TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team held its first scrimmage of spring practice on Saturday afternoon inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The scrimmage lasted roughly 130 plays and was two hours under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.
“We’re not where we would like to be, and we have a lot of work to do,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said on Saturday. “It all starts with guys being able to sustain the kind of mental intensity that you need to have to be a good football player, especially when things get a little bit tough, it gets a little bit hot and you get a little bit tired. We just don’t have the mental toughness that we need with enough guys to sustain things, pay attention to detail, so that we can execute better as a team.”
Senior quarterback AJ McCarron completed 15-of-28 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns while throwing one interception to C.J. Mosley. He found DeAndrew White a scrimmage-high seven times for 132 yards and two touchdowns – on throws of 43 and five yards. Amari Cooper also added 120 yards receiving on three catches and one score while contributing the longest play of the afternoon on a 71-yard strike from McCarron that did not go for points.
T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake both ran well with Drake leading the way with 85 yards on 11 carries. He broke loose for a 58-yard touchdown run up the middle and averaged 7.7 yards per tote. Yeldon carried 16 times for 63 yards and one score while freshman Derrick Henry ran rushed for 52 yards and added 27 receiving.
“We had some guys that did very well out there,” Saban said. “AJ (McCarron) did a good job, and Blake Sims really did a good job. The runners did a really good job and we had a couple receivers do a good job.”
Senior Tana Patrick led the defense with six tackles while senior cornerback Deion Belue added five stops with a tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Trey DePreist, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Denzel Devall and Landon Collins all contributed four tackles. DePriest, Devall, Ed Stinson and Dillon Lee also had one sack each.
“Defensively, we had some guys play well, but it’s kind of hit and miss right now,” Saban said. “We don’t have enough guys doing the right things the right way all the time. That’s something that we really need to work on.”
It was the eighth practice of the spring for Alabama who returns to the practice field on Monday. The Crimson Tide will then scrimmage again next Saturday.
“This is probably what you would expect in this point in the spring,” Saban said. “It’s a work in progress to try to continue to improve to do the things we need to do and how the players respond to that will determine how quickly we get those things done. That’s the goal, and that’s why you have spring practice.”
Alabama’s 2013 A-Day Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, at 2 p.m. (CDT) inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The A-Day Game is once again free to the public and will be televised live on ESPN2.