SCRIMMAGE NUMBER 2 // NICK SABAN SEES IMPROVEMENT

Nick Saban said that all of the quarterbacks got some opportunities on Saturday, noting that Cooper Bateman threw 27 passes, Jake Coker 26, Alec Morris 21 and Blake Barnett 11. He said that Coker did a “decent job,” considering he’d missed some practice time this week with a toe injury.
Then he was asked about Alec Morris.
“Alec has done a nice job,” Saban said. “I think he does a really good job understanding the offense.
“He helps the other players play better. I think he has probably shown command at the position, which I think is important.
“(He’s) got to continue to work on touch, accuracy, efficiency, but we’re really pleased with what Alec has done in camp.”

QUARTERBACK WORKLOAD
Asked how the quarterback workload was broken down between the first, second and third units, Saban said, “It’s really complicated. It’s important to me. It’s important to us. But it’s not a plan to be put out for speculation. They all got turns.”
Saban added that efficiency in the passing game needed to improve.
“Eliminate the drops, make plays when you have the opportunity, quarterbacks put the ball in a place where you have a chance to catch and run it,” Saban said. “So just a little more precision we need to develop. There was improvement from the week before. But I think we need a little more precision in that area.”
“I thought (wide receiver) ArDarius Stewart had a really good day today,” Saban said. “He had eight catches. He made some really good catches, adjusted to the ball well, made some contested plays, which was great to see.

UPDATE ON RUNNING GAME
“I like the running backs and I like the things we can do in the running game (and) the backs that we have. Obviously that’s not something we really emphasize in the scrimmage.”
“It was our goal today that (Derrick Henry) get six to eight (carries),” Saban said. “He had eight and Kenyan Drake had six. Damien Harris had 14. So that’s about what we wanted to get out of it. We didn’t want to get them banged.
“We wanted Kenyan Drake to get hit. He hadn’t been hit since the Ole Miss game, so he scrimmaged today quite a bit.”

RAGLAND LOOKS GOOD
“Defensively, Reggie Ragland has had a really good camp,” Saban said. “I thought he did a nice job out there today. Reuben (Foster) has had a nice camp and did a good job out there today.
“J.K. Scott had a really good day punting the ball. Griff (Adam Griffith) made a 53 (or) 52-yard field goal, which was really encouraging. He missed a 52-yarder.”
Saban said that overall there was “a lot of improvement” from the first to second scrimmage.
“It was tough. Took a lot of mental toughness to grind through the conditions that we were in,” Saban said.
“I thought at the beginning of the scrimmage, the two first teams didn’t sort of dominate like you’d want them to, because the first 55 plays or so were sort of like a game, play whatever situation comes up, whatever play comes up. But then as the scrimmage moved on, I think the first teams played a little better, tackled a little better. Defense had a couple of turnovers. We’d like to get more turnovers, but two for scores, which when you’re playing against yourself, you don’t like that you didn’t take care of the ball.”

SABAN ON SCRIMMAGE INJURIES
“The only two guys that I feel, injury-wise, (right tackle) Dominick Jackson strained his shoulder. He may be out a couple of days. (Backup right tackle) Korren Kirven got a sprained knee, and we think it’s an MCL, which Robert Foster had an MCL last week and he didn’t miss any time.”

SPECIAL TEAMS
Saban was asked about the punt return spot.
“Cyrus (Jones) has done it before and has done a really nice job in the spring and fall,” Saban said. “He’s got really good judgment and really good hands. He’s fast and explosive.
“After that, we’re looking at three or four guys to be backups. Probably Chris Black, one of those guys who has done some of that in the past. (Richard) Mullaney is a very sure-handed guy, so we feel good about that part of it.”
As for special teams cover guys, Saban mentioned several.
“Tony Brown, Bradley Sylve, Minkah (Fitzpatrick) has turned out to be a really good special teams player. Robert Foster has done a really good job on special teams. Shaun Dion (Hamilton) has always been a really good special teams player. Dillon Lee. We’ve got kind of a group that has got some experience. Obviously it’s important for us to get a lot of people involved on special teams, so we don’t have to play starters and I think it’s good for team morale that you have a lot guys that have roles. Shawn Burgess-Becker has done a nice job on special teams so far.”

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