Alabama’s first scrimmage of fall camp may not have been surprising to coach Nick Saban, but it was still revealing. The Crimson Tide starters mostly played with poise, while many young players showed they still have a ways to go.
“I think that this scrimmage was really pretty much what we thought it would be,” Saban said. “I think the players that have experience, that have played before, really played well. The first teams operated pretty well for the most part. Much better execution with the first defense, first offense, whatever it was.”
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No statistics were available from the scrimmage, which was closed to the public and the media.
Players were put on the field in position to make calls on their own and execute on the fly. That led to mistakes from some players, which were compounded when other players tried to adjust to cover for those errors.
“What happens when you’re not responsible enough to do your job? It creates an issue for somebody else, then they try to make up for what you did, then they can’t do what they’re supposed to do, and you don’t have any team execution,” Saban said. “So it all comes back to every individual having the discipline, the mental toughness, the focus to be able to effectively do their job.”
Inside linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses both played well, Saban said. But other players at that position struggled with missed tackles, missed assignments and other errors.
“It’s not out of a lack of effort or lack of trying,” Saban said. “It’s knowledge, it’s experience, it’s discipline, it’s eye control – looking at the right things. We need for those guys to improve, no doubt.”
There were no questions about the performance of quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. In his opening statement, Saban said the competition between the pair would continue.
“We’re going to evaluate the quarterback situation,” Saban said. “We’re going to keep looking at the guys. What somebody did today or didn’t do today isn’t going to win or lose them the job. It’s going to be the cumulative effect and the consistency that they practice with and play with over time. That’s in fairness to both players, who are really good competitors and really working hard, really doing a good job. We don’t have much more to say than that about that situation.”