Normally just a punter, rising senior JK Scott may pull double or triple duty this fall for Alabama football. In Saturday’s A-Day game, he played the role of punter, place-kicker, and kick-off man. He was called on to make the winning field goal for the Crimson team, and came through with a 30-yarder, and went 3-for-4 on the day.
“I’m not really thinking about a whole lot,” Scott said when asked about his thoughts heading into the decisive boot. “When I take my steps for kicks, I’m just kind of thinking, ‘All right, take this step, line up, get it over, and give (the holder) a nod.’ To be honest, I’m really not thinking anything.”
Scott did a great job on kick-offs, punts, and field goals. On kick-off, he booted two touchbacks. “This year especially, I have for the first time trained on all three,” he said. “My kick-offs have been something I worked on, and will continue to progress over the summer.” He booted several out of the end zone Saturday.
Here we are cleaning out the notebook from conversations following the A-Day Game and concluded spring practice for Alabama football.
The A-Day Commissioner seemed to like what he saw Saturday, especially the end. Well, for the most part, anyway. His players seemed – wisely -- to agree.
Said Tide Coach Nick Saban: “There’s not one part of team where, when I watch the film, I’m going to say ‘I’m satisfied with the way we played today.’”
That’s par for the course.
When the starting defense allowed the last-second field goal drive, it showed there is room for improvement in one Sabanesque important area that cost the Tide dearly last year. Only steak vs. beans was on the line in the A-Day Game, but just as in letting a national championship get away, the first team Alabama defense gave up a long drive, helped along by penalty, to set Scott up for the winning field goal.
“Really, just finishing,” said senior inside linebacker Rashaan Evans, who had six stops and two sacks. “You saw out there, just with the white team itself. We wanted to treat that whole (final drive) situation like the Clemson (loss).
“We came up short, but we went into (the final drive) strong. Finishing is something we need to work at and focus on in the summer.
“I feel like the summer is the most important part of the whole season. The team really kind of builds itself and understands what it’s going to be like when the season starts.”
Evans had high praise for Jack linebacker Terrell Hall, a rising sophomore who had the big pick-six on a screen pass and spent a good bit of time in the White team’s backfield. “He’s got Tim Williams-type ability, I would say,” Said Evans. That’s quite a compliment.
A man who did “Finish” was winning drive leader Jalen Hurts behind center.
“I think we (quarterbacks) competed well this spring, making each other better,” Hurts said. “We’ve got a great (quarterback meeting) room. It’s different for me, because I’m the ‘old guy.’ We’re a team, and I’m all about making each other better.”
Hurts worked all spring on being more of a pocket passer. According to his teammates, that work was not limited to on-field action.
“I think everyone as a group, in both scrimmages and practices, has seen (Hurts) progress,” said sophomore H-back Miller Forristall. “You can look at last year’s film and this year’s film. You just notice a really big difference.
“The guy puts in countless hours, even when we don’t see him. He’s in the film room, even when all the lights are off, he’s still there.”
Several freshmen caught the eyes of fans, coaches, teammates, and media member, like Dixie Howell Award winner Jerry Jeudy.
“You saw him out there today,” said junior safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. “He was making great plays and crazy athletic catches. He was having fun, and he’s definitely proven himself out there. He’s a great player to play against.”
Jeudy finished the game with 134 yards on five grabs with two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick agreed with Saban that the secondary must get better. “We’ve got to get hands on people at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “It’s better to slow (receivers) down than to be chasing somebody who runs a 4.2 or a 4.3 (forty-yard dash).”