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.
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 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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
-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