Jacob Coker May Have Enjoyed A-Day
Alabama completed spring football practice Saturday with its spring game and it was not pretty. Well, maybe to Jacob Coker. Coker is the quarterback who will be transferring from Florida State after he graduates this spring. He was back-up to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston last year, and based on Saturday's play probably expects to be behind no one in his first season at Bama.
The number one quarterback based on two previous scrimmages had been upcoming senior Blake Sims. Sims did not have a good day and his Crimson team, made up of the first offense and second defense, was defeated by the White (first defense, second offense) by 17-13.
The final numbers put up by Sims were 13 completions in 30 attempts with one touchdown – a too little, too late 55-yard pass-and-run to Chris Black with 55 seconds to play. He also threw two interceptions, one an ill-advised sidearm pass that was picked off by linebacker D.J. Pettway and returned 29 yards for a touchdown, the first score in the game, in the third quarter.
The excitement of the late Sims-to-Black score was somewhat muted when Bama's lone placekicker, Adam Griffith, missed the extra point that would have pulled the Crimson to within three points. That became somewhat meaningful when the Crimson captured an on-sides kick (who knew that was allowed?) and moved down to the White 25 as time expired. But a field goal – even if Griffith could make it – could do no good down by four.
Griffith missed on a 30-yard field goal and a 47-yard attempt was blocked in the first half, but in the third quarter me made good on a 41-yard effort.
The spring game was the 15th and final practice of the spring and the third scrimmage. In other scrimmages, Sims had done very well.
His primary competition, Cooper Bateman, completed 11-24 passes for 156 yards and did not suffer an interception. Bateman had one touchdown pass, a 32-yarder to Ardarius Stewart that ultimately was the deciding score.
Pettway's interception and runback gave the White a 7-0 lead.
The White was generous to the Crimson, too, though with Kenyan Drake fumbling inside the White 10. On two plays, T.J. Yeldon, who was named winner of the Dixie Howell Award as the game's most valuable player, went in for the score. Yeldon finished the game as the leading rusher with 11 carries for 95 yards. Drake had 7 carries for 34 yards – 27 of that on his second carry of the game.
Griffith's 41-yard field goal gave the White a 10-7 lead as the third quarter ended.
Late in the quarter Bateman threw long to Stewart, who out-fought Maurice Smith for the ball and scored a touchdown for a 17-7 White lead with just 2:37 to play.
The final score came with Sims throwing to Black, who made a fine run out of the arms of potential White tacklers and turned the play into a 55-yard touchdown pass.
Black was the leading receiver in the game with three catches for 78 yards. Amari Cooper had three for 45 and Christion Jones three for 22 for the Crimson. Leading receivers for the White were Robert Foster (4-50) and Stewart (2-59).
Alec Morris punted for both teams and averaged 38.5 yards per on 15 kicks.
Top defensive statistics were:
White linebacker Reggie Ragland was in on 10 tackles (5 primary, 5 assist), including being in on three tackles for loss and turning in an interception. Also for the White, linebacker Trey DePriest was in on seven tackles, six of them assists. He was also on a tackle for loss. Cornerback Bradley Sylve, safety Geno Smith, and linebacker Denzel Devall were in on four tackles each for the White, followed by linebacker Xavier Dickson who had three tackles, including a sack, and intercepted a pass.
For the Crimson, linebacker Dillon Lee was in on nine tackles (5 primary), while end Jonathan Allen and cornerback Maurice Smith were in on six each. Linebacker Ryan Anderson was in on four sacks, while Allen was in on two and linebacker Tre Williams one. Williams also had a key fumble recovery that led to a short touchdown. Freshman cornerback Tony Brown had an interception and broke up two passes.
Although there will be summer conditioning programs for the players, the next organized practices will begin in August, leading to the Aug. 30 season-opening game against West Virginia in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
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