practice for the rest of the spring.
Saban finally addressed DeAndrew White’s injury, saying he hurt his toe at the end of 2013, requiring surgery. Saban said that they would work him back into things slowly but he wouldn’t practice at all in the spring. Saban then said the rest of the receivers have looked really good in the spring, naming Christion Jones and Amari Cooper as the standouts.
Saban said that Trey DePriest is having a great spring and is showing the leadership that they want from him.
He said that the QBs looked “pretty good” during the scrimmage but the team as a whole didn’t respond the way he wanted during certain situational things they worked on. He also didn’t feel that pass protection is where it should be yet.
Saban pointed to Blake Sims as having “taken command” of the quarterback competition at the moment.
The stats that Alabama released for the scrimmage – and remember, Saban picks and chooses which stats to release – are below.
Blake Sims: 16-23, 227 yards, 2 TD
Cooper Bateman: 14-25, 102 yards
Alec Morris: 9-12, 57 yards
Kenyan Drake: 11 carries, 60 yards, 1 TD
Tyren Jones: 10 carries, 49 yards
Derrick Henry: 12 carries, 40 yards
Altee Tenpenny: 13 carries, 40 yards
TJ Yeldon: 7 carries, 20 yards, 1 TD
Amari Cooper: 5 catches, 190 yards, 2 TD
Cameron Sims: 2 catches, 48 yards
Altee Tenpenny: 3 catches, 23 yards
Christion Jones: 3 catches, 21 yards
Raheem Falkins: 2 catches, 21 yards
Trey DePriest: 8 tackles
Denzel Devall: 5 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack
Reggie Ragland: 5 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 pass breakup
Landon Collins: 4 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1 blocked field goal