Alabama Football: What to look for from Saturday scrimmage

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The second and last scrimmage of Alabama Football’s preseason is Saturday afternoon. It is always the most important session each August. With players in school and a game week fast approaching, some players need to use a strong scrimmage performance to strengthen their starting or key backup roles.

There are five particular areas or positions where several players need to impress. The Crimson Tide punting game needs to be consistently better than last season. Four players are still competing for the punter job. One among the group of Sam Johnson, Ty Perine, Jack Martin and James Burnip needs to stand out. That is only part of the punting puzzle; a new starting long snapper must be chosen. The sooner these roles are defined the better, but competition might continue into September.

At least one starting wide receiver spot is up for grabs. Saturday could determine if it is Javon Baker or Jameson Willaims. At running back, the pecking order among the backups is unsettled. Trey Sanders might lead at RB2, but Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams are still factors. All three are expected to play, along with B-Rob as the starter, but the distribution of snaps drops off for RB4.

There are more important roster issues at defensive back and at right tackle. Nick Saban said earlier in the week, the sprained ankle of DeMarcco Hellams was a day-to-day assessment. Alabama Football insiders are claiming Hellams may miss a few games. Another ankle sprain, also defined as day-to-day, has taken Kendall Randolph off the field. Hopefully, Randolph will be back by next week, but if not, a replacement right tackle needs to be prepped for the Hurricanes.

Which Alabama Football players will fill in for Hellams and Randolph?

The first part of replacing Hellams is solved by moving Brian Branch to play only at safety. Branch has been all over the Tide’s secondary in fall camp but is the natural guy to take over for Hellams. That still leaves an open spot in dime formations. Kool-Aid McKinstry, Khyree Jackson, possibly along Marcus Banks and Terrion Arnold will vie to be the sixth defensive back starter. Practice observers say Kool-Aid and Jackson have looked great in camp.

Many Crimson Tide fans are convinced, freshman J.C. Latham will start at right tackle if Randolph can’t. Another possibility is sophomore Damieon George Jr. If Randolph continues to miss work, the two younger players might get a chance, for one of them to grab the starter job and never let go.

Next. Previewing the Tide regular-season: Tennessee Vols. dark

Crimson Tide fans know not to expect information including every detail of the scrimmage. The injury status of some players should be updated. Since the scrimmage will be game-like, some stats might be available. No depth chart decisions will be announced until the Monday of game week.