Scout Team Gets Praise For Its Job

There were some pretty good players on the defensive side of the ball when Alabama went 14-0 and won the national championship in 2009. Guys like Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain, Marcell Dareus, Mark Barron, Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson held opponents to 11.7 points per game.

So it was something of a surprise when Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, who was a true freshman (and held out) on that 2009 team said that he recalled the scout team offense "killed" the Bama defense in practice that year.

It was a bigger surprise when Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said he remembered it the same way McCarron did.

Saban said, "I'm happy to see when we put guys on the offensive scout team, especially early in their careers, especially when they're freshmen, that they respond and really compete with the idea that, ‘Hey, we're competing against a decent defensive team, so if I can go out here and beat these guys, whether it's running pass routes or throwing the ball or whatever – provide leadership, have fun – improve myself as a player while I'm doing that, that's really going to enhance my opportunities in the future.'

"AJ did that and so did Eddie Lacy. That made our defensive team better. And that's the kind of attitude that you need and the kind of buy-in you need from every player on the team so that whatever their role is, they're contributing in a positive way from Sunday through Friday when you're preparing for games, to help the team win on Saturday. And those guys did that extremely well."

Saban is on record with his appreciation of the job that scout team players do and of the importance of their role in preparing Bama for Saturdays. For the most part, a scout team is made up of freshmen and walk-on players.

Tide players have been asked this week about the scout team, both about working against it and about their days as scout team members. Here are some of their responses:

From quarterback AJ McCarron:

"For going against a defense, Dee Liner does a good job for us. Tim Williams does a really good job for us.

"I'll tell you who I respect more than anybody and I kind of told the team this [Sunday] is the walk-ons. Those guys get no recognition whatsoever, hardly ever get to see the field, and they come out here every day for us and the rest of the team to give us a good look and bust their butts day in and day out, you can't say enough about those guys. And I respect those guys more than anybody, because they really do help our team and help make our team what it is."

From offensive guard Anthony Steen:

"It was a rough beginning when I found out I was going to be on the scout team. I think I went against Terrence Cody a lot and Brandon Deaderick more than anyone else. I went against Marcell Dareus as well, but I went against those two guys the most. I think they really helped me become the player I am now."

From linebacker Trey DePriest:

"Brandon Hill, he does a real good job blocking, he's a big-body guy so he creates a threat for the upfront guys and me and C.J. Mosley because they come off the ball, and Alvin Kamara. Alvin took a real big step in running the ball, too; he's got his head on right now. He's actually running, so he does real well with that."

From wide receiver Kevin Norwood:

"We definitely had good battles when I was on the scout team (with McCarron in 2009). That's when Rolando McClain and Mark Barron and Javier Arenas and all those guys were there, Kareem Jackson. And we were just throwing all over them. We were giving them good looks, now. We were giving them good looks. we were just throwing on them, catching on them. It was fun."

From safety Vinnie Sunseri:

"You learn a lot when you are on the scout team. You learn a lot about what the speed is like and how fast it is and how you have to react in certain situations. When I first came here, I was going up against Trent Richardson, Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks, AJ when he was a quarterback. You get to see how fast the SEC is and see what it will be like in a game situation."

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