Was Scrimmage Good? Maybe So, Maybe Not

Alabama Coach Nick Saban didn’t say that the Crimson Tide had a poor scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. But did he give a hint with his take on the adage that “You can’t be good on both sides when you’re playing against yourself.”

Alabama had its second and final closed scrimmage of the spring at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. It lasted a little over two hours and approximately 130 plays.

At the end, Nick Saban said, “When you’re playing against yourself, when one side does good the other side has to do not-so-good. So you don’t really know exactly whether you’re really that good on one side or that bad on the other.

“I think what we need to do here is continue to try to create our identity as a team. I think we’ve done a lot of different things on offense this spring and I really do think we have to establish an identity of what we can do and what we’re going to do.”

Sophomore receiver Robert Foster led the Crimson Tide offense with six catches for 102 yards while Parker Barrineau added four grabs for 81 yards. Raheem Falkins caught 2 passes for 46 yards and tight end O.J. Howard led the way with two touchdowns (4 receptions, 45 yards).

On the ground, Ronnie  Clark and Lawrence Erekosima both gained 29 yards on seven carries and Derrick Henry had six rushes for 24 yards rushing.

Senior lineman Jarran Reed led the defense with five tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and a pass breakup. Junior lineman Dalvin Tomlinson had five stops while freshman safety Ronnie Harrison added four tackles. Linebckers Dillon Lee and Reuben Foster both had three tackles and one interception.

Alabama is not releasing quarterback statistics this spring.

Saban said, “I think that a couple of the skill guys today – Robert Foster who had six catches for over 100 yards, and O.J. Howard had four or five catches – we need to have playmakers on offense. Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry both did a nice job out there. But we need more guys to gain confidence offensively so that we have some playmakers that (sounds like) will be our go-to guys.

“From an offensive line standpoint, I feel like we’re making progress in the offensive line, but I think we have to get our offensive line to think that they’re the reason that our offensive team is going to be successful and be able to do the things we’re going to be capable of doing with the players that we have. I don’t think that they’ve taken ownership of that part of it yet.

“Defensively, I thought we didn’t make as many mistakes in this scrimmage. Still gave up a few big plays, which we have to continue to work on because on a daily basis it seems like when you give up big plays it’s either a mental error or a missed tackle. When we execute together as a group and everybody’s responsible and do their job well, we seem to play pretty well defensively. So that’s something we’re going to have to continue to work on.

“I thought the specialists did a really good job today. I know the stats may not look like it. But we tried, what, two 55-yard field goals? One was wide right this far and the other one was this far short. Griff had a really good day. I thought JK Scott punted the ball really well. I think we made some progress on special teams this spring. Hopefully that’ going to be something we continue to improve on.

“But we’re certainly not satisfied with where we are in certain parts of our team. But I think the biggest part is that everybody’s got to buy in to the attention to detail and mental intensity that it takes to execute and do their job on a more consistent basis because everything happens relative to how we execute it. I think that’s something that more guys have to buy into and we have to get done because to have a good team, that’s what you have to have.

“The team’s got to be important to everybody. We’ve got to be aggressive and attack people. We’re trying to create an identity of being relentless competitors and physical and tough. I think there’s some areas of our team that have played that way this spring and I think there’s other areas of our team that we need to make progress in that area.”

The A-Day Game is next Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m. CDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium. There is no admission charge. The Tide will practice again on Tuesday and Thursday prior to finishing spring practice in the A-Day Game.

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