Several stars were missing, and the stadium was limited to 50 percent capacity. Still, football was back in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday as the Crimson Tide held its annual A-Day game.
The White team featuring the first-team offense came away with a 13-10 victory over the Crimson team which included the first-team defense. Saturday marked the 73rd A-Day game. The White team now holds a 43-29-1 advantage in the series.
Saturday’s scrimmage was a defensive struggle as there was only one offensive touchdown on the afternoon. However, a late drive by Bryce Young and the first-team offense set up a game-winning field goal from Will Reichard, who knocked the ball through the uprights from 19-yards out to give the White team the lead with 1:23 remaining.
Here are some notes from the scrimmage.
Mixed performances from the quarterbacks
With several key defensive players absent from A-Day, the stage was set for Bryce Young and the first-team offense to steal the show. While the sophomore had his moments, his performance was somewhat of a mixed bag as he finished the scrimmage 25 of 44 for 333 yards and a touchdown.
Young hit tight end Cameron Latu for a 59-yard touchdown on the White team’s third drive of the game. The quarterback also showed off his five-star athleticism at times, including once during the opening drive when he juked out defensive lineman Byron Young before finding an open Roydell Williams for a 47-yard gain.
However, there were some moments that Bryce would probably want back. The sophomore nearly threw an interception near his own end zone in the second quarter as freshman linebacker Deonte Lawson broke up a screen pass intended for Keilan Robinson. Later in the quarter, Bryce was stripped by Chris Braswell near his own end zone, allowing Jaylen Moody to recover for a touchdown.
Paul Tyson also had an up-and-down day, completing 18 of 34 passes for 171 yards while failing to lead his offense to the end zone. Walk-on Braxton Barker was 4 of 8 for 74 yards with two interceptions.
Sophomore backs shine
The A-Day game often serves as a showcase for future breakout stars. Saturday, Williams and Jase McClellan became the latest upcoming players to introduce themselves to the Tide faithful.
The pair of sophomore backs both contributed on the ground and through the air. Williams, who played with the first-team offense, finished the afternoon with 43 yards on 12 carries while tallying four receptions for 65 yards. McClellan who played on the second-team offense, recorded 46 yards on 12 carries while tallying seven receptions for 62 yards.
Last weekend, Nick Saban revealed that Williams had the most rushing yards during Alabama’s second scrimmage. According to sources at that scrimmage, the sophomore ran for more than 100 yards.
During his freshman season last year, McClellan led the Tide averaging 10.65 yards per carry while recording 245 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Williams didn’t get much playing time during his freshman season, tallying 19 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown over eight games. Saturday both backs looked like future contributors for the upcoming season.
Young to Latu could be a scoring connection
Alabama knew it had one receiving threat at tight end with Jahleel Billinglsey returning after recording 18 receptions for 287 yards and three touchdowns last season. Now it appears as though the Tide could have another pass-catcher at the position.
Cameron Latu continued his strong spring Saturday, reeling in a pair of receptions for 65 yards, including his long touchdown pass from Bryce. According to sources, the score was the fourth time the two have hooked up for touchdowns this spring as the quarterback hit Latu for two touchdowns in the first scrimmage before finding him for another last weekend.
Latu began his college career as an outside linebacker. After redshirting during his first year in 2018, he made the switch to tight end where he has worked the past two seasons. Latu played in 12 games last season but has yet to record a catch for Alabama during a real game.
“He’s had a really good spring so far, shown a lot of maturity, made a lot of plays,” Saban said following last week’s scrimmage . “He’s a very athletic guy. He’s a good C-area blocker. He’s got a much better command of the offense. I think he’s much more confident. And he’s a really good receiver, he’s got good hands. So we’re really pleased with the progress he’s made.”
This story will be updated