Intrasquad games like Alabama’s annual A-Day tend to be like water at room temperature — some good plays on one side, some bad plays on another but ultimately an equilibrium, since everyone all plays for the same team.
That doesn’t mean Nick Saban couldn’t reach the boiling point.
The White team defeated the Crimson team 31-17 on a contest that didn’t entirely mean it was a “bad” spring — Saban repeated his assertion that the spring had been “good.” It did seem to rankle the UA coach as much as the sore hip that he discussed afterwards.
“The difference in the game is that the (Crimson) team drops the ball on a third-and-two in the red zone, so that’s four points off the board. Then on the next possession, they drop a ball in two-minute (offense) and the White team takes it in two-minute and scores. That’s like a 10-point swing in the game and it’s an entirely different game because they didn’t execute.
“Also, there were too many turnovers in the game. People have to take care of the ball, I don’t care who is in there. We’ve got to get that fixed…and we have to be able to run the football more effectively than we demonstrated in this game.”
Other than that, the day was interesting if not exhilarating.
The Crimson team opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run by Najee Harris. The White team responded as Will Reichard hit a 43-yard field goal — much to the approval of the thousands in attendance — that cut the margin to 7-3 late in the first quarter.
Joseph Bulovas of the Crimson team had a 34-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but the White team scored on two touchdown passes by Mac Jones — a 29-yarder to tight end Kedrick James and a 22-yarder to redshirt freshman Xavier Williams — to take a 17-10 halftime lead.
The White team continued its onslaught in the third quarter with freshman Taulia Tagovailoa completing a 29-yard dart to Jaylen Waddle for a score. On the ensuing possession, Jaylen Moody intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a score that gave the White team a substantial lead.
The Crimson team managed one fourth-quarter touchdown, a 54-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Jerry Jeudy, two stars still playing late in the contest.
Tua Tagovailoa completed 19 of 37 passes for 265 yards with one interception and one score. White team quarterback Jones was 19 of 23 for 271 yards and two scores, though Saban was quick to mention the difference in “the comp,” with Tagovailoa working against the first defense most of the day.
Brian Robinson Jr. of Tuscaloosa was the game’s leading rusher with 42 yards on 11 carries.
Freshman John Metchie won the Dixie Howell Award as the game’s Most Outstanding Player with five catches for 133 yards.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225