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STEPHEN’S REPORT (A-Day Edition): Focusing on the Performance of the Players


Cooper Bateman [B-] – Of all the quarterbacks, Cooper Bateman had the strongest performance. He showed good arm strength in the pocket and displayed some mobility in avoiding pressure. Despite his completion percentage (45.8 percent), Bateman did place some passes on target to the receivers. Two of his best throws went to Robert Foster (34 yards) and ArDarius Stewart (32 yards). On one hand, Bateman was able to threat the needle; however he needs more work on accuracy and leading receivers with down field with good passes.

Overall, Bateman finished the game going 11-24 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown for the white team.

Blake Sims [D] – Practice speed is different from game speed. Though practices are closed to the public, A-Day is one in which every fan can see you. Blake Sims struggled with accuracy, decision making and ball placement. Instead of letting the game come to him, Sims forced the issue and tried to play up to the game speed.

Sims didn’t take time to process where to go with the football. He misfired on multiple pass and really looked out of sync in the offense. Of his 30 pass attempts, Sims only looked comfortable on four of them. Regardless of the positive feedback in practice, Sims did not answer the bell Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Overall, Sims finished going 13-30 passing for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the crimson team.

Quarterback Honorable Mentions: Alec Morris, David Cornwell and Parker McLeod.

Alec Morris unarguably had an interesting A-Day to say the least. He spent 95 percent of the game as the punter. As a quarterback, Morris had seven pass attempts. He went  3-7 passing for 9 yards and an interception. Morris totaled 15 punts with a 38.4 yard average. Five of his 15 punts pinned the opposition inside the 20-yard line.

Both David Cornwell and Parker McLeod played one series Saturday. Both guys put in one pass attempt.  McLeod’s pass was intercepted by Reggie Ragland, while Cornwell loss grip of the football and his pass fell incomplete.

Running Backs: Crimson (TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry), White (Kenyan Drake, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones)

TJ Yeldon [A] – TJ Yeldon got the bulk of the carries and made the most out of it. He displayed speed, power and used his vision in the hole. He did a great job of following behind the offensive line and scored the crimson team’s first touchdown of the game. Yeldon secured the football well and finished the game recording 11 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. For his performance, Yeldon earned his third straight Dixie Howell Award (MVP).

Kenyan Drake [B] – With his speed, Kenyan Drake provides the great contrast from Yeldon and Derrick Henry; however, he did show toughness Saturday. Drake started the game with an edge to him. He ripped off a 28-yard run, in which fans saw his speed and ability to carry defenders with him. On one possession, Reuben Foster met Drake head on in the hole. Despite good defense from Foster, Drake puts in a second effort and pick up a first down on third and short. Unlike Yeldon, Drake fumbled the ball at the 12-yard line. The fumble opened the door for the crimson to tie the game at seven going into halftime. Drake has to secure the football better if he wants Nick Saban to put him in the game.

Honorable Mention Running Backs: Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones

Alabama fans didn’t see a lot from Derrick Henry in his first spring game. He had 8 carries for 24 yards. He demonstrated power in the hole and was able to bounce to the outside on a few runs. Henry broke some tackles, but Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin didn’t unveil much of the playbook in the exhibition.

Both Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones got worked in Saturday. Tenpenny put in 10 carries for 20 yards and Jones had 8 carries for 24 yards.

Wide Receivers: Crimson (Amari Cooper, Christion Jones, Chris Black, Cam Sims, O.J. Howard and Brian Vogler), White (Robert Foster, Raheem Falkins, ArDarius Stewart and Parker Barrineau)

Chris Black [A] – Amari Cooper and Christion Jones are the veterans of the group, but Chris Black showed out on A-Day. Black’s route running was smooth and he was able to create separation downfield. He displayed speed and did fine job catching the football. Black had three receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown came late in the fourth quarter and helped the crimson pull within four of the white 17-13.

Amari Cooper [B] – Cooper wasn’t targeted much Saturday; however, the passes were either underthrown or overthrown when he was. He made one good reception in the middle of the field and got sandwiched by two defensive backs. Cooper had three receptions for 45 yards.

Honorable Mention Wide Receivers: Robert Foster, ArDarius Stewart, Raheem Falkins and Parker Barrineau.

Robert Foster excelled Saturday. He was Cooper Bateman’s primary receiver throughout the game. Foster totaled four receptions for 50 yards. He did a good job of catching the ball and maintained his balance along the sidelines. Foster showed speed and toughness at the line of scrimmage; he also used his body to help shield the ball away from defenders.

ArDarius Stewart is going to be special in the future. The freshman receiver had two catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. One of Stewart’s receptions went for 27-yards. On the play, Bateman’s pass was slightly in front of Stewart. Stewart tips the ball away from the defensive back and then regains his focus to catch the ball himself. His touchdown reception was 32 yards. Stewart showed great body control on the left side of the field and was able to make the reception.

Both Raheem Falkins and Parker Barrineau contributed Saturday. Falkins had two catches for 28 yards and Barrineau caught a couple of passes in the middle of the field. Like Cooper, Christion Jones wasn’t targeted much. He totaled three catches for 22 yards.

Defensive Line

Jonathan Allen [A+] – Allen led all defensive linemen with six tackles Saturday. He did a great job of exploding off the ball and generating pressure. Allen led both defensive lines with two sacks and did a good at stopping the run. He also blocked one of Adam Griffith’s field goals.

Alabama’s defensive line as a whole played well. The men in trenches really wreaked havoc on the quarterbacks and running game. Both defensive lines kept explosive plays to a minimum and neither offense totaled 300 yards.

Linebackers: White (Reggie Ragland, Trey DePriest, Denzel Devall, Xzavier Dickson and D.J. Pettway), Crimson (Dillon Lee, Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster and Walker Jones)

Reggie Ragland [A+] – Reggie Ragland covered ground Saturday. He led all linebackers with 10 tackles. He put in 2.5 tackles for loss and did a fine job of tackling in space. He recorded one interception and one pass breakup.

Trey DePriest [A] – Like Ragland, DePriest did a great job getting to the ball and tackling in space. He recorded seven tackles and got everyone on defense prepared to defend plays.

Dillon Lee [A] – Lee showed up to A-Day sober and ready to grind hard. He tied for first in solo tackles with five and led the crimson team with nine tackles.

Xzavier Dickson and D.J. Pettway did well against the run, but both excelled in playing the passing lanes. Both players recorded an interception. Pettway had a 29-yard interception returned for a touchdown.

Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster and Walker Jones put in nice performances as well. Anderson recorded four tackles and three sacks. Foster had two tackles for loss and Jones recorded four tackles.

Special Teams: Adam Griffith (Both teams)

The bad news is Alabama’s kicking game is still unstable. The good news is the Tide has the rest of the offseason work on consistency in this aspect. Adam Griffith missed a 30-yard field goal and had his 47-yard attempt blocked by Jonathan Allen. He connected from 41 yards to end the third quarter.

In order for Alabama to be a championship team, all aspects of the game must come together. Every player on the team has to buy into Saban’s process if the Tide wants another crystal ball.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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