The 2022 Alabama A-Day Game was the first time that the fans saw their team in action since the 2022 CFB Playoff National Championship game. While the team looked to put on a show, mother nature had different plans, with rain and lightning approaching later. Head coach Nick Saban had to rush the scrimmage with no halftime to avoid potential lightning delays. The A-Day Game was a success for many reasons, as it was a representation of how far this Tide team has progressed since the championship loss to their rivals the Georgia Bulldogs. While there are several areas where Alabama looks great, there are other areas where they have serious work going into the early portion of Summer. Here are the five takeaways from the 2022 Alabama A-Day Game going into summer.
What to take away from the 2022 Alabama A-Day Game
Jahmyr Gibb is as good as advertised
Alabama has acquired several high-caliber players from the NCAA Transfer Portal this off-season. One of the biggest is former Georgia Tech running back and 2021 First-Team All-ACC selection in Jahmyr Gibbs. He has been compared to New Orleans Saints dynamic running back Alvin Kamara, so there were high expectations of him this off-season. Gibbs surpassed many of the fans’ expectations through the A-Day game. Gibbs was quick and alert to read the defense and burst for significant plays. He ran the ball nine times for 100 yards, including the 75-yard touchdown. His speed, change of direction, and ability to push for more yards after first contact amazed the fans. Gibbs was named A-Day Game MVP for his solid performance.
Christian Leary adding his name to the hat for the first-string offense
In an off-season where the team needed more pass catchers to stand out, it was good for fans to see another talented playmaker put his name into consideration for a starting role. Sophomore slot receiver Christian Leary was the team’s leading receiver in the Tide’s A-Day Game. Leary caught five receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown for the white team. His touchdown came early in the game on a vertical route thrown by redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe. Leary beat nickelback Malachi Moore with speed for the big 52-yard score. While he lines up as the slot receiver, he has shown he can run versatile routes. This makes him more likely to impact the potentially elite 2022 passing offense.
Defense looks to be back to dominate form
Many fans and former players for Alabama were raving about the defense. The expectations are high with Pete Golding heading into his fourth season as defensive coordinator and coming off an efficient season. The Tide’s defense was essentially unblockable behind some monsters in the pass rush on Saturday. The Tide’s defense, from both sides, accumulated 20 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. Alabama looks to have three pass rushers become elite in College Football as junior Chris Braswell and junior Will Anderson Jr. accumulated two sacks and two tackles for loss. Sophomore Dallas Turner accounted for three sacks and three tackles for loss. They also saw an emergence from junior defensive lineman Jamil Burroughs, who accounted for two sacks. This Alabama pass rush might be the scariest unit in all of College Football this 2022 season.
The offensive line continues to be a huge concern
While the pass rush was strong for Alabama, the offensive line severely underperformed on Saturday. The offensive line problems carry over from the 2021 season, where they frequently experienced inconsistencies. Players are battling left and right for the starting positions, especially at the left tackle position. Tackle/tight end Kendall Randolph struggled to withhold the edge rushers from getting to quarterback Bryce Young. The Tide had several young players test out their potential against elite pass rushers. Some other big concerns are still at the interior offensive line, where Javion Cohen struggled significantly. For the rest of the off-season, Alabama’s goal will need to be devoted to improving the offensive line.
The future looks great under Jalen Milroe or Ty Simpson
The Spring scrimmages are a time for young players/future stars to step up and show their potential. This 2022 Alabama A-Day Game showed that the future is in great hands once Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Young departs for the NFL Draft. Quarterbacks Milroe and early arrival Ty Simpson looked comfortable taking control of the offense. Milroe threw for 11-of-23 completions for 149 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 107.9. Milroe threw very well on a day when rain forced the receivers to drop the ball several times. Fans, who were worried about his lack of arm strength of Milroe, shouldn’t be too concerned after seeing what he can do with the ball. Simpson was not as great passing the ball, but he made great reads of the defense in the pocket and ran for the first downs.