Apr 19, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Chris Black (5) carries the ball for a touchdown during the A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama A-Day: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly


Coming into the 2014 Alabama A-Day Game it was looked at as one of the more interesting in memory, because of the QB situation more so than anything. Coming into the game senior Blake Sims seemed to have taken control of the job, but neither he nor any other QB on the team did much to take control of anything. It was one of the lowest scoring A-Day’s ever and the Alabama defense was the first to break the 0-0 tie in the second half. It wasn’t all doom and gloom during the game though as there was several bright spots.

The Good

T.J. Yeldon has made it an annual thing for him to win the Dixie Howell Award as the game’s MVP, making it his third straight A-Day MVP. In today’s game he amassed an impressive 95 yards on 11 carries along with a TD and a 9 yard reception. Yeldon only had one carry all day that went for negative yards.

Yeldon was one of the lone bright spots among the starting offense all day. After a White turnover he slammed inside for the Crimson’s first TD in the second half. Yeldon has almost become a little bit of an underrated player despite going for over 1,000 yards in back to back seasons because of the emergence of Derrick Henry and the excitement over him in the off season.

The front seven as a whole were excellent all day for both the Crimson and White teams, which bodes very well for the depth there. The defensive line seemed to be getting off the ball with great fire all day and several players made a splash in the game. Jonathan Allen was a force on the outside for the crimson as was DJ Pettway for the white and both men shared the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the Game Award. Allen recorded 6 tackles with 4 of them being tackles behind the line of scrimmage as well as 2 sacks, a quarterback hurry, and a blocked field goal. Pettway recorded 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry, and snatched an interception that he returned 29 yards for the first TD of the game. Inside Brandon Ivory seemed to be commanding a double team the majority of the game which allowed players like Reggie Ragland, who led all tacklers with 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 1 pass breakup, to make big plays at linebacker.

Freshman Tony Brown made several plays at cornerback for the white team during the game. Despite a shoulder injury he recorded two pass breakups and wrestled the ball away from the receiver in a leaping interception in the second half.

A trio of young receivers stood out on offense for both teams as well. For the crimson sophomore Chris Black caught 3 passes for 78 yards, including a 55 yard TD pass late in the game. For the white Robert Foster caught 4 passes for 50 yards including a dazzling over the shoulder catch at the goal for 34 yards in the first half. Also on the white ArDarius Stewart caught 2 passes for 59 yards and a TD. One of the catches he made was off of a tip from Tony Brown, Stewart juggled it and then snatched it out of the air and raced 32 yards for a first down.

The best thing that may come out of this game however didn’t even happen on the field as several big time recruits for the 2015 recruiting class committed to Alabama during or after A-Day! Five star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, four star athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker, five star receiver Calvin Ridley, four star linebacker Leo Lewis, and four star receiver Jovon Durnate all committed to Alabama today in what could be considered one of the biggest days in the history of Alabama recruiting.

The Bad

The quarterbacks were just flat out bad, that’s as blunt as I can put it and it went all the way down the line. Starter Blake Sims did himself no favors in this game as he looked hesitant to scramble at anytime, as though he wanted more to prove that he can sit in the pocket rather than just make plays. When he did scramble later in the game he made a horrible decision and threw the ball right to linebacker Reggie Ragland for an interception. His lone TD pass came in the fourth quarter and to his credit it was an absolute laser, but if you didn’t recognize any of the players covering receiver Chris Black on the play it’s because they were mostly walk ons.

Cooper Bateman did a bit better, completing 11 of his 24 passes for 156 yards and a TD, but like Sims there was no consistency. He missed open receivers and was late on several throws as well. Alec Morris completed just 3 of his 7 passes for 9 yards and an interception, and unfortunately his best plays were punts. Because of the lack of bodies at punters and kickers on the team right now, help is coming in the fall, Morris was forced to handle the punting duties for both teams. David Cornwell and Parker McLeod only threw one pass each. Cornwell’s was incomplete and McLeod’s was picked off by Xzavier Dickson.

