TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban’s quote at halftime of Alabama’s A-Day summed up the Crimson Tide’s entire spring game.
Defenses are typically ahead of offense at this time of the year, and that was especially true inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“I always say in the spring game when you don’t score a lot of points, everybody says you’re really bad on offense,” Saban said. “Well, how about you’re maybe pretty good on defense.”
Alabama’s first-team defense was the story of the day as the unit smothered the Crimson Tide’s first-team offense all afternoon. Whether it was the defensive front stuffing the run or the pass rushers not giving the quarterbacks time to throw, or even the defensive backs blanketing the wide receivers, the defense showed once again that it has the potential to be one of the country’s best units once again.
In the end, the White team (second-team offense, first-team defense) made just enough plays to come away with a 7-3 victory over the Crimson squad (first-team offense, second-team defense).
STORYLINES YOU NEED TO KNOW
Harris runs hard: While many people came in expecting to see a big show from Bo Scarbrough, it was the Tide’s other sophomore running back, Damien Harris, who stood out. Harris carried the ball 16 times for 91 yards (5.7 yards per carry) in the first half.
Harris went over the 100-yard mark early in the third quarter, finishing the day with 114 yards on 20 carries. He showed impressive burst and improved vision.
Injury update: Three injured stars were able to participate on Saturday in black jerseys. Wide receiver Robert Foster (shoulder), defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (back spasms) and safety Eddie Jackson (leg) all played the entire afternoon, and showed no signs of being slowed down. Foster had two receptions for 25 yards while Jackson nearly had an interception.
Jonathan Allen (shoulder) and Cam Robinson (shoulder) were not able to play.
Griffith struggles: For the specialists, they must kick and/or punt for both teams. Punter JK Scott had a good day, sending multiple attempts 50 yards or further. But kicker Adam Griffith didn’t have the best afternoon. Griffith missed four of his five field goal attempts, including a miss from 36 yards out. He did, however, make a kick from 21 yards.
Neither side was able to score any points in the opening quarter. Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett moved the White team into the red zone, but a botched snap on third down pushed them back. Kicker Adam Griffith missed a 36-yard field goal attempt to end the drive. Cooper Bateman started the contest at quarterback with the Crimson team (first-team offense) and played the entire first quarter. Barnett and freshman Jalen Hurts split series with the White team (second-team offense).
There were no points scored in the second quarter which left the contest scoreless at the end of the first half. Griffith missed two field goals in the second quarter, making him 0-for-3 in the first half. Alabama’s first-team offense (Crimson team) had very little success against its first-team defense (White team).
Similar to the first half, there was very little offense in the third quarter. Both the first and second team offenses failed to move the ball. Most of the credit should go to the defenses on both teams for how well they played all afternoon.
Cornwell hit a streaking Calvin Ridley for a 33-yard gain which set the Tide up inside the 10-yard line. But the drive would stall from there as the Crimson team was forced to settle for a 21-yard field goal from Griffith to make it 3-0.
The White team would answer as Hurts found Derek Kief for the first touchdown of the afternoon to give the White team a 7-3 lead. The Crimson team drove down the field and moved inside the redzone, but Ronnie Harrison intercepted a pass from Bateman to close out the afternoon.
CRIMSON: 10:55 remaining (Crimson 3, White 0): Griffith hits a 21-yard field goal after the Crimson offense stalls.
WHITE: 2:48 remaining (White 7, Crimson 3): Jalen Hurts finds Derek Kief in the right corner of the end zone for the first touchdown of the day. Griffith made the extra point.
Alabama coach Nick Saban and a few players will speak to reporters after the game. After that, Alabama won’t practice again until fall camp opens in August. The 2016 signees will start reporting to campus in May.