The highs and the lows of the Alabama football A

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The Alabama football first-team defense and the Mac Jones led second-team offense won the A-Day game. Let’s review the highs and the lows.

Let’s talk A-Day specifically instead of reviewing the entire spring for Alabama football. Nick Saban prefers to review the spring in total but for most of us, the A-Day game was all the football we saw this spring.

One reason Nick Saban doesn’t want to narrow down his assessment to just A-Day has to be the lackluster performance by Jalen Hurts. While an injured Tua Tagovailoa watched, Saturday’s A-Day game suggested there will not be much of a QB battle in the fall. Statistically, Mac Jones performed better than Jalen Hurts. Mac looked sharp most of the time. He made quick decisions and some good throws. He did that against the Tide’s second-team defense.

Jalen did not fare so well against the first-team defense. The format of the spring game is not well suited to Jalen’s talents. One-hand touch tags counting as tackles minimized Jalen’s ability to escape pressure and make plays. The Crimson defense racked up seven sacks. The defensive line won most pass protection battles.

The first-team offense running backs only carried the ball 20 times for just 69 yards. Bottom line is Jalen did not get all the help he needed. The game was mostly about passing as the two sides combined for 72 pass attempts. Hurts was 19-for-37 for 195 yards and one interception. Mac Jones was 22-for-35 for 289 yards, with two TD’s and one interception.

Jones was the quicker and more accurate passer by a wide margin. He would not have fared as well against the first-team defense but he looked capable of being a competent QB if the need arises next fall. Based on A-Day, Jalen has not improved over last season. He still resorted to his legs too often and too quickly. Many of his throws were ragged.

Highs and lows for the rest of Alabama football

The expected bulldozer ability of the first-team offensive line was in little evidence. Chalk that up to a high for the first team defensive front-seven. Which means a corresponding low for the first team offensive line.

Damien Harris looked good on his few carries, perhaps even stronger than last season. Najee Harris is a tough man to bring down. With the second-team offense, Brian Robinson looked great, quick, smooth, powerful and good hands. The performance of the three running backs was another high.

Wide receivers Xavian marks and Chadarius Townsend caught TD passes, Townsend’s play was good for 65 yards and he broke at least one tackle before speeding to the goal line. The pair’s performance was another high for wide receiver depth.

Redshirt freshman place-kicker Joseph Bulovas made 5-of-7 field goals. He made from 49, 48, 35, 33 and 26 yards. His two misses were from 43 and 47 yards. Consider that performance an another high. As has so long been the case with Tide FG kickers, there was also a low. His miss for the white team late in the fourth quarter was the kick attempted under the most pressure. The kick would have given the white team the lead with only 3:44 to play.

Count up the highs and the lows and the result was a good spring game for Alabama football. Now the players get a break for a few weeks. The coaches will get an even shorter respite from the daily grind. Fans can focus on the NFL Draft and recruiting for awhile.

The Jalen-Tua and now Mac saga will continue. Some fans will wonder if new QB commit, Taulia Tagovailoa (Lia) can waive his last year of high school and report to Tuscaloosa in time for fall camp. But look on the bright side. Bobby Petrino did not learn anything from the A-Day game.

In a more serious vein, Jalen Huts appeared to play tight on Saturday. The young man undoubtedly feels pressure competing for the starting job. Regrettably, after the A-Day game, the pressure will increase. If he ends up not being the Alabama football starter next fall, we hope he continues to exercise sound judgment going forward.


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