TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was a rain-soaked day on Saturday for the Alabama football team in its first of two fall-camp scrimmages.
The team worked in Bryant-Denny Stadium in front of only close friends and family in an otherwise closed scrimmage. The Crimson Tide had to take a 40-minute break for lightning and storms, before finishing it out in a torrential downpour.
A drenched Nick Saban took the podium to answer a few questions and released partial stats from the scrimmage, which included some situational work.
Nick Saban is soaked. pic.twitter.com/tsqOne8lp9— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) August 9, 2014
Here are some takeaways, followed by the complete statistics.
All quiet on the quarterback front
As expected, Saban did not release quarterback stats or say much at all in the way of the battle under center. He noted that it would be unfair to judge the quarterbacks considering it poured rain for much of the afternoon.
“I think it would be unfair to either player to really evaluate any kind of passing statistics based on today,” Saban said.
“First of all, you almost have to include the drops, because there were a few drops because of the conditions. I just don’t think it would be fair based on those conditions, to try to make some kind of statistical assessment. That’s not the most important thing to us. I think we have a lot of things that we did very well out there today.”
Saban is right to make that judgement, considering the circumstances. Even if he released stats with that disclaimer, they would only serve to add more fuel to the quarterback-battle fire that Saban is trying to keep under control.
The only other comment he offered up praised and criticized both equally for the same thing:
"I think they both did a lot of good things. I think they both have some things that they wish they had back. And I think they both probably made some choices and decisions that we can improve on. But I also think that both guys showed that they're capable of doing what we need to do with them on offense so that we can be effective with the other players that we have.
We're not pleased or satisfied completely with where they are, but we're not disappointed in the progress that we're making at that position. It was a tough day to operate out there. After the first, I think, series that each team had, we're 40 minutes in the locker room, and then we go out there, and it's raining the whole time. But I thought both guys handled that well too."
The team will scrimmage again next Saturday, but don’t expect any kind of statistics then either, even if it is sunshine and 75 degrees with a cool breeze.
Injury update and a couple of new, but minor ones
The good news is that Alabama escaped relatively injury-free, except for one. The bad news is that it’s a potential starter who will now miss valuable learning time.
JUCO offensive lineman Dominick Jackson sustained a sprained ankle “that might keep him out for a couple of weeks,” according to Saban.
Jackson was expected to come in and compete at right guard, really Alabama’s only question mark right now on the offensive line. The No. 2 JUCO prospect in the 2014 class was getting his feet wet and appeared poised to have a shot at the starting right guard spot.
This injury puts him behind the eight ball now.
Leon Brown, another candidate at right guard, is currently nursing a foot injury. So the pressure is squarely on Alphonse Taylor, a redshirt sophomore who’s been running with the ones at right guard so far in fall camp.
Otherwise, Alabama came out healthy outside of a few nicks and bruises.
Cornerback Eddie Jackson, who is recovering faster than expected from a major knee surgery, did not participate.
“He probably could have scrimmaged today, but that was our choice not to do that,” Saban said. “He's been doing a good job in practice. I don't think that's a position that you can play if you're not 100 percent. And he's certainly making great progress. Can do everything in practice, but I don't think he's ready to go out there and scrimmage football yet.”
Defense catching up
With several injuries on defense, Saban said the unit is taking its lumps.
“Defensively, we have a long way to go,” he said. “I think we missed a lot of tackles. We had a lot of young players that are getting a lot of opportunities because of the players that we have out. We have a lot of defensive players that are out, that if you added them up in the two-deep, that’s quite a few guys.”
While it may be detrimental in the short term, young players are getting more opportunities to contribute and learn from their mistakes. That could pay dividends down the road and helps to build depth early on.
“The good part about that is some of the freshmen players that may be able to help us are getting lots of turns, lots of reps," he said. "It goes with the territory that they make a few more mistakes. But that’s the best learning opportunities that they have. When they make a mistake, they sort of get an opportunity to learn more, grow more and maybe improve as a player more quickly.”
The following stats were provided by a UA spokesman after the scrimmage. They include 11-on-11 work, situational drills, red-zone, goal-line and two-minute drills. Again, no quarterback stats were released.
Kenyan Drake: 6 carries, 88 yards, 1 touchdown
T.J. Yeldon: 4 carries, 35 yards
Tyren Jones: 13 carries, 30 yards, 1 touchdown
Derrick Henry: 6 carries, 23 yards, 1 touchdown
Kenyan Drake: 4 receptions, 65 yards
Robert Foster: 2 receptions, 57 yards
Amari Cooper: 4 catches, 56 yards, 1 touchdown
Christion Jones: 2 catches, 45 yards, 1 touchdown
ArDarius Stewart: 3 catches, 33 yards
Jonathan Allen: 5 tackles, 2 sacks
Dillon Lee: 4 tackles
Da’Shawn Hand: 4 tackles, 1 sack
Reuben Foster: 3 tackles, 1 sack
Reggie Ragland: 3 tackles
Adam Griffith: 4-of-5 on field goals
Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats come from cfbstats.com. All recruiting information comes from 247Sports.
Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.