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Jumbo Package: Softball, Jalen Hurts Pass Important Tests

Improvement was the theme of the weekend in Tuscaloosa.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The baseball team had a rough weekend in Oxford, which Roger will have covered for you later today, but the softball team passed a big test:

A key two-run double by Marisa Runyon was the difference-maker in a tightly-contested rubber match Sunday at Rhoads Stadium between Alabama and LSU, with the Crimson Tide coming out on top 4-2 to win the weekend series.

Runyon's two-run double in the bottom of the fifth broke a 2-2 tie and gives her six RBIs in the last five games, earning at least one hit in four of those five games.

This was a huge win for the ladies, who have been a bit uneven of late, that should provide confidence that they can play with anyone come tournament time. Their mettle will be tested further the rest of the way, as every weekend brings a ranked opponent from here on out.

You may have heard that the football team had its first spring scrimmage on Saturday. First, the short highlight reel that was released:

I particularly enjoyed the big hit from Mack Wilson on Damien Harris and the bullet from Hurts to Ridley that split the safeties. Oh, and if you pause it at just the right moment, Najee Harris looks an awful lot like a certain Heisman winner who now plays for the Tennessee Titans as he reaches for the goal line. Najee also did a little hurdling...

...and this was after Aaron Suttles tweeted:

Coming out of high school, Najee was sometimes compared to the likes of Adrian Peterson. Sounds like he’s the real deal.

There were a lot of big plays made in the passing game, Saban said.

Hurts did well, starting with those early touchdown passes to Ridley and Foster. The feedback was also solid for freshmen quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones.

All three quarterbacks did a "fairly good job," Saban said, though stats weren't provided for Tagovailoa or Jones.

This is always a good news/bad news deal since successful passing means that there were holes in pass coverage, but it is great to hear that Hurts looks to have improved in the passing game, and also that people continue to be blown away by Tua. Interestingly, there was a note that Jonah Williams and Matt Womack had swapped sides of the line at times. You’d have to assume that this would have been to accommodate the lefty.

The big surprise of the day was Trevon Diggs playing cornerback:

The experiment is going well, though Saban said Saturday that he hasn't decided whether he's going to leave Diggs at cornerback or move him back to receiver.

"He's much more natural playing at corner than when we tried to play him at safety," Saban said. "That's where he played in high school. (He's) long. He has good toughness. He's a good tackler. Plays the ball well in the deep part of the field and he's done a good job of playing man-to-man. I don't know what we're going to do with him the rest of the spring. We'll probably decide something after the end of this when we look at the scrimmage."

It will be interesting to see if this sticks. One thing is for certain: the coaches are looking for a way to get Diggs on the field. The thought of a punt returner in the secondary with Sixpatrick has to be terrifying for QBs.


Alabama uses its running backs in the passing game this season

Lost in Saban's postgame review of Saturday's scrimmage was a simple line that could very well foreshadow Alabama's offensive attack this season. When addressing the Tide's receiving corps, the head coach mentioned, "the backs had quite a few catches." Given newly hired offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's ties to the New England Patriots, that shouldn't be too much of a surprise. The Patriots have long utilized their running backs in the passing game, often times getting them the ball on swing passes and screens.

You may recall that Bo Scarbrough was seen by some recruiting analysts as a potential WR in college. Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs have both proven capable in the pass game and both freshman backs are said to be solid in this area as well.

As you may imagine, Saban had plenty to say about the scrimmage. You can catch his comments below.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.