All eyes were supposed to be on the improvements returning starting quarterback Jalen Hurts made and the debut of the guy competing to back him up, freshman Tua Tagovailoa.

Alabama’s wide receivers had other plans in mind as they used batted passes, some exciting looking but ultimately ineffective trick plays and superior speed to torch both of Alabama’s defenses for a total of 661 yards and five touchdowns in Saturday’s A-Day.

“Well what I saw is we’re playing against each other so every time we completed one (deep) I was happy for the guy that completed it, and I was saying why did the defensive guy let him complete it,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So I guess to answer your question since we were playing against each other I guess I had mixed emotions.”

Crimson wide receiver Robert Foster (1) catches a long pass behind White defensive back Trevon Diggs during Alabama’s annual A Day game in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday April 22, 2017. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Ultimately the Crimson team prevailed, securing the 27-24 victory, thanks in large part to the performance of wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Robert Foster, who both finished with one touchdown with 102 and 115 receiving yards, respectively.

After the game Saban went out of his way to praise Ridley as a special player at the position, but his performance in the scrimmage didn’t catch anyone by surprise. His teammate Foster’s game however just might have.

Foster, one of two MVPs from the 2015 edition of A-Day, saw his career take a turn for the worse when an injury against Ole Miss during the 2015 campaign ended his season early.

“Rob’s back, he’s got a really good attitude about everything, and he’s playing really well,” tight end Forristall said. “I mean he’s an athletic freak.”

Foster’s pair of receptions (of 50 and 65 yards) were the only plays the redshirt senior needed to make to remind fans why what he was capable of two years ago.

“He’s a guy that’s battled through injuries and now he’s come here and it’s his time and he’s playing really well,” Forristall said.

The White offense was also powered by a pair of wide receivers on Saturday as freshman, and A-Day MVP, Jerry Jeudy finished the day with five receptions for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns while sophomore T.J. Simmons caught a game-high six passes for 82 yards and one score.

The receivers’ day also managed to upstage the debut of freshman running back Najee Harris, who saw significant time due to the absences of Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and B.J. Emmons.

Najee Harris carried the ball a game-high 17 times for 70 yards while also recording three catches for an additional 37 yards on the White team. Fellow backs sophomore Josh Jacobs and freshman Brian Robinson each carried the ball seven times for the Crimson team to finish with 28 and 21 yards, respectively.

“I think it (competition) will make them all better (running backs) and I think it’s good to have that kind of depth at that position,” Saban said. “And there may be a couple of those guys that we try to create some kind of role for so they can contribute in a way that’s going to help the team.”