The Ugly

The kicking game as a whole was incredibly bad for the most part. Sophomore Adam Griffith made just 1 of his 3 field goal attempts, and his first attempt may be one of the worst field goal attempts you will ever watch, despite it only being 30 yards. His second attempt was blocked, but then he made good on a 41-yarder to end the third quarter. The blocked field goal probably should lie at the feet of his blockers rather than Griffith himself, as it was blocked because Jonathan Allen just went straight through the gut of the line. Backup quarterback Alec Morris handled the punting duties as I said earlier, and though he did fairly well for someone that isn’t used to punting, he still averaged less than 40 yards per punt. Again, that’s not bad for a quarterback and he could potentially get better if he settled into that role as well. You can’t really judge the kickoff return or kickoff teams as there are no live returns but even so both ArDarius Stewart and Cyrus Jones bobbled kickoff returns anyway.

Final stats (I combined both teams together) and awards from the spring are below.

PASSING
Blake Sims (Crimson): 13-30, 178 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Cooper Bateman (White): 11-24, 156 yards, 1 TD
Alec Morris (White): 3-7, 9 yards
David Cornwell (Crimson): 0-1, 0 yards
Parker McLeod (Crimson): 0-1, 0 yards, 1 INT

RUSHING
TJ Yeldon (Crimson): 11 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD
Kenyan Drake (White): 6 carries, 24 yards
Derrick Henry (Crimson): 8 carries, 22 yards
Tyren Jones (White): 6 carries, 24 yards
Altee Tenpenny (White); 10 carries, 20 yards
Amari Cooper (Crimson): 1 carry, 8 yards
Alec Morris (White): 4 carries, -11 yards
Cooper Bateman (White): 5 carries, -13 yards
Blake Sims (Crimson): 2 carries, -6 yards

RECEIVING
Robert Foster (White): 4 catches, 50 yards
Chris Black (Crimson): 3 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD
Amari Cooper (Crimson): 3 catches, 45 yards
Christion Jones (Crimson): 3 catches, 22 yards
ArDarius Stewart (Whtie): 2 catches, 59 yards 1 TD
Raheem Falkins (White): 2 catches, 28 yards
Kenyan Drake (White): 2 catches, 4 yards
Parker Barrineau (White): 1 catch, 16 yards
Jalston Fowler (Crimson): 1 catch, 16 yards
Brian Vogler (Crimson): 1 catch, 10 yards
TJ Yeldon (Crimson): 1 catch, 9 yards
Altee Tenpenny (White): 1 catch, 7 yards
Tyler Nysewander (White): 1 catch, 4  yards
Derrick Henry (Crimson): 1 catch, -2 yards
Tyren Jones (White): 1 catch, -3 yards

DEFENSE
Reggie Ragland (White): 10 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Dillon Lee (Crimson): 9 tackles
Trey DePriest (White): 7 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Jonathan Allen (Crimson): 6 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 QBH, 1 blocked kick
Maurice Smith (Crimson): 6 tackles, 1 FF
Tim Williams (Crimson): 5 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 QBH, 1 FR
Bradley Sylve (White): 4 tackles
Geno Smith (White): 4 tackles
Denzell Devall (White): 4 tackles
Anthony Averett (Crimson): 4 tackles
Ryan Anderson (Crimson): 4 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks
Nick Perry (Crimson): 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Wilson Jones (Crison): 4 tackles
Xzavier Dickson (White): 3 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 INT
Cyrus Jones (White): 2 tackles
DJ Pettway (White): 2 tackles, 1 INT, 29 yards, 1 TD, 1 QBH
Jarrick Williams: 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Tony Brown (White): 2 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 INT
Rueben Foster (White): 2 tackles, 2.0 TFL
Kiren Kirven (White): 2 tackles, 1.5 TFL
Jabriel Washington (White): 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Dee Liner (White): 1 tackle
Anthony Orr (Crimson): 1 tackle
Landon Collins (Crimson): 1 tackle, 2 PBU
Brandon Ivory (Crimson): 1 tackle
Jarran Reed (Crimson): 1 tackle
Derrick Henry (White): 1 tackle
Dakota Ball (White): 1 tackle, 1.0 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 QBH
Shaun Dion Hamilton (White): 1 tackle, 1 QBH

SPECIAL TEAMS
Adam Griffith: 1/3 FGs, 3/4 XPs (kicked for both teams)
Alec Morris: 15 punts, 38.4 YPP, long: 51 yards (punted for both teams)
ArDarius Stewart  (White): 2 KOR, 60 yards
Christion Jones (Crimson): 1 KOR, 30 yards
Cyrus Jones (Crimson): 2 KOR, 57 yards
Landon Collins (Crimson): 1 KOR, 30 yards

SPRING AWARDS
-Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award: Jalston Fowler, Reggie Ragladn
-Jerry Duncan “I Like To Practice” Award: Chris Black, DJ Pettway, Bradley Sylve, Nick Perry
-Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award: A’Shawn Robinson
-Paul Crane Offensive Lineman Award: Austin Shepherd
-Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award: Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams
-Johnny Musso Running Back Award: TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry
-Ray Perkins Receiver Award: Amari Cooper, Christion Jones
-Woodrow Lowe Linebacker Award: Trey DePriest
Derrick Thomas Community Service Award: Arie Kouandjio, OJ Howard
-Bear Bryant Outstanding Non-Scholarship Award: Paul Waldrop, Tyler Owens, Parker Barrineau, Josh Dickerson
-Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award: Cameron Robinson, Tony Brown, Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Eddie Jackson, Robert Foster
-Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award: Geno Smith, Xzavier Dickson, Leon Brown, Jarran Reed, Brandon Ivory, Grant Hill
-Mal Moore Leadership Award: Brian Vogler, Denzel Devall
-Sylvester Croom Commitment To Excellence Award: Blake Sims, Ryan Kelly
-Dwight Stephenson A-Day Lineman of the Game Award: DJ Pettway, Jonathan Allen
-Dixie Howell Memorial A-Day MVP Award: TJ Yeldon

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  • raywillie bob

    Dear Author, i think you are quite the idiot. Sheesh, i took in the first half before opting for a nap, as I find spring games to be as boring as MLB, but I did hear it mentioned at least ten times how the emphasis was on qbs THROWING the ball, which might explain Sims’ reluctance to scramble. I almost can’t believe your take on this. I perused the first few paragraphs and never saw the name Foster mentioned (I might have overlooked it) and he played lights out over the first 30 minutes. Yeldon? The hype? Perhaps TJ should’ve won the mvp for not fumbling away the chance at a td. For as great as he is, he has a real problem when it comes to crunch time fumbleitis.

    • Josh Boutwell

      Well first off, thanks Ray Bob for calling me an idiot. It makes me feel so bad that someone with your intelligence would offer such amazing insight…

      I started to not even respond since you admitted to only seeing one half of the game… The emphasis was on QBs throwing? Really I never would have guessed that… Scrambling is alot different than running genius. And for a mobile QB scrambling is a BIG part of THROWING the football hence why I brought it up. Second, Saban himself could AUDIBLY be heard telling Sims, “you know it’s okay for you to run right?” so yeah…

      Maybe next time instead of “perusing” over the first few paragraphs you actually bother to read, this is what I said about Foster and other young receivers that did well:

      “A trio of young receivers stood out on offense for
      both teams as well. For the crimson sophomore Chris Black caught 3
      passes for 78 yards, including a 55 yard TD pass late in the game. For
      the white Robert Foster caught 4 passes for 50 yards including a
      dazzling over the shoulder catch at the goal for 34 yards in the first
      half. Also on the white ArDarius Stewart caught 2 passes for 59 yards
      and a TD. One of the catches he made was off of a tip from Tony Brown,
      Stewart juggled it and then snatched it out of the air and raced 32
      yards for a first down.”

      Yeah I have no idea what your point with Yeldon was in regards to this game at all. He played very well, and it was Kenyan Drake that fumbled in the game not TJ. So next time you call someone an “idiot” while then proceeding to trash someone for not saying something that they actually did say and next time you might want to watch the entire game if you’re gonna trash how someone perceived what they saw in the game. Stay classy.

      • raywillie bob

        uh Josh, i call em like I see em. Honesty hurts. I’ve only been watching college ball since the time Joe Willie played. There is nothing as stupid as critiquing a spring football game. Well, there is, Going to one. btw, i quit reading your response at “alot.”

        • Josh Boutwell

          I honestly couldn’t care less how long you’ve watched football. It’s kinda what I’m supposed to be doing, watch and react. I added commentary on the things I saw in the game, HONESTLY. Apparently you don’t like when others are honest I assume. I don’t know if you are angry because I didn’t blindly praise everything I saw (I guess ignoring that I was extremely more positive than negative but whatever). It’s nice to know that’s where you stopped, at least you are very consistent. Didn’t watch a game that you are commenting on, didn’t actually read the entire article which you are crapping on, and didn’t completely read the response which you are now crapping on as well. Kudos to you sir.