August football practice, which has only been going on for a little over a week, continues to be a war of attrition for the University of Alabama football team.
Saturday’s scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the first of the 2018 season preparation, went well, according to head coach Nick Saban. But Saban confirmed a significant injury requiring surgery for freshman running back Trey Sanders and reported a knee injury to senior inside linebacker Josh McMillon that will require further evaluation.
“We had some guys that didn’t go today,” Saban said following the two-hour scrimmage. “Dylan (Moses, a returning starter at inside linebacker), we just held him out. He’ll probably be back on Monday (so) no big deal with him. DJ Dale (freshman defensive tackle) has a sprained knee. He’ll probably be back probably in a week or so. Probably the guy that is most concerning that they have to do some research on is Joshua McMillon today with a potential knee injury. So, we’ll have to see what that is.
“Trey Sanders did not scrimmage today because he has a foot injury that will require surgery. Miller Forristall (a contender at tight end who was injured in the summer) is starting to work. We did not scrimmage him today, but he is doing some things in practice. And we expect (defensive end) LaBryan Ray to return to practice and start doing some of those things here in the very near future.”
In the absence of Ray and Dale on the defensive line, junior Phidarian Mathis and true freshman Justin Egboigbe worked alongside All-SEC candidate Raekwon Davis. Sophomores Shane Lee and Markail Benton saw linebacker reps in the absence of Moses and McMillon.
The scrimmage was structured with the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense, the No. 2 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and the No. 3 offense vs. the No. 3 defense. That gave ample opportunity to starting quarterback Tua Tagolvailoa and running backs Najee Harris and Brian Robinson with the first unit but also allowed significant reps for second team offensive players, including two that were singled out by Saban.
“I thought Mac (Jones, the backup quarterback) played well today,” Saban said. “He had a really good today. He had a high completion percentage, threw for some big plays, really did a good job throwing it against the first defense. I thought he did a nice job.
“Jerome Ford (redshirt freshman running back working against the first defense) ran well. He was probably the leading rusher, probably carried it more than anybody else.”
Saban also noted true freshman kicker Will Reichard, who made four field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder.
“Will was really good on field goals,” Saban said. “It was really encouraging.”
After an off-day on Sunday, Alabama will resume practice for the August 31 season opener against Duke on Monday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt