Following Saturday’s (Aug. 16) scrimmage, which was closed to the media, Nick Saban detailed some of the good and the not-so-good aspects from the Tide’s second, and last, full scrimmage of fall camp.
“I think we had a lot of players who made a significant amount of improvement from last week to this week,” Saban said. “But I also think there were other players who we would hope would have made more progress from where they were a week ago and where they got to today.
“Defensively, there was much better tackling, better hitting. Not as many missed tackles. The second team defense makes too many mental errors. First group played pretty well, except for down on the goal line today.
“Offensively, we never really got a lot rhythm. A couple of drives we got some rhythm. Whether it was a dropped ball, misfired pass, penalty, a lot of shooting ourselves in the foot. Definitely some stuff we can get cleaned up. Definitely stuff that we can fix.
“We did make some explosive plays today. I do think with the skill guys that we have, that’s very, very important.”
Saban was asked specifically about the performance of running back Kenyan Drake, who once again had a good day statistically with three catches for 77 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown reception from Jacob Coker.
“He’s done a good job,” Saban said. “He caught three or four passes today. Had a couple of runs. Kenyan Drake has been doing a really good job.”
Saban was also pleased with the kicking specialists. Placekicker Adam Griffith made three kicks of over 40 yards, including one from 50. Freshman J.K. Scott had a good day punting.
“The specialists were really good today,” Saban said. “Punting was good. Griffith was really good. We punted the ball effectively. The special teams part of it was good. I was encouraged by the specialists and the progress we made on special teams.”

Saban on the QBs
Just like the first scrimmage, no passing stats were released from the second scrimmage. But in his post-scrimmage comments, Nick Saban did offer a hint as to which quarterback, between Blake Sims and Jacob Coker, is playing a little better right now.
“Both guys played an equal number reps with the ones today,” Saban said. “Both guys had their moments doing good things. I also saw inconsistencies with those guys. I do think that Blake probably is playing faster right now. He’s been in the system a little longer. Has a better understanding. Has a little but more rhythm. I think sometimes Jake is still trying to feel his way. He made some real significant strides in practice this week. Had some really good practices. That’s still going to be a competitive situation. Until somebody clearly wins the job, we’re not making a decision.”

OL needs to get more physical
Saban said that the offensive line needed to become more physical.
“I didn’t think we were physical enough on the line of scrimmage today,” he said. “I think that’s something that we’ve got to work on.”
Saban said part of the problem up front was due to the players who were out with injuries.
“Vogler is a very good blocking tight end. He didn’t scrimmage today. He will be full go on a Monday. He probably could’ve scrimmaged today. He got an ankle sprain,” Saban said.
“Leon Brown (foot) probably could’ve scrimmaged today. He practiced for really the first time yesterday. I’m talking about got in there in team and did reps.
“Dominick Jackson and Leon will be back on Tuesday. Dominick Jackson (ankle) is a guy that showed a lot of promise and potential. He will start to do some stuff on Tuesday. May not be ready until later in the week.
“But I think those guys are three pretty significant players when it comes to being physical and helping us be able to run the ball.”

Other players held out of scrimmage
Saban ran through a list of other players who didn’t scrimmage, including safety Geno Smith (knee), who Saban said probably could’ve worked today. Cornerback Eddie Jackson (knee) did not scrimmage. Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (knee) was also held out.
“A’Shawn is getting better,” Saban said. “We expect for him to return to the field probably on Wednesday to be able do a lot of football-related stuff.
“We had no significant injuries. We had some nicks. A guy got a sprained ankle, Shaun Dion Hamilton, but he continued to play. Coop got his knee bruised on the ground. He’ll be fine. Jarran Reed sprained his knee a little bit. He’ll be ready to go on Tuesday.”
Saban added: “I think the good news is that we’ve had a lot of guys miss time in camp, but it’s really provided an opportunity for a lot of other guys to get a lot reps. Marlon and Tony got a lot of reps at corner because Eddie wasn’t out there all the time. Eddie is sort of getting better. Trey was in and out at linebacker with his knee. That gave Reuben, Reggie and Shaun Dion Hamilton, those guys really got a lot of turns. I think it forced them to make calls and do things that they could have depended on somebody else to do had Trey been in there.
“Missing Ivory and Reed and A’Shawn Robinson up front, you could say that coming out of spring that was the starting defensive line. But really that’s given a lot of other guys, Frazier and several other guys, Da’Shawn Hand, a lot of reps and they have improved significantly. Rashaan Evans has gotten a lot of reps, because Tim Williams hasn’t been here. So this has really helped the depth of our team long term.”
Saban said that Shaun Dion Hamilton has made a lot of progress.
“He’s still got a lot to learn,” Saban said, “but for a freshman he’s really done a good job.”

Jones, Sylve doing a good job
Saban was asked how cornerbacks Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve performed in coverage.
“They did a good job,” Saban said. “They didn’t give up a lot of big plays. The two defense gave up a couple of explosive plays. A couple of busted coverages, but a couple of them were really good plays by the offense. But those two guys did a good job. They’re playing a lot better. A lot better knowledge and experience and play with better technique, so they’ve done a really good job.”
* Alabama will open the season on August 30, in Atlanta against West Virginia.



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