3 Things We Learned From The A-Day Game
Everything that can be expected at an Alabama spring took place on Saturday. Nick Saban showed up in his suit and continuously walked the length of the field to observe his team's progress. Fans came in large numbers, 73,506 to be exact. That is the smallest crowd in the Saban era, but the Crimson Tide still has averaged 83,544 fans since 2007.
The game had its ups and downs. Quarterback completed 13 of 30 passes for 178 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Running back T.J. Teldon rushed 11 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Yeldon took home the MVP award for the third consecutive year. Jonathan Allen and D.J. Pettway shared defensive MVP honors. White defeated Crimson 17-13.
The game was an opportunity for everyone to see how Alabama has developed throughout spring. So what can be taken away from this year's A-Day game?
3. There is a Concern Surrounding the Special Teams
Adam Griffith might be best known for the missed field goal that was returned for a touchdown in last year's Iron Bowl. He did not help his case on Saturday after going 1 of 3 on field goal attempts and added a missed extra point. Quarterback Alec Morris came in as a reserve punter and took care of punting duties in the game. Morris averaged 38.5 yards on 15 punts. Walk on punters Adrian Lamothe and John Pizzitola did not see action. Alabama signee JK Scott will enroll in the fall and will likely be the starting punter this season. Griffith will take care of kicking duties although his consistency will continue to be a concern.
2. The Defensive Line Has Improved
Last season, the Alabama defensive line struggled to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and failed to cause disruption up front. This issue looks like it might have been resolved. Junior college transfers Pettway and Jarran Reed have provided more depth along with A'Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen, Dee Liner, Brandon Ivory, and Dalvin Tomlinson. Players such as Xzavier Dickson and Denzel Deval will provide pressure from defensive end. The group as a whole combined for 24 tackles and stayed in the backfield all afternoon. Defensively, Alabama will be anchored by the defensive line and linebacking corps.
1. There is Plenty of Room For Improvement
Mistakes are expected in any spring game. Players have worked all spring, but have not fully developed. Dropped passes, blown coverage, and missed tackles are just a few things that occurred in the low scoring affair. Throughout the summer and fall these players will begin to develop. Offensively, one must remember that these players have had very few practices under new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Blake Sims did not throw eye popping numbers, but has improved more than it appeared. The battle between him and Jacob Coker will be closely followed and could come down to the wire. The level of talent is at an all time high with players like Yeldon, Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry, O.J. Howard, Christion Jones, DeAndrew White, and Chris Black all returning. This team has the potential to make history in the newly formed College Football Playoff System.