Nick Saban on Jermaine Burton, Bryce Young and other takeaways at Alabama football's first spring scrimmage

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

The first name Nick Saban mentioned was Jermaine Burton. 

The Alabama football coach was asked to assess the play of the receivers as a whole Saturday after the first scrimmage of the spring and he immediately talked about Burton. 

"Jermaine Burton did a good job today," Saban said. 

Burton, who transferred from Georgia, is a veteran at a position that lost three veterans in the offseason in Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden. All declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, leaving the Crimson Tide with a significant void. 

There's plenty of time for the position to sort itself out before Alabama faces Utah State to open the season in September, but Saban mentioned a few names who are standing out early at receiver in addition to Burton. 

Jermaine Burton practices at Alabama football's first scrimmage of 2022.

Aaron Anderson, the No. 4 receiver in the 2022 class according to the 247Sports Composite, has already made an impression. Saban said Anderson had a couple big plays in the scrimmage, including a 5-yard catch he took for about 40 yards against the first-team defense. 

"Did a nice job," Saban said. "Really good run after the catch ability." 

MORE ALABAMA FOOTBALL:Evan Neal sends clear message at Alabama football pro day: Watch the tape

OFFENSIVE LINE:What could 2022 Alabama football offensive line look like? What we've learned so far this spring

15 YEARS OF NICK SABAN:Celebrate Nick Saban's 15 epic seasons at Alabama football with our special book!

Ja'Corey Brooks, the Iron Bowl hero who is expected to have a good shot to be a starter in 2022, is out for the spring. That's given opportunities to other returners looking for playing time. 

Saban said Traeshon Holden has been consistent all spring, too. 

"The young guys seem to be getting better and better," Saban said. "JoJo (Earle), (Christian) Leary, Thaiu Jones-Bell, they all seem to at times show a lot of promise in terms of what they can do." 

Here are other positions Saban talked about after the first scrimmage, which was not open to reporters. 

Quarterbacks

Bryce Young, the returning Heisman Trophy winner, had a good day, Saban said. 

He thought the first-team offense moved the ball well for the most part but didn't do as well during the third-down period. 

The backup quarterbacks also got opportunities, and Saban saw positives from both sophomore Jalen Milroe and freshman Ty Simpson. 

"I thought Jalen Milroe has made really consistent strides and he did some good things today," Saban said. "He actually moved the team. We always give the second (quarterback) an opportunity with the first team, and he moved the team down the field pretty effectively. I think he's got a better understanding of what we're doing. He's getting a little more consistent in his ability to execute."

Saban called Simpson a smart guy who works at it and has a lot of upside. 

"Everything's a little fast for him right now," Saban said, "but we're not at all disappointed in the progress he's making."

Running back

Both Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs and Trey Sanders did really well, Saban said. 

"They both had some good runs," Saban said. "We wanted those guys to all carry the ball 10, 12 times." 

Saban said he thought Sanders had 73 yards while Gibbs had about 55. Saban also said freshman Jamarion Miller did a nice job. 

"I think we're running the ball a little better than we were at this time a year ago," Saban said. "Hopefully we can continue to build on that."

Offensive line

Saban didn't discuss much about the offensive line, other than saying three players are out for the spring, one of which is known to be center Darrian Dalcourt. But Saban did not specify the other two. 

"The offensive line, we've got to continue to improve there," Saban said. 

Defensive line

Saban thinks Alabama has young guys who could make a difference on the interior defensive line, but he didn't specify anyone. 

"I don't think it's worthy of mentioning anybody's name right now until they actually prove they can do it on a little more consistent basis," Saban said. "But I think we've got some guys who can do it." 

Edge rushers

Saban praised the group as a whole, specifically mentioning Chris Braswell, Dallas Turner and Will Anderson Jr. 

Anderson didn't take part in the scrimmage, but Saban said that was by design. 

"That gave some other guys a chance to do it," Saban said. "That's an area we've got to work on. I think we've  got guys that can do it, but I think them doing it correctly so that they learn how to push the pocket, especially when you've got good edge rushers, is really important." 

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly