Alabama football: Nick Saban talks scrimmage

Interested in how things are going for the Alabama Crimson Tide on the football field? Then listen to Alabama’s football coach speak.

VIDEO: Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban talks about the football team’s second scrimmage of Spring Practice

The question most everyone wants answered is “how did the quarterbacks do?” Nick Saban gave a little clue in his remarks. Basically, not bad. As for the defense, it was improved with better tackling on display. The official summary is below. You can find the stats here.

ALABAMA FOOTBALL WRAPS UP SECOND SCRIMMAGE (courtesy of UA)
Darius Hanks had three TD catches while Dont’a Hightower led the defense with 10 tackles.

The Alabama Crimson Tide held the second scrimmage of the spring Saturday afternoon in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The scrimmage lasted just over two hours and started with one period of 7-on-7 before the team moved to 11-on-11 drills that included regular game situations, second and third down situations, red area, coming out and two-minute.

“I was really more pleased today,” said head coach Nick Saban. “I think we made a lot of improvement from last week to this week in terms of our ability to sustain the kind of effort, play with the kind of toughness, had a little bit better execution, a little more consistency, probably made less mental errors.”

The quarterbacks again performed well as A.J. McCarron completed 19-of-40 passes for 255 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Phillip Sims was 19-of-34 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“From a QB standpoint, I thought both guys played well and did good things today,” said Saban. “I think that statistically, it really doesn’t matter much right now because we do so much situations between goal line, red zone. A guy might throw four touchdown passes but if you put the ball on the 18-yard line he can throw two of them then, which means he’s throwing well, but doesn’t necessarily mean they were big plays or whatever. I think the statistics are not indicative of the competition at the position. Both guys are doing a really good job and both guys will be helpful to helping us win.”

Darius Hanks led all receivers with 131 yards on six catches with three touchdowns, including a 68-yarder. Trent Richardson had six catches for 87 yards while DeAndrew White totaled five catches for 85 yards and a score. Marquis Maze added 73 yards on four receptions with one score.

“Trent Richardson really had a good day even though the run statistics don’t really bear it out for him, in terms of 13 carries for 44 yards,” said Saban. “But he did a great job in terms of the passing game, was a real threat for us in so many different ways. I thought he played extremely well today.”

Richardson led the ground game with 44 yards on 13 carries. Dee Hart (13-41), Jalston Fowler (10-23, 2 TD) and Eddie Lacy (8-22, 1 TD) rounded out the rushing leaders.

“All in all, the toughness was better, the tackling was better,” said Saban. “We still threw the ball effectively. Thought we didn’t run it quite as good. But we were playing against each other. That means the other team played a little bit better, and they’re a part of our team, too.”

Dont’a Hightower paced the defense with a scrimmage-high 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss and a sack. Courtney Upshaw and C.J. Mosley each had seven stops with Upshaw contributing a tackle for loss and a sack and Mosley breaking up two passes. Will Lowery picked off a pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.

“Dont’a Hightower showed some leadership out there today,” said Saban. “Probably led the team in tackles. Thought we didn’t have as many sacks today, but there were a lot of pressures. Probably did a better job of making them throw the ball on time. I thought all in all we played a little better.”

The Crimson Tide will return to the practice fields Tuesday afternoon and practice again Thursday before concluding spring drills with A-Day on Saturday.