First off if you watched the ESPN broadcast you unfortunately missed the best part of the game. Nick Saban wanted the starters on the field as the clock wound down with the score close to see how they would react and the results were encouraging.
McCarron was cruising to what looked like an easy victory when Ha Ha Dix picked up a fumble and ran it all the way back for a score giving the red team a lead with 2 minutes left. AJ McCarron found himself facing beans and franks instead of steak for dinner and calmy began to march his team down the field and hit Christian Jones for a beautiful 50 yard pass down to the five. The white team scored from there to take the lead.
Then backup quarterback Alex Morris came out and attempted to one-up McCarron and lead the red team back down for the go ahead score. He nailed Chris Black for a 36 yarder to get into scoring range and on fourth down with time expiring had a pass slide just off of Chris Blacks fingertips in the endzone. He came ever so close to that steak dinner but in the end McCarron won when it counted.
All of that happened after ESPN cut you off. Now for my list of risers and fallers on the day
Blake Sims: Falling. We had heard Blake Sims had improved since last season but the crowd at A Day saw the same old Sims. I’m not sure if he didn’t look worse. It seems when the lights are on Sims just doesn’t play well.
Alex Morris: Rising, With Sims falling Alex Smith was by far the most effective of the backup quarterbacks completing 10-of-18 passes for 141 yards and no picks. Of the backup quarterbacks the reshirt freshman from Texas looks like the only one who could actually run the Alabama offense if they had to play significantly without McCarron. The rest of the backups look like a full on dumpster fire at this point.
Cooper Bateman: Falling. The much hyped freshman from Utah looked generally unable to handle the speed of the game. He appears to have all the tools but he looks like he needs a redshirt season to acclimate to this level of football. We will see more from him next year this time.
Kenyan Drake: Rising. He’s really more on a flat trajectory, he still needs to get stronger but ran with a little more authority and he seems to have the ability to move ahead of others just by staying healthy. He also avoided a fumble which was a problem last year.
Dee Hart: Rising. I stated last year I didn’t expect to see Hart play football again. His participation level next season is still in question but him actually getting some live carries and looking quick today has to be a remarkably good sign for a guy who two knee surgeries in two years.
OJ Howard: Rising. He’s learning how to play tight end but I can already see this guy is going to be an offensive weapon. Definatel the best recieving tight end we have at this point.
Brian Vogler: Falling. He had a crutial fumble and generally did not show he is ready to handle a more diverse roll aside from blocking.
Deion Belue: Rising. He had some tough moments in his first season but he is clearly still improving. He had a very good game today.
Vinnie Sunsuri: Rising, once again we all counted him out and once again he has proven us wrong. He looked a bit slow last season and when he outran the team for a long touchdown interception return it was almost a little justice for the tenacious player who would just never accept failure.
Landon Collins: Rising while Sunsuri beat him out for the starting job this guy is a physical and diverse player who looks like a young Mark Barron to me. I think he will play extensively starting or not.
Nick Perry: Rising, after getting forgotten by fans he had a big day today picking off two passes and causing a fumble.
Entire Defensive Line: Falling. I just did not see any consistent pressure from the defensive line. Not from anyone. They managed to clog the running lanes well but need to improve quite a bit in the pass rush. Aside from Pagan I saw nobody disrupting the offense.
Dillon Lee: Rising. He may not be the biggest of linebackers but he seems to always get his hand on the ball. He seems to be more in the mold of a CJ Mosley.
Overall I liked the safety play. They made things hard on the quarterbacks and made them pay when they got sloppy. The corner play was less spactacular but I like the guys we have, they just need time to figure out what they need to do. Cyrus Jones is the newest player here and he got burned early but came back from it later and made a big play to deny a touchdown.
Both offensive lines looked good today. They don’t open gaping holes yet but they are probably a little ahead of where I thought they would be. Make no mistake however, this is NOT the 2012 line and won’t be that line any time this year. Just don’t put that expectation in your mind because you’ll be dissappointed.
We are loaded at wide reciever… LOADED.
AJ McCarron must not get hurt, period….
TJ Yeldon is freakishly good.
The team was pretty sloppy overall and lacked the intensity and focus you would like to see. They have a long way to go before they will be a winning football team but the staff is very good at coaching these guys up. The encouraging sign was that when the fourth quarter came and the game was on the line they did focus, the mistakes dropped away and McCarron led them to victory. It was also encouraging to see Alex Morris almost do the same thing.
And thankfully nobody else got hurt. Amen.