Alabama’s season opener against Louisville is two weeks away. That means it’s time for the coaching staff to show the team what a gameday will look like during Alabama’s second and final scrimmage of fall camp.
“This scrimmage this week, I think the biggest difference is try to make it a little more game-like for a significant amount of time with substitution, special teams, try to get the flow of the game so the players get that,” coach Nick Saban said.
The scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium is closed to the public.
The first scrimmage included some pieces that appeared game-like, including putting assistant coaches in the press box, Saban said. Alabama has spent more time working in specific situations during the later parts of practice this week, including two-minute drills, goal line work and other circumstances that could arise.
Many of Alabama’s players have plenty of game experience, particularly on offense. But there are still plenty of others who are in their first year in the program or preparing to take bigger roles this season.
“For a lot of younger guys it’s a big step to what do I have to do to be able to and understand what it takes to be able to play at a consistent basis,” Saban said. “I think that’s the most important thing we get out of this.”
Some of those roles are for backups. Some of them are still for starting jobs.
Saban said after last week’s scrimmage that the competition at quarterback between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa would continue and be decided by the “cumulative effect and the consistency” they showed over time. That’s one battle that hasn’t been decided.
“I don’t expect it to be an easy decision,” Saban said. “We have two guys who are great competitors, who are both really good players. They both have good fall camps, so I don’t expect it to be easy. I want them to continue to compete and work hard and do well. Our coaches are working hard to help each one of those guys to be the best player that they can be, and we’re going to continue to do that. Like I said before, if both guys can contribute to our team, we’ll certainly utilize it the best way we can.”
Saban said on Thursday that the defense still has lapses at times, and every area of the team still has places to improve in one facet or another. Safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Trevon Diggs have played well in a rebuilding secondary, but other roles are still up for grabs.
“Those two guys have been pretty consistent all along,” he said. “Everybody else has been a little up and down, and to me, everybody else’s positions is still, there’s competition at all the rest of the positions. How we fit the guys around those two guys remains to be determined.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.