Saturday’s second August scrimmage for the University of Alabama football team was a case of trying to do as much as possible — but not too much.
Working in brutal heat, the Crimson Tide scrimmages for two hours and, including special teams, some 140 plays. While UA head coach Nick Saban supplied no statistical information, he seemed pleased with the offense as it worked in what he described as “a new format” designed to give extra opportunities to development as well as keeping down the inescapable potential for injury.
“The format today was a little bit different,” he said. “We played the first 55 or 56 plays exactly like a game. (We) had the headsets, had the coaches that are going to be in the box in the box. The first offense played against the second defense, first defense played against the second offense. Then we did some situational stuff, which is good on good, which I think is a little more challenging.”
Saban added that “a significant number of players were either held out of the scrimmage or were injured and (we) didn’t want to take a risk. For example, I think four guys in the front seven on defense (DJ Dale, LaBryan Ray, Terrrell Lewis, Dylan Moses) didn’t scrimmage today that we would consider starters. Same thing on the offensive line, we had a couple of guys out today in the offensive line, some of them we held out. We held out (tight end) Miller Forristall. He’s been practicing. We held out (outside linebacker) Terrell Lewis. He’s been practicing. We started a freshman linebacker (Christian Harris) out there in Josh McMillon’s place. So it’s a work in progress.”
The only player who suffered what Saban seemed a significant injury during the scrimmage was backup running back Jerome Ford.
“I would say he may be out a week,” Saban said. “He got an ankle sprain. We don’t think it’s all that bad. Doc thinks it’ll be a week, did an MRI on it and thinks (Ford) is OK.”
Saban seemed pleased with the offense, aside from a couple of turnovers. Although no statistics were released, receivers Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith and running back Brian Robinson scored long touchdowns, according to observers at the well-attended practice.
“I think, offensively, we’re good,” Saban said. “We have more guys that have more experience. The only position we don’t have experience at is tight end. Every other position you point to there’s guys that have a significant amount of playing time, whether they were starters or not.”
Alabama will take Sunday off and return to the practice field on Monday night.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt.