Alabama Football: Quantifying A-Day results

April 9, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama head coach Kalen DeBoer coaches his team during
April 9, 2024; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama head coach Kalen DeBoer coaches his team during / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA

Inevitably, Alabama Football fans will overreact massively to the things they see on A-Day on Saturday afternoon. 

While it will be very exciting to see the 2024 iteration of the Crimson Tide with so many new pieces in place, it’s also important to remember that Alabama doesn’t have a game next week. With the regular season still four and a half months away, A-Day is not designed to put a finished product on display. 

Alabama is still implementing new systems on both sides of the ball, neither of which will be perfect. The coaching staff may choose to experiment with different schemes and lineups that we will never see in a real game. The Tide also has several injuries and absences, primarily on offense, that could inhibit its A-Day showing.

Lastly, in the modern era of college athletics, Bama's roster isn't even close to being finalized yet. Summer enrollees such as Ryan Williams have not even arrived on campus, and the spring portal window will certainly include several departures as well as new additions.

For all these reasons and more, Bama fans, opposing fans, and media members alike should refrain from crowning or burying the Tide due to its A-Day performance.

Four factors to watch

1. Freshmen making noise

Alabama has several talented freshmen on campus, a few of which are already competing for starting roles. On A-Day, however, we should see all of the freshmen that are on campus and healthy. How will they perform in their first “game” in front of fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium?

Among the freshmen that haven’t been making headlines as potential starters this spring, running back Daniel Hill and wide receiver Bubba Hampton possess intriguing skill sets and will be fun to watch. 

2. Kane Wommack’s new defense

Kane Wommack’s 4-2-5 ‘Swarm’ defense is much more similar to Coach Saban’s defensive scheme than some realize. Particularly in recent years, Saban’s 3-4 was in its nickel package more often than not in order to match up with opposing spread offenses. 

Fans may be surprised at how smooth the transition is to the 4-2-5. Additionally, Wommack’s simplified approach will allow players to fly around and play instinctive football. Bama’s new DC has emphasized aggressiveness, so it will be fascinating to see how quickly the players have picked up the defense.

3. Jalen Milroe’s adaptation to Kalen DeBoer’s offense

Similarly, Bama will have a new look on the offensive side of the ball. Jalen Milroe should be more featured as a second-year starter now operating in a more QB-friendly offense. 

I expect Milroe to thrive, but A-Day will provide an early opportunity to see just how quickly he has caught on. Of course, the quarterbacks will be non-contact in the A-Day scrimmage, so we won’t see the full skill set of Jalen Milroe (or any of the quarterbacks for that matter).

4. Position battles

Alabama has position battles all over the field, many of which will continue into the fall. Offensive line, wide receiver, Wolf (edge rusher), and cornerback/Husky are among the most riveting competitions to watch on A-Day.

Many of these position battles have true freshmen firmly in the mix, and are spots where Bama may also choose to turn to the transfer portal post-spring.