Reporters don’t get to watch Alabama practice, but the statistics bear out Coach Nick Saban’s assessment of the scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 123 of 28 pass attempts for 319 yards for five touchdowns with no interception. His back-up, Blake Sims, was 10-15 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and no interception.
On the receiving end of those passes, Chris Black had 10 catches for 113 yards, Amari Cooiper six receptions for 108 yards and four touchdowns, and Christion Jones five for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Additionally, T.J. Yeldon had 14 rushes for 101 yards and two touchdowns, Derrick Henry 17 carries for 79 yards, and Kenyan Drake 12 rushes for 71 yards.
The scrimmage lasted roughly 140 plays and was just over two hours under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-70s. The Crimson Tide will have Sunday and Monday off before returning for practices on Tuesday and Thursday before A-Day next Saturday. On Monday the team will go to Washington to be congratulated by President Obama for the Crimson Tide’s 15th national championship.
The coach said, “We really wanted to look at this scrimmage as a more game-like situation, really wanted the players to try to define who they wanted to be as a team, what kind of vision they had for what they wanted to do, individually and collectively as a team, what they can accomplish, how we were going to go about it.
“There were some really good things in the scrimmage, probably, mostly, offensively. Thought we really did a good job offensively. AJ had a really good day, we ran the ball effectively, thought the offensive line played pretty well, we had some receivers step up and make some plays, we didn’t have a lot of dropped balls.
“Defensively, we’ve got quite a few guys banged up so we’ve got a lot of new guys in a lot of places. I don’t think we tackled real well and I don’t think we probably played the kind of responsibility football that we need to, so we definitely have a lot of things that we can correct on that side of the ball.”
Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix and linebackers Denzel Devall and Ryan Anderson each had six tackles, while safety Vinnie Sunseri added five stops. Cornerback Deion Belue and Devall both recorded sacks and Sunseri broke up a pass.
Saban said, “I thought our specialists did a pretty good job on special teams in terms of being able to execute. Cody (Mandell) punted the ball fairly well and we had a couple of missed field goals but they were fairly long field goals but made most of what we were supposed to make.
“I think the guys that had good energy and enthusiasm today played really well; some of the guys that maybe didn’t have that showed a little bit. That’s something that we really need to get more consistent at. It seems like one day one side of the ball plays pretty well, the next day the next side plays pretty well. I guess that’s got to be the case when you’re practicing against each other. But, fundamentally, you’d like to see everybody do things the right way, show up in the right place and show the ability to make the plays that we need to make.
“Defensively, I guess it’s good and bad news. We didn’t create any turnovers but the good news is we didn’t turn it over on offense so that’s probably a good thing. But we practiced a lot of different situations out there, which is great exposure for our players. I don’t think anything that happened out there is something that can’t be corrected, I just think the players have to have the right attitude about getting it corrected.”
Alabama’s 2013 A-Day Game is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. CDT inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. There is no admission charge. The A-Day Game will be televised live on ESPN2.