By: Andrew Wallace
Tuscaloosa– The first half of A-Day action has wrapped up for the Crimson Tide football team to the tune of no score. The defense rolled, as it held both offenses to 2 for 14 on 3rd down. Each offense had exactly 116 yards.
The White team drove down the field to end the first quarter led by Cooper Bateman and Kenyan Drake. The two ran a dynamic read-option attack where Drake took the ball down the sidelines for a 27 yard burst. Bateman threw a pretty touch pass on a flag route to Robert Foster for a 34 yard gain that put the White team on the 2 yard line. They were unable to finish that drive, as Adam Griffith missed a chip shot from 30 yards out.
Offensive line play for the White team was more than adequate. Bateman saw occasional pressure up the middle but was able to avoid it, only getting sacked once so far. Brandon Greene stood out starting at the left tackle spot. He sealed off the outside runs and protected Bateman and Morris. The Crimson defense was led by Reuben Foster and Tony Brown. Foster was shook up to end the half. He should be fine, but expect Saban to sit him for the second half. Brown started slow but began to lock down WR Parker Barrineau as the half expired. Barrineau finished the half with just one catch, a 16 yard gain on a crossing route that lost Brown. Korren Kirven also created pressure for the Crimson defense and Nick Perry starred from the safety spot.
When the White was on defense they relied on Landon Collins and Trey Depriest. Collins took a line to a Blake Sims ball forced into triple coverage and got his hands on the ball, but was unable to come up with it. Sims could not get into a rhythm. He under threw receivers, tossed late throws, and made passes that left the targeted receiver out to dry. Blake Sims struggled with a 4-12 first half and just 46 yards passing. He had one perfect throw the entire first half, a dart that slipped in between defenders Collins and Sylve and was caught by Amari Cooper for 22 yards. TJ Yeldon was solid. The same aforementioned option play that earned Kenyan Drake a large gain merited a large Yeldon rush down the sideline. He was inconsistent, but explosive and finished with 6 carries and 62 yards. Reggie Ragland and Denzel Devall also contributed notably. Ragland had 5 tackles and 1.5 TFLs.
Derrick Henry did not play as well as his spring practice hype would indicate (5 carries for 18 yards).
Alec Morris only saw only one series at QB. He did not complete a pass. He did handle the punting duties completely by himself, finishing with 7 punts for 262 yards at a 37 yard average.
No David Cornwell sightings so far.
Reuban Foster’s injury to end the 1st half was the only injury that occurred.
Adam Griffith’s second kick was blocked.
Cam Robinson neither dominated or played poorly. He seems to be adjusting to the speed of the game.
The defense is tackling much better than the last two games of last season. Not a ton of running room for guys after the catch.