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Looking forward: Alabama set for scrimmage Saturday

Matthew Emmons- USA Today

With spring practice underway, the Crimson Tide get ready to take the field Saturday for an intra squad scrimmage.

Let’s highlight some of the key things to look forward to as the offense and defense square off this weekend.


First and foremost, Saturday’s scrimmage will shed very little light on who will be the starter for next. Nick Saban most likely will avoid major questions on the quarterback battle.

So far, all quarterbacks have looked strong in spring practices. This is mostly due to the fact that they have just been throwing standard passes to uncovered wide receivers.

It will be interesting to see how the quarterbacks will perform for the first time this spring against a defense. In my  opinion, Blake Barnett should be considered the front runner for the starting spot. Hopefully all his off-field work with quarterback guru George Whitfield will pay off, and he’ll display his full skill set on Saturday.

True freshman Jalen Hurts will get to step on to the field Saturday in Bryant Denny, and show us what he brings to the table. He has experience scrimmaging against Alabama’s defense, serving as a simulation quarterback during the Tide’s preparation for Clemson in the National Championship game.

Hurts is incredibly gifted, both in the passing and running game. In terms of physical stature, he is the smallest quarterback on the roster. It will be interesting to see how he commands the offense during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Running backs 

Saturday’s scrimmage should serve as proving ground for running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough. Over the years, Nick Saban has had a plethora of rushers who were able to come in at any point in a game and dominate.

This year, the depth at the running back position is uncertain. There was a large amount of hype surrounding Tuscaloosa native Bo Scarborough, however that hype train slowed down after putting together a limited body of work in 2015.

Damien Harris got a taste of playing in the SEC as a true freshman, backing up Derrick Henry. At times the Kentucky native looked like he had trouble transitioning from the high school game to collegiate level play.

Hopefully, Saturday will help fans and media get a better grasp on who will attempt to replace Heisman winner Derrick Henry.

Offensive/Defensive Line

Nick Saban said that he is more concerned with the defensive -who loses NFL draft prospects A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, and D.J. Pettway-  than he is with the offensive line.

Da’Ron Payne and D’Shawn Hand look to anchor the d-line, while Ross Pierschbacher has been attempting to shift to center to replace Ryan Kelly, who also is headed to the NFL.

Cam Robinson , who Nick Saban referred to as an “Alpha Dog”, has sat out of spring practice. He is recovering from a shoulder surgery. Central High School graduate, and Tuscaloosa native, Lester Cotton has been getting reps at left tackle. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the team scrimmage.

Right tackle will also be a position to watch, as offensive line coach Mario Cristobal will look to find a replacement for graduated senior Dominick Jackson.


Saturday’s scrimmage will help us paint a better picture at the team Nick Saban is trying to construct to repeat his 2015 squad’s success. It’s not an easy task, but if any one can do it, it’s Saban.

Follow me on twitter: @blainbradley1 for updates on Saturdy’s scrimmage

As always, Roll Tide.


Blain Bradley is a contributor for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “Follow” him on Twitter, via @blainbradley1 or “like” him on Facebook

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