University of Alabama

Alabama football notes: Nick Saban says QBs AJ McCarron, Phillip Sims play 'evenly' in preseason's final scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The second and final scrimmage of the preseason was held Saturday afternoon in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Just as in the first version, most statistical information was not provided as it had been in previous seasons.

Coach Nick Saban said there was progress made between the two scrimmages while noting the obvious gap between the first and second teams on both sides of the ball.

The first 55 to 60 plays were set in a game-like situation complete with full substitutions and penalties. After that, the Tide worked on situational drills like operating in the red zone or near the goal line.

Both quarterbacks, AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims, played “evenly,” Saban said while hoping to avoid controversy by keeping the numbers private.

“Again, we’re not going to make this a public debate based on completion percentage or touchdown passes because there’s so many factors that go into it -- who you’re playing against, the guys you’re playing with, the defense totally busts and we throw a touchdown pass so that means something?” Saban said. “We’d like to do it more on how they execute doing things we want them to do and we need them to do.”

Players were not available for interviews following the two-plus hour scrimmage.

The running game was more productive Saturday than it was the previous week, Saban said. Among the few stats released, Eddie Lacy was credited for 57 yards on six carries followed by Trent Richardson’s seven carries for 39 yards.

Improvements on the offensive line made a big difference in that category and others, Saban said.

“I think we had better pass protection today, had a more solid pocket,” Saban said. “I think that’s part of the reason several of the explosive plays we made came off scrambles, aight, which is good.

Defensively, safety Mark Barron totaled six tackles with a sack, three passes broken up and one intercepted. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower has six tackles including one for a loss while Courtney Upshaw and C.J. Mosley each had five tackles.

Injuries:

Three players were held out of action because of injuries including starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio, and defensive lineman Brandon Ivory. A leg contusion is to blame for Kirkpatrick’s absence.

I think to play that position, if you can’t run as fast as you can run, you’re certainly not going to get any better if you can’t run,” Saban said. “He has made improvement. We’re hoping he’ll be back Tuesday.”

Kouandjio was out with a minor leg injury and Ivory has a sprained knee.

A break:

The most intense part of the preseason is now over for the Tide.

The team will get today and Monday away from the practice field before returning Tuesday. Classes begin Wednesday morning, followed by an afternoon practice.

The only previous day without practice came last Sunday following the first scrimmage.

“Typically, we do trying to get the rest and recovery to get them back after what’s been a good fall camp, but a tough fall camp,” Saban said. “That’s the way we want it to be and that’s the way it should be.”

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