Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Film review: A-Day breakdown
By Alex Scarborough
Forty-eight hours offered enough time to digest Saturday's A-Day scrimmage. TideNation's film review returns with a second look at the finale of spring practice.
Tide wide receiver Chris Black (5) was impressive in Saturday's A-Day spring game.
Blake Sims showed again why he's not a long-term option at quarterback. He didn't take care of the football, and his accuracy was questionable at best. He's effective in read-option but you need more to keep a defense honest.
Alec Morris, though, proved he's capable of leading this team next year. He's got a strong arm, a solid frame and a lightning-quick release. Where he's got room for improvement: touch. Not everything needs to be thrown 100 mph, especially intermediate passes. He got happy feet and made a few mental mistakes. Still, he was the best-looking backup quarterback. His 37-yard pass to DeAndrew White in the second quarter was a thing of beauty.
Not much to say of the early enrollee quarterbacks, who combined for 10 pass attempts. If we're searching for the best of them, it was Luke Del Rio who made a couple of nice decisions with the ball. As far as blue-chipper Cooper Bateman, things did not go so well, as he threw an interception on his first pass attempt.
Give Brian Vogler credit for a big game. He reminded me of Colin Peek, using his lanky frame to shield the ball from defenders. He and O.J. Howard could compliment one another well.
Christion Jones is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. The trouble is getting it there. He stabs at the ball, rather than letting it come to him. The result is a number of drops. Chris Black on the other hand, catches the ball the way you want to see it, cradling it as it comes in. He made a nice catch reaching back for the ball as he was falling to the turf, illustrating the sure-handedness required of the position.
Give Amari Cooper an inch and he'll take a yard. If he's allowed room to make a cut, you're not going to catch him. Look for more quick passes -- almost long handoffs -- to Cooper this season much like Alabama did with Julio Jones.
Should T.J. Yeldon catch the ball like he did on Saturday, defenses are going to be in trouble. It's hard to imagine how opponents will account for so many receiving threats.
The first-team line was rock solid in pass protection. Austin Shepherd, Arie Kouandjio and Ryan Kelly integrated seamlessly. Kouandjio showed better-than-expected quickness, getting to the second level on a couple of runs.
Leon Brown played a lot and held his own. He's a little upright and doesn't drive downfield like you'd like, but that could be a sign of a lack of comfort more than anything. Fellow transfer Brandon Hill was painfully slow at tackle. The staff thinks he'll do well once he hits his ideal weight, but he's not there yet.
Converted defensive back Cyrus Jones (5) was burned on a touchdown but otherwise had a solid spring game.
Yes, Cyrus Jones was badly burned on the first touchdown. And yes, he looked lost in coverage then. But did you see the rest of the scrimmage? His interception in the fourth quarter was but one highlight in an overall solid game. Don't be surprised if he continues to run with the first team at nickel in the fall.
Deion Belue had a couple of nice breakups. The one time he was burned was when AJ McCarron bought time and the receiver changed his route. Otherwise, Belue played tight in man coverage and wasn't afraid to go after the football. Vinnie Sunseri wouldn't have had his interception if Belue hadn't made a play on the ball.
Landon Collins had himself a game. He showed the whole package: size, speed, athleticism. He did a nice job jumping in front of Morris' pass for an interception in the first half and later laid a big hit on Black. He'll see a lot of the field even if it's not as starting safety.
Ryan Anderson made a couple nice plays rushing the passer and keeping contain against Sims. He's got the ideal mix of size and speed to play the Jack position.
Saban said he's looking for more athletic, quick-twitch linemen to combat mobile quarterbacks. On Saturday we saw a couple examples in Dakota Ball and Dalvin Tomlinson. Ball is a Nick Gentry-type tackle with deceptive athleticism. And Tomlinson showed why capable of breaking into the defensive end rotation. He's big, has strong hands and can outmaneuver most offensive linemen with his quickness.
Where has Adrian Hubbard been? He was quiet throughout the first two scrimmages and didn't have a single tackle for loss at A-Day. That's not what you want to see from a guy who has shown he's capable of so much more.