Nick Saban: 'Difficult week' but Bryce Young makes plays at Alabama football scrimmage

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football coach Nick Saban said the Crimson Tide had a “difficult week” of heat and adjustment leading up to Saturday’s first scrimmage of the preseason. 

“I mean, today’s a difficult circumstance,” Saban said. “We’ve been practicing every day for all week, and it was a challenge to overcome the adversity relative to the circumstances and the conditions. 

"Some of the older players that are more experienced probably do that a little better than others, but I think it’s a really good learning experience for some of the other guys. We’ve only had two practices in pads.”

Much of the attention leading up to the Sept. 4 season opener against Miami has been focused on sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, the heir apparent to NFL first-round pick Mac Jones.  

“Bryce did a good job today," Saban said. “When he had the opportunities he made plays.”

“I think we have to play well around Bryce,” Saban added. “At times today, I didn’t think maybe we did as good a job as we need to. It’s all 11 guys. It’s the offensive line. It’s the receivers. It’s all 11 guys so that he’ll have more opportunities to make plays.“

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (No. 9) at football practice on Aug. 14, 2021.

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There were no statistics or media viewing at Saturday’s closed practice.

Young reportedly threw three touchdown passes on the day but without context on whether those came against strong defensive competition or in short -yardage drills, among other variables, any numbers are difficult to interpret.

Also, as Saban noted, scrimmage play-calling is devoted more to situational work than game-type attack and that “you can only call the plays you’ve practiced.”

One freshman Saban mentioned was defensive back Terrin Arnold, who reportedly had an interception during the scrimmage.

8/14/21 MFB Practice #9
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9)
Team
Photo by Kent Gidley

“Any time a guy changes position (from safety to cornerback), it's a little bit of a work in progress,” Saban said. “He's a conscientious guy and has made significant improvement so far.”

Saban did not run down a full list of injuries but noted that senior tackle Kendall Randolph suffered a sprained ankle.

There have been some continuity issues with the offensive line in Alabama’s early practices, although Saban has not specified other players who have been out.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt