Alabama Football: Running game inconsistent in first scrimmage

Tide holds first scrimmage of Fall Camp

Alabama’s running game was inconsistent during the football team’s first scrimmage of Fall Camp.

“We were not able to run the ball today effectively or with any kind of consistency which I think is a real key for us,” Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said.

Saban pointed to lack of timing on the offense and good play by the defense for creating the problem with the running game. Consistency being a big part of the timing element for the offensive line, according to the Alabama football coach. Saban pointed toward the absence from practice this week by center William Vlachos. This moved Guard/Tackle Barrett Jones to center for emergency work. Also, Alabama’s football team has worked on a new name at left tackle.

“There are some moving parts there and at some point in time in this camp we need to develop some cohesion,” Saban said. “I feel like we have more power up front and we should be a better running team.”

One of the moving parts is freshman Cyrus Kouandjio.

“Cyrus (Kouandjio) is playing some left tackle,” Saban said. “He is a young guy that has a lot of potential.”

How much potential remains to be seen. But the development of Cyrus Kouandjio or another player at left tackle would allow the Tide to move Barrett Jones back to guard.

“If we continue to develop a left tackle, then Barrett Jones is going to go back to where he has always played at one of the guard positions, so there is a lot of competition right now,” Saban said.

One area of heavy competition is at guard.

“I think there is a lot of competition in the offensive line,” Saban said. “I think that we have six or seven players that are pretty good players and that I consider starters and (Chance Warmack) is one of those guys but only five of those guys are going to play.”

Another player mentioned by Saban at the guard position was Anthony Steen.

Ultimately, line play will be a big part in determining how good this year’s Alabama football team can be.

“I think our offensive line has improved over a year ago, so that is something that will be critical to our team’s success.”

Just how good the team can be will depend on many factors.

“We have a team that I think could develop into something pretty good,” Saban said.

To attain that the team will need to be committed to investing the effort required, and the team members must develop the required team chemistry in their personal relationships, Saban said.

Quarterback battle
Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said today’s first scrimmage of Fall Camp serves as a barometer for evaluating the players when in a “competitive situation.” One of the most talked about player evaluations will be at the quarterback position.

“We made some big plays in the passing game,” Alabama’s football coach said.

Both AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims “played well when they had their opportunities,” Saban said.

Saban cautioned that statistics from a scrimmage do not tell a complete story as a quarterback’s numbers depend on whether you face the first or second team defense.

The QB decision will not be made based on stats from a scrimmage, Saban said. “It is about who can play winning football at the position.”

Alabama Injury Update
Alabama’s star linebacker Dont’a Hightower participated in today’s scrimmage.

“He did 90 percent of the scrimmage,” Saban said. “He did fine. He basically missed one practice.”

Tight end Brian Vogler was held out of today’s scrimmage. Alex Watkins did not scrimmage today, but has practiced once per day in Fall Camp. Ryan Kelly did not practice today, but should be back shortly from a concussion. Dee Milliner received a laceration to the chin in today’s scrimmage.

“He should be OK shortly,” Saban said of cornerback DeMarcus Milliner.