2014 A-Day Position Grades

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

Offensive Line

C+ Combined, the two offensive lines yielded 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks, though it’s hard to make too much out of it when actually tackling of the quarterback is not permitted during spring games. The line did, however, open holes for a couple of long runs from the running backs and helped T.J. Yeldon win MVP honors for the third consecutive spring game. Coach Nick Saban noted that the offensive line has been “consistently better” when true freshman left tackle Cam Robinson is playing.

Defensive Line

A Earlier this spring, Saban said the defensive line had a “long way to go,” but after A-Day he said they have come “a lot further along.” Rising sophomore Jonathan Allen and junior college transfer D.J. Pettway shared the honors for the Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the A-Day Game Award after making some of the biggest contributions of the game. Allen had six tackles (four for loss), two sacks and a field goal block, and Pettway opened the game’s scoring with a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Quarterbacks

C No player took the lead in the starting quarterback race after a mostly forgettable performance from all of its contenders, though the production did pick up a little bit in the fourth quarter when the two leaders for the position – Blake Sims and Cooper Bateman – each threw a late touchdown pass. Sims threw two interceptions, and Parker McLeod and Alec Morris each threw one. Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, who watched Saturday’s A-Day from the sideline, is expected to compete for the starting job when he arrives this summer.

Special Teams

D+ Adam Griffith went 1-for-3 on field goal attempts, missing wide left from 30 yards out and having a 47-yard try blocked before the half. At the end of the third quarter, he hit a 41-yard field goal but finished by missing the extra point after the game’s final touchdown. Reserve quarterback Alec Morris did a serviceable job punting the ball for both teams, averaging 38.45 per punt on 15 attempts. Incoming freshman JK Scott could compete for immediately playing time at kicker or punter this summer.

Receivers

B+ With the inconsistent quarterback play considered, the receiving corps put on a decent performance. Amari Cooper didn’t quite put up the numbers he did in the team’s first two scrimmages, but still finished with three catches for 45 yards. After not playing last season as true freshmen, Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart combined for 109 yards on six catches, including a 32-yard touchdown reception from Stewart. Chris Black, who mostly played in a reserve role last season, caught three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown of 55 yards.

Secondary

B+ Arguably the most scrutinized unit of 2013 didn’t do much to receive that same criticism on A-Day. A few explosive plays were given up late, but the performance was otherwise solid. Safety Landon Collins and freshman cornerback Tony Brown each had two pass breakups, including one interception. As a unit, the secondary had seven pass breakups. Eddie Jackson’s return from a torn ACL and Marlon Humphrey’s arrival this summer will help bolster the secondary.

Running Backs

B T.J. Yeldon estimated that Alabama used only about 10 percent of the offense, but it was enough for him to show what he can do once again. The rising junior rushed for 95 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries to win his third straight Dixie Howell Most Valuable Player of the A-Day Game Award. Kenyan Drake contributed well in a limited number of touches, but fumbled near his own goal line, setting up Yeldon’s touchdown. Derrick Henry, who has been the talk of this spring, rushed for 22 yards on eight carries.

Linebackers

A- Along with the defensive line, the linebackers also received similar praise. The anchor of the linebacker corps, Trey DePriest, had seven tackles, while the inside linebacker opposite of DePriest, Reggie Ragland, had 10 tackles (2.5 for loss) and an interception. Among the outside linebackers, Dillon Lee made nine tackles and Ryan Anderson had three sacks.

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