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August 9, 2014

QB competition remains unclear

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The deluge started early Saturday, but it wasn't enough to permanently halt the University of Alabama's first scrimmage.

The conditions weren't the best for the quarterbacks competing for a starting position with heavy wind and rain at times. No statistics for any quarterback were released by UA given the conditions.

"I think it would be unfair to either player to really evaluate any kind of passing statistics based on today," Saban said. "First of all, you almost have to include the drops, because there were a few drops because of the conditions. I just don't think it would be fair based on those conditions, to try to make some kind of statistical assessment. That's not the most important thing to us. I think we have a lot of things that we did very well out there today."

While Saban didn't specifically mention which quarterbacks he was referring to, it would be safe to assume it Blake Sims and Jake Coker.

Statistics aside, Saban said both did a lot of good things.

"I think they both have some things that they wish they had back. And I think they both probably made some choices and decisions that we can improve on. But I also think that both guys showed that they're capable of doing what we need to do with them on offense so that we can be effective with the other players that we have," Saban said.

"We're not pleased or satisfied completely with where they are, but we're not disappointed in the progress that we're making at that position. It was a tough day to operate out there. After the first, I think, series that each team had, we're 40 minutes in the locker room, and then we go out there and it's raining the whole time. But I thought both guys handled that well too."

Sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson, who sustained a knee injury during spring practice, was held out of the scrimmage. Jackson hasn't missed a practice during camp, but is just four months removed from surgery.

Senior linebacker Trey DePriest also was held out of the scrimmage as he recovers from a sprained knee.

The defensive was down three defensive linemen with A'Shawn Robinson recovering from a knee sprain and Jarran Reed and Brandon Ivory not able to scrimmage coming off of their suspensions.

Saban said the defensive line's depth allowed other players more playing time.

"I think Jonathan Allen's really been playing well, I think (D.J.) Pettway's really been playing well, Darren Lake has made some improvement," Saban said. "(Josh Frazier) is a freshman who's getting lots of turns and lots of reps. So there are guys that are making a significant amount of improvement."

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line is beginning to develop some depth as the starters lead the way.

"Cam Robinson is doing really well and has been doing really, really well all camp," Saban said. "I've been encouraged by the offensive line to this point. Leon (Brown) will probably start doing some stuff this week…Shep's (Austin Shepherd) been playing really good. Ryan Kelly is playing really well. Arie (Kouandjio) is consistent. Shank (Alphonse Taylor) has been playing consistently and doing a good job.

"We've been physical upfront. Dominick (Jackson) is a very physical player. He was certainly going to have a presence. (Ross) Pierschbacher, as a freshman, looks like a guy that may be able to contribute in the two-deep. So I've been kind of pleased with the way that group is coming along."

Alabama managed to avoid any major injuries but a few players were banged up, including junior defensive back Geno Smith. Smith, who is competing for a safety position and has experience at the Star defensive back position, sprained his knee and will miss a few days of practice, Saban said.

Junior college transfer offensive lineman Dominick Jackson sprained his ankle and could miss two weeks. Jackson has worked at guard and tackle during camp and was competing for a spot at right guard.

Tight end Kurt Freitag sustained a turf toe injury.

Special teams
Saban singled out the kicking game, and this time it was a positive during Saturday's scrimmage.

Sophomore kicker Adam Griffith made 4 of 5 attempts.

"I was really pleased with the kicking game part of it today," he said. "The one he missed he really didn't have his holder in there. It was right when the storm was coming and we tried to finish the drive with a field goal and he ended up kicking with the 2s. But I thought he did a good job. He did a good job kicking off. The punter (JK Scott) punted well. He was pretty effective."

Reach Aaron Suttles at [email protected] or at 205-722-0229.

Kenyan Drake - 6 rushes, 88 yards, 1 TD
T.J. Yeldon - 4 rushes, 35 yards
Tyren Jones - 13 rushes, 30 yards, 1 TD
Derrick Henry - 6 rushes, 23 yards, 1 TD

Kenyan Drake - 4 rec., 65 yards
Robert Foster - 2, rec., 57 yards
Amari Cooper - 4 rec., 56 yards, 1 TD
Christion Jones - 2 rec., 45 yards, 1 TD
ArDarius Stewart - 3 rec., 33 yards

DEFENSIVE LEADERS<>br Jonathan Allen - 5 tackles, 2 sacks
Dillon Lee - 4 tackles
Da'Shawn Hand - 4 tackles, 1 sack
Reuben Foster - 3 tackles, 1 sack
Reggie Ragland - 3 tackles

**(Passing statistics were not released)

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