Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Hangover: A-Day Game

The A-Day Game was televised on ESPN2 Saturday. 

If you were looking for good play from safeties, you had to be happy with the spectacle yesterday. Six interceptions from Clinton-Dix, Sunseri, Collins, and Perry. From my amateur perspective, cornerback Belue had a good game, and linebacker Mosley was in the middle of the action most of the time. 

But strong play from the defense, namely the DBs, means the play of the quarterbacks was suspect, which it was. Returning starter and field general of two straight national championships, A. J. McCarron had a so-so day. I wish the network wouldn't have cut off the broadcast early ~ for some reason they thought the showing of drag racing was more important ~ because viewers missed the last part of the fourth quarter when starters were still playing. 

On the offensive side of the ball though, sophomore running back T. J. Yeldon was the star of the day, amassing 129 all-purpose yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown that I missed because of flippin' drag racing. 

One of battles to watch has been who will be the second-string quarterback. Based on practice reports, returning second-team QB Blake Sims has had a good spring. However, he didn't have a good A-Day. Alec Morris had a decent day, and even Coach Saban made this luke-warm comment: "Alec probably played as well as any of [the back-up quarterbacks]." 

As for the running backs behind Yeldon, with uber-talented Derrick Henry sidelined with a broken fibula, the men who got featured yesterday were Kenyan Drake and Dee Hart. And I don't remember seeing Jalston "The Beast" Fowler play. He's recovering from a knee injury from last season. Both Drake and Hart were okay Saturday.

The receiving corps looked outstanding. Cooper didn't have a lot of balls thrown his way, but both DeAndrew White and Kenny Bell, two guys coming back from injuries, had solid games. True freshman Raheem Falkins was impressive. The tall, rangy fellow from New Orleans looked good. 

I'm excited about the potential of another true freshman, O. J. Howard. He's a tall, pass-catching tight end, who could create all kinds of match-up problems when defensive backs are having to worry about Cooper, Jones, Bell, White, Norwood, Black, Falkins, et al. He played in an offense in high school that never had him play with his hand down, so he's going to have to learn how to block, but he has serious potential.   

The biggest questions for this team is replacing three starters on the offensive line. From what I saw, it looked like Arie Kouandjio started on the first o-line at left guard right beside his brother Cyrus, who plays left tackle. At least I saw them playing together from time to time, but that position still sounds like it's competitive. The other two positions to get worked out are Center and Right Tackle. I'm pretty sure Ryan Kelly will start at Center, but we'll see who nails down the right tackle job.

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