Coach Saban’s comments on second scrimmage"> Coach Saban "pleased" with Alabama's improvement
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Coach Saban’s comments on second scrimmage

Stephen M. Smith- Touchdown Alabama Magazine

“Improvement” was all Alabama head coach Nick Saban needed to say, in order for the media to salivate over stats. He didn’t provide much, but Saban did whet their taste buds a little.

Alabama took to Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday for its second fall scrimmage. All hope was geared toward finding a quarterback who could play with urgency, leadership and command.

Coach Saban said there was improvement from the week before where quarterbacks are concerned; however, more precision needs to be developed.

“Our efficiency in the passing game is something that we [Alabama] really emphasize,” Saban said. “We have to eliminate the drops. Make plays when you have the opportunity and quarterbacks have to put the ball on people where they have a chance to catch and run it.”

Overall, Saban said all quarterbacks played well, but he took time to note something special about redshirt junior Alec Morris. Morris enters his fourth season on the team.

“Alec did a good job during the spring, and has done a nice job of understanding the offense,” Saban said. “He helps the other guys play better and he’s probably showing command at the position, which I think is important.”

Saban said he wants the quarterbacks to continuing working on efficiency, touch and accuracy, but he is very pleased with what Morris has done in fall camp.

Sophomore wide receiver ArDarius Stewart logged a solid performance, totaling eight receptions. Saban said Stewart really did a good job of adjusting to the football.

“He made a lot of contested receptions, which is really good to see,” Saban said.

Production at running back is something that Alabama doesn’t over analyze.

Saban said he loves what this team can do in the run game with the backs its has.

“Our goal last week was to have Derrick Henry carry the ball no more than five times,” Saban said. “Today, we had him go six to eight times. Henry had eight, Kenyan Drake had six carries and Damien Harris had 14. That’s about what we wanted to get out of them today.”

Turnovers remain Saban’s focus point on defense. He said Alabama forced a couple of turnovers Saturday, including two for scores, yet he wants more consistency in that area.

Senior cornerback Cyrus Jones is the main return specialist, but Saban wants to work three to four more guys into the rotation. He specifically named Chris Black and Richard Mullaney.

Ex-Alabama safety Landon Collins was exceptional at covering kicks and punts last season. Coach Saban named several players that can be dynamic in securing tackles, including Tony Brown, Bradley Sylve, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Reuben Foster.

Right tackle Dominick Jackson and second-team left tackle Korren Kirven both sustained injuries. Jackson suffered a strained shoulder and could be out for a couple of days.

As for Kirven, Saban said he sprained his knee and it could be an MCL injury.

Kirven could miss up to a week at best, but Saban said “I don’t like to make predictions.”

Alabama will evaluate the footage of each quarterback and deliberate going into its final week of fall practice on Aug. 24. Listed below are the total passes thrown by each signal-caller.

 

Alabama quarterbacks (Total pass attempts)

  • Cooper Bateman- 27
  • Alec Morris- 21
  • Jake Coker- 20+
  • Blake Barnett- 11
  • David Cornwell- N/A

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.

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