TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If Alabama followers hoped to glean something of worth from the Crimson Tide’s spring recreation on Saturday (as a lot as might be extracted from a glorified scrimmage, anyway), then they want solely have a look at two performs.
The primary got here on the Crimson Crew’s penultimate drive of A-Day. Star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had but to throw a landing on the day. He remedied that when he discovered Jerry Jeudy between defenders for a 54-yard scoring connection, reminding everybody not solely of what this offense can accomplish with the expertise it has, but in addition that this protection should catch as much as the offense in 2019.
The second play was Tagovailoa’s remaining throw of the sport, which was hawked out of the air by cornerback Trevon Diggs. It was one among 4 interceptions the secondary pulled down on the day, the proverbial nail within the coffin because the White Crew prevailed over the Crimson 31-17, and an indication the secondary has made these strides within the spring.
“So the protection was tighter, the tackling was higher,” coach Nick Saban stated. “The whole lot was higher when the 1s had been taking part in towards the 1s.”
There is not any denying Alabama’s protection took a again seat in 2018 because the offense grew to become the focus of the staff. The Tide loved an unprecedented passing assault whereas their protection — which was on no account a weak spot — seemed mortal when in comparison with a few of the nice models Saban has coached in earlier seasons.
That stated, the very fact this secondary may restrict Tagovailoa to 19-of-37 passing for 265 yards, with one landing and one interception — and that it routinely blanketed the gifted trio of Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs — says lots concerning the group. Diggs, Xavier McKinney, Patrick Surtain II, Josh Jobe and Jared Mayden mixed for six move break-ups, an interception and exceptionally tight protection towards one of many prime receiving corps within the nation.
It is a optimistic signal for a bunch whose lasting impression from 2018 was when Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence carved it up for 347 yards and three touchdowns within the School Soccer Playoff championship recreation.
“I assumed they did fairly good,” Tagovailoa stated of the secondary. “They did an incredible job, not falling for lots of issues they did in observe. They had been much more disciplined, they performed as one. So I assumed they did a great job.”
The secondary wasn’t the one place the place the protection excelled Saturday. Inside linebacker Jaylen Moody scored on a 30-yard pick-six. Anfernee Jennings, Eyabi Anoma, Raekwon Davis, Christian Barmore and DJ Dale every had a sack. The Crimson Crew was held to 317 yards, together with simply 13 on the bottom.
That stated, there have been performs that Saban will be sure you level out. The protection gave up huge positive factors to tight ends Miller Forristall and Cameron Latu, a transformed linebacker. Smith caught six passes for 95 yards. Jeudy caught 5 for 104. Ruggs had a couple of drops, together with one that might have gone for a landing.
On the opposite aspect, the Crimson Crew protection struggled to constantly defend towards Mac Jones, who accomplished 19 of 23 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns to 1 interception. His backup, Taulia Tagovailoa, accomplished 6 of 9 passes for 93 yards and an interception but in addition threw a gorgeous landing move to Jaylen Waddle whereas on the run. Freshman receiver John Metchie led all receivers with 133 yards on 5 catches.
So, whereas the protection made performs, it nonetheless has lots to work on because it prepares for the 2019 season.
“We made plenty of progress all through spring,” McKinney stated. “I really feel like there’s plenty of issues to enhance on, which we’ll do after we come again. However as of proper now, we’re fairly pleased with being finished within the spring.”