While several teams from power five conferences started their season this past Saturday, the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide have yet to play. They will start their season, like the other SEC teams, on September 26th when they travel to the Missouri Tigers. This past Saturday, the Crimson Tide participated in their final scrimmage before they fully prepare for the Tigers. There were many key areas to look for in the scrimmage at each position. There were even bigger areas to look out for as the Crimson Tide have questions at certain positions. The loss of spring football and the A-Day game made it difficult for the Crimson Tide. Saturday helped solved those questions with their scrimmage. These are the key points taken from Alabama’s final scrimmage.
Alabama’s Final Scrimmage
The passing game looks to still be elite
Alabama made it clear that the loss of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not be the reason their passing game declines. On Saturday, head coach Nick Saban was highly complimentary of the wide receivers, especially of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Alabama expects big plays from their explosive playmakers in their deep-threat receiver in Smith and their dynamic, speedster in Waddle. The Tide had the third-ranked passing offense (342.2 passing yards per game) in the nation last season. Even though Mac Jones threw an interception to safety Daniel Wright, there were reports that Jones threw very well.
Jones came in late October with his first legitimate start against the Arkansas Razorbacks while Tagovailoa was out for a week. Jones started four games for the Tide last season as he threw for 1,503 yards, 14 touchdowns, and three interceptions on 97 completions (out of 141 passing attempts). The Tide have been developing Jones with some pressure and have seen great results. It seemed like his starting job was likely his despite the great performances of freshman Bryce Young. Having both Jones as a typical pro-style quarterback and an explosive dual-threat quarterback in Young will be very sufficient for the Tide in 2020. Expect the race to come down to the final seconds before the game against Missouri for the official starter list.
The star/nickel position is still being evaluated
The star/nickelback position for the Crimson Tide is one of the most dynamic and most complex positions on defense. They haven’t been able to secure a permanent starter for the position for a while. Sophomore cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis was in contention for a little bit before going back to cornerback. Even number one cornerback Patrick Surtain II was in talks of being at the position. Lately, it has been Brian Branch and freshman Malachi Moore contending for the spot. Moore was participating in the scrimmage with the first-team defense at star. This position is important for the Tide to address as they gave up some plays in medium-range last season that killed the Tide’s defense. There will be plenty of time for defensive coordinator Pete Golding to decide on a starter before Alabama faces Missouri.
Running back Trey Sanders and kicker Will Reichard were the stars of the scrimmage
There is a belief that two of the best performances for the Tide in the scrimmage were Sanders and Reichard. The redshirt freshman running back missed all last season with a foot injury. Sanders looks to bring himself into the conversation of contributing running backs this season. He will have to work with preseason Heisman Trophy dark horse running back Najee Harris and flex-back Brian Robinson Jr. throughout the season. Reichard had a difficult season as he dealt with injuries and inconsistencies all last season. In the scrimmage on Saturday, Reichard was 4-for-5 on field goals with his only miss coming from 55-yards. Reichard was rated as one of the top kicking recruits for Alabama in years. Coach Saban and Tide Nation are starving for a solid and dependable kicker this season. They are fully confident with him going into his sophomore season.