TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama running back Kenyan Drake isn't quite 100 percent coming off of his leg injury last season, but the team still wanted him to be involved.
During the Tide's A-Day spring game, Drake wore a black, non-contact jersey and was only allowed to be tagged by the defense. He carried the ball five times for 13 yards.
Tide coach Nick Saban said Drake has been limited that way all spring, including the Tide's other two scrimmages.
"I think that we're trying to make a business decision on what's best for Kenyan Drake and his future as well as what's best for our team," Saban said. "I don't think he had anything to prove out there today by going out there and getting tackled and us putting him out there in a situation where he'd be a greater risk of injury.
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"He's pretty much full speed, but yet, to be cautious with him, I think is probably smart right now."
Drake didn't have any setbacks, and didn't appear to get his leg rolled up. But there was an occasion or two where Drake likely would have broken a big play if not for the tag rule. The stoppages appeared to irritate Drake as he clearly wanted to continue running. Saban said that's natural.
"If he's a competitor, you would expect him to get frustrated because he wants to compete like everybody else," Saban said. "But I think with a cool head and under normal circumstances, if any of us sat down and had a conversation with him, he's probably pleased with the spring that he had and feels great about the fact that he got a lot of work in and he didn't get exposed a lot.
"He's going to have now a great opportunity for 3-4 months to continue to build on that and he didn't put himself in any great risk of injury."
Inside linebacker competition
Alabama's competition at inside linebacker between Shaun Dion Hamilton and Reuben Foster may not have one true winner.
Saban said Hamilton and Foster have been splitting starting duties. Hamilton is with the first-team defense when the Tide has worked on "regular defense" or it's base defense. Foster comes in when the Tide changes to its nickel package.
"Those two guys have been sort of sharing the spot a little bit like Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosley did early on," Saban said. "But we had to break them up so they had to play both teams today."
Foster played on the Crimson team with the first-team defense while Hamilton played on the White team with the second-team defense.
Asked about Foster, Saban said the rising junior had a "really good spring" and added that he was able to stay healthy throughout. Foster was second on the Crimson team with seven tackles, including one tackle for loss.
"He's got a better understanding of the defense, playing with a lot more maturing and a lot confidence," Saban said. "We're encouraged. But with Reuben we just try to get him to focus everyday on what he needs to get better and we were very pleased with what he was able to accomplish."
Trick play fools no one
It's tough to execute a trick play when the other team knows what is coming. It's even harder when the other team is filled with your teammates who got to see you install the trick play. That's what happened when the first-team offense tried to throw a screen pass to left tackle Cam Robinson on Saturday.
"Because we had to practice Thursday inside, both teams had to put their trick play in on just half of the field," Saban said. "So I don't think it was much of a trick."
Robinson was hit soon after he caught the ball for just a two-yard gain.
"As soon as they lined up in the formation, all of the defensive players started yelling 'Cover Cam, cover Cam,'" Saban said. "So 57 (D.J. Pettway) stands up and covers him on the pass. So there wasn't much of a trick to it because we didn't have any secret operation we could go to because of the weather."
While the play wasn't very successful, it produced a memorable moment in the scrimmage as all of the player ran toward Robinson in an attempt to push the pile.
No serious injuries
While the play on the field wasn't the best, there was some good news to come out of Alabama's A-Day spring game.
"The best news about any spring game is that you get through the game and a lot of players get the opportunity to play and you don't get anybody injured," Saban said. "That's the case today."
Saban announced that running back DeSherrius Flowers, who left the game in the first quarter, suffered a shoulder injury "but it's not a big issue." Flowers took a hit on his lone carry of the game, and was taken to the locker room. He later returned to the sideline with a sling on his left arm.
Along with Flowers, offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor left the game with a knee injury. Saban said it's the same sprained knee Taylor has dealt with all spring.
"It's nothing serious and not surgical," Saban said. "He just needs some time to heal up and rest."
Taylor is competing for one of the starting offensive guard spots while Flowers provides depth at running back.
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.