Alabama head coach Nick Saban chose not to release stats, despite totaling 110 plays in a two-hour span in Saturday’s scrimmage. Weather conditions were durable with temperatures in the mid-80s and light rain; however, Saban’s demeanor was animated when it came to quarterbacks.
Saban’s comments on the quarterback competition
“From a quarterback standpoint, I can’t really say that one guy did better than another,” Saban said. “I think all did some good things and I think all did some things that were not so well.”
“I would love to see one of these guys take the bull by the horns and play with a sense of urgency that affects everybody else and shows the leadership and command that our team needs.”
“I don’t think we need to have a quarterback that has to win the game. I think that if we can have someone who can play well enough, make good choices and decision, and not make the major errors that would affect the game. Just keep us in the game and I think we have a chance.”
Coach Saban ended all quarterback conversations with “I can’t make it happen. I can’t force it.”
Saban’s comments on Alabama’s defense
“The defense, as a group, is probably a little bit ahead of the offense, which is not unusual in terms of their ability to execute and do their job,” Saban said. “The defense, having a little more experience, certainly helps especially early on.”
Saban said Alabama’s secondary forced several interceptions, and having Geno Smith and Eddie Jackson makes the defensive backfield more athletic.
If Alabama has one freshman that could see time this season on defense, it would be cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. Saban and his staff have been very impressed with him.
“Minkah has done a really, really good job in the secondary,” Saban said.
Saban’s comments on running backs
“I really didn’t want to see anything from the running backs today,” Saban said.
Saban said the team wanted to get junior running back Derrick Henry six carries; however, he did shine a light on true freshman Damien Harris and redshirt freshman Ronnie Clark.
“Damien did some good things today. Saw some production. I think he’s learned how to be a college football player,” Saban said. “The same goes for Ronnie [Clark].”
Alabama’s injury update
Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Black and senior running back Kenyan Drake were among a few players that didn’t scrimmage. Black is still nursing an ankle injury and Drake strained his hamstring during Friday’s practice. Saban said Drake’s injury isn’t too serious.
Sophomore wide receiver Robert Foster sprained his knee toward the end of the scrimmage. Coach Saban didn’t go into detail about the severity of it.
Saban’s final thoughts
For Saban, Saturday’s scrimmage was good, but not great.
“I was certainly pleased with a lot of the effort we had here today,” Saban said.
“Our guys competed well. There was some really good, physical play with big hitting. The execution, for a first scrimmage, was probably okay but not where it needs to be. Certainly, we have a lot of things that we need to work on.”
- Alabama football will have its second fall scrimmage on Sat. Aug. 22.
- It will continue with two-a-days Monday morning at 9:30 am CT
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.