Now that the Alabama Crimson Tide finished spring football with their annual A-Day Spring Game, what did we learn about the Tide for this upcoming college football season? Surprisingly, quite a bit. Normally during a spring game, the coaches hold back on defense and offense, which was the case here as well.
Nick Saban, like most smart coaches do, didn’t show too much of his 2019 Alabama football team to his SEC opponents, but we did catch a glimpse of maybe what to expect from this year’s version of the Crimson Tide. Here are just a few things I saw on an all-around impressive day:
1. Mac Jones Will Backup Tua Tagovailoa
Jones pretty much put to bed any thought that he might be overtaken for the backup quarterback job by freshmen Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson. Jones’ White team defeated the Crimson team lead by Tua Tagovailoa, 31-17. Jones threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw a pick however, but he seem to bounce back nicely after that bad throw, which shows his maturity as a quarterback. Foreseeing any injuries in the fall, the Alabama QB job is his.
2. The First-Team Defense was Sharp
In the Alabama A-Day game, Nick Saban likes to put the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense. You get a better feel for where each side stood at this point of the year, and the No. 1 defense held the best quarterback in the country to 17 points and one touchdown, which came late in the game. Tagovailoa still threw for 265 yards, but completed only 19 of 37 passes to leave many fans concerned after a long day at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
3. Alabama’s Offense Found Another Weapon
As if the Alabama offense needed another weapon, they may have found one in wide receiver John Metchie, who was named Saturday’s MVP. Metchie caught five passes for 133 yards, and although Saban tried his best to tamper down expectations, Bama fans and the media are already buzzing about this new addition to an already deep group of wide receivers.
4. Alabama’s Special Teams is Much Improved
Another thing Alabama fans should be pleased with is the special teams play, which is much improved. The Tide appear to have found their kicker in freshman Will Reichard, who didn’t miss an extra point Saturday and made the only field goal he attempted from 43 yards. The punting game also looked a lot better, too. Punter Skyler Delong, who struggled last year averaging just 34 yards per kick, averaged 47.5 yards per kick in the spring game. Saban mentioned how much better Delong looked this spring and is more comfortable in his role.
5. Taulia Tagovailoa Looked Better Than Paul Tyson
Maybe it was nerves, but Paul Tyson struggled Saturday. It’s understandable. He is the great grandson of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, so the weight of the world had to be on his shoulders, which explains why he only completed one pass and threw a pick-six. Taulia Tagovailoa looked impressive at times. He had a pass picked off too, but later threw an impressive touchdown pass on the run that helped his team win the game.