Scrimmage notebook: Saban praises some freshmen, supports upcoming march

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban protests a call during the second half of Alabama's 47-28 victory at Kyle Field Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 in College Station, Texas. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama did not have its full team at the ready for its first preseason scrimmage on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Bryce Young was among those inactive and some that did practice were able to make a name for themselves.

After a scrimmage that featured some game simulation and some situational play, coach Nick Saban named four freshmen in praising their performances through the first two weeks of preseason camp. Two of them could be one of the four new starters in the secondary: Brian Branch and Malachi Moore are both in the mix for early playing time.

“Both have been playing (the) star (position), and they both have shown the potential to be able to play the position and play winning football at the position. It’s certainly a position of need for us,” Saban said. “Patrick Surtain II could obviously play star but he’s so valuable at corner you hate to move him in there, but Marcus Banks and Josh Jobe have both made significant progress at corner.”

Saban identified Drew Sanders and Will Anderson as two freshmen outside linebackers who impressed him. Saban said previously  that one or two freshmen would likely contribute to the rotation at that position.

Return of the Mac

In Young’s absence, Mac Jones was unquestionably the primary quarterback in the scrimmage. Saban said Jones threw three touchdown passes.

“I think Mac did some good things,” Saban said. “I think Mac’s got to play within himself, be confident, be positive, not beat himself up when he makes bad plays. That’s part of the maturity level as a competitor that his game experience is going to help him do, and I think his experiences up to the game will help him do, as well.”

Saban said he expects Young back Monday.

Saban supports march

Alabama's players came together to organize a march protesting racial inequality on Monday, one that was supported by the coaching staff.

“The players have made these choices and decisions about what they want to do and how they want to be heard, and we want to support them because we do support what they want to do,” Saban said. I think they did a really good job of what they did before. We implemented a speaker series of some very prominent people — Condoleezza Rice, Tony Dungy, Stephen A. Smith, Joey Galloway, Charles Barkley — and they all did a phenomenal job of trying to explain to players how we can have a plan for change, how we can make things better in the future.”

The march will start at 4 p.m. at the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility and end at Foster Auditorium.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson