Alabama held its second scrimmage of spring camp Friday as players worked for nearly two hours inside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. While the scrimmage was closed to the media, Nick Saban answered several questions about the team’s performance on the afternoon.
Here are three things we learned.
It was another rough day for Alabama’s offensive line — that is what’s left of it this spring.
After seeing three starters from last year’s unit leave this offseason, Alabama entered camp with starting guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. and backup lineman Pierce Quick sidelined by injuries. Saturday, the Tide was without two more of its linemen as starting tackle Evan Neal had to leave the scrimmage due to injury while backup lineman Javion Cohen sat out with a bone spur. Following the scrimmage, Saban said Cohen should be able to return to practice Tuesday.
Sources at the scrimmage told BamaInsider that the defense shined on the afternoon as it was able to get into the backfield for multiple sacks. Following the scrimmage, Saban said it’s hard to evaluate his offensive line due to the injuries. However, the head coach was able to point out some positives in the unit.
“We did run the ball more effectively today,” Saban said. “And I think we made some explosive plays. But we also had too many negative plays offensively.”
Some of the offensive line’s struggles were caused by the quality of its opposition. Alabama’s defensive front features two of the nation’s top pass rushers in Christopher Allen and Will Anderson Jr., who combined for 15 sacks and 23.5 tackles for a loss last season.
“Look, Will Anderson can rush. Chris Allen can rush,” Saban said. “We’ve probably got more guys that can rush that have more maturity. We’ve got a couple of the young guys that can rush. So, [the offensive line’s] getting challenged which I think is good. We always say when you get to practice against really good guys that really helps your development, helps you self-assess, helps you know what you need to improve on.”
“I think if we got everybody back on the offensive line and we got everybody healthy, I think we would have a pretty good group. But with the guys that are out and moving guys around… I wish it wasn’t that way, but we have to manage the situation and the circumstance that we’re in. And the experience that these guys are getting at multiple positions will benefit them in the long run because we’ll go into next year with more guys being able to play more spots.”
Despite facing plenty of pressure in the pocket all afternoon, quarterback Bryce Young was able to put together another solid performance Saturday. After tossing four touchdowns during the Tide’s first scrimmage last week, the sophomore threw for three more this week, according to sources.