Saban not impressed with first scrimmage


Charlie Potter

Alabama head coach Nick Saban was less than pleased with his team’s overall performance in its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.

While not specifically pointing fingers at any individual, Saban made it clear the Crimson Tide needed to improve.

“We’re not where we’d like to be,” Saban said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a lot of work to do with a lot of guys.”

Saban said his team lacked a mental toughness as the scrimmage progressed.

“It all starts with guys being able to sustain mental intensity that you need to have to be a good football player, especially when things get a little bit tough, get a little bit hot; you get a little bit tired.”

The situational scrimmage came after only three practices since spring break, and Saban said some players did not properly use their time off from football.

“If everybody would have done what they were supposed to do over spring break, I don’t think we would have some of the issues that we have right now,” Saban said. “I’m not necessarily pleased with enough guys.”

But Saban was quick to praise the play of a few players.

“We had some guys that played very very well out there,” Saban said. “AJ [McCarron] did a good job. Blake Sims really did a good job out there.”

McCarron completed 15-of-28 of his passes for 291 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Sims, who saw some playing time with the first team offense, threw for 129 yards on 13-of-19 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

Kenyan Drake led all rushers with 11 carries for 85 yards and one touchdown. T.J. Yeldon carried the ball 16 times for 63 yards and one score. Early enrollee Derrick Henry accumulated 52 yards on 12 carries.

DeAndrew White led the receivers with seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Amari Cooper caught three passes for 120 yards and one score.

Defensively, Tana Patrick led Alabama with six tackles. Deion Belue made five tackles, one tackle for loss and broke up one pass. Trey DePriest recorded four tackles, one sack and two interceptions. HaHa Clinton-Dix tallied four tackles and one interception.

“It’s kind of hit or miss right now.” Saban said. “We don’t have enough guys doing the right things the right way all the time, and that’s something that we really need to work on.”

Scrimmage Notes:

•Arie Kouandjio, Austin Shepherd and Brian Vogler worked with the first team offensive line unit. Kouandjio was spotted at left guard, beside his younger brother Cyrus, and Shepherd saw action at right tackle.

•Linebacker Xzavier Dickson worked with the outside linebackers instead of the defensive ends for the first time this spring.

•Wide receiver Christion Jones practiced with both the defensive backs and receivers before the scrimmage began. Cyrus Jones and Dee Hart remained with the defensive backs.

•Injured players, Kevin Norwood and John Fulton, walked the bleachers during the scrimmage. Both players are recovering from toe injuries.

•C.J. Mosley, DeAndrew White, Jalston Fowler and Dee Hart donned black, no-contact jerseys.

•The Tide practiced in front of a small crowd of Red Elephant Club members. The observers were not allowed to take photographs or record video during the scrimmage.