Alabama held its final scrimmage of fall camp yesterday. It was closed to media but open to Red Elephant Club members, and Saban addressed the media afterward. Saban said that they did things a little differently in this one, playing the “first 55 or 56 plays” as a true game situation, with coaches in the pressbox who plan to be there against Duke and the same for those on the sideline. I will embed Saban’s full press conference at the bottom, but here are the key takeaways:
- The buzz of the day surrounded true freshman LB Christian Harris, who apparently has come out of nowhere as a summer enrollee to pass up everyone at Will. Saban even mentioned him in the same breath as some recent Alabama greats who managed to play the position immediately on arrival. Keep an eye on him.
- The starting offensive line remained unchanged. From left to right, it was Alex Leatherwood, Evan Neal, Landon Dickerson, Emil Ekiyor, and Jedrick Wills. It sounds like this group pretty well stunted an undermanned pass rush as both Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings were held out for precautionary reasons. It should also be noted that Chris Owens lined up with the first team at center in the pre-scrimmage walkthrough and then didn’t scrimmage at all, so it’s tough to tell whether Dickerson is leading or simply filling in.
- With Jennings and Lewis out, Christopher Allen and King Mwikuta had the bulk of the reps at OLB. Saban said that both were able to have some success. Needless to say, they won’t be facing potential first round bookends very often.
- Tua Tagovailoa hit Jerry Jeudy for an 80-yard touchdown on the second or third play of the scrimmage. Saban used the word “great” in reference to the offense, though he thought they could take care of the ball better. Tua was under center significantly more than we have seen in the past.
- Saban said that Mac Jones is way ahead of both freshman competitors for the backup job. Jones got some reps with the first team and apparently pleased the head man.
- Miller Forristall was also held out, and Saban doesn’t seem too happy with the tight end group. Several who attended mentioned Cameron Latu as the best receiver of the group.
- The only injury of note was Jerome Ford’s ankle sprain, and he isn’t expected to miss much time. That is welcome news.
That pretty much wraps it up. Saban says that while the team is not yet where it needs to be, he is pleased with the work ethic and progress between scrimmages. The team will review film and work on some cleanup before starting Duke preparation toward the end of the week. It’s almost here, everyone.