It’s time to put the ball down and see how it plays out.
The season opener for Alabama is still three weeks off, but the Crimson Tide will gather for its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday. The scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium is closed to the public.
“Obviously what we’re looking for on Saturday in the scrimmage is who can go out there and have the maturity and focus, mental toughness, mental discipline to be able to stick with good play, bad play, play the next play,” coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. “Keep their poise and that goes a long way into telling you whether a guy is emotionally really to play. Physical talent is one thing, but emotionally mature enough to be able to do is with consistency is another thing that I think has to be evaluated."
Alabama enters the scrimmage mostly healthy. Saban said Wednesday that freshman defensive lineman Stephon Wynn Jr. had a ligament strain in practice on Tuesday that won’t require surgery, but will keep him out for some time.
Saban also said he was pleased with the first five days of practice. Alabama had its first day of practice in full pads on Wednesday following the conclusion of its acclimatization period, then had another practice in full pads Thursday. The team worked in shoulder pads and shorts on Friday.
The scrimmage will be an opportunity for players to show how they respond in a game-like situation. That can be especially important for young players or players hoping to take a bigger role this fall.
“I think that we have some talented players that are young players that made contribution last year, and I think those guys are going to be really good players,” Saban said. “And I think the experience they gained last year is going to be very helpful to them. Probably what's more concerning to me is we have young players who weren't in the program or young players who didn't play a year ago that don't have experience that may get called to duty and have an opportunity to make a contribution.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.