Alabama A-Day: Quotes from Nick Saban and players
Quotes from head coach Nick Saban and players following Alabama's A-Day game Saturdy at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Nearly 80,000 fans were in attendance to see the White team defeat the Crimson 17-14.
Head Coach Nick Saban
On the play of the quarterbacks (other than AJ McCarron)
"I would say that they all need to improve. Alec probably played as well as any of them. Blake, who's had a really good spring and made really good progress, if you look at the spring as a whole, sort of went a little bit rat trap out there today. Aborted his reads early, started scrambling, didn't do things like he's really improved in scrimmages as well as through the spring. I thought some of the young guys were a little bit antsy and had trouble managing the game, getting in the right formation, getting the call, which can be expected, but we certainly need for those guys to develop as well."
On whether Christion Jones will play offense or defense
"Well, I've answered this question numerous times before, and the answer is not going to change. Christion Jones has done a really good job on both sides of the ball. The object of what we did this spring is so that if we need a guy to play corner in the fall, he can play it. He'll know how to do it. We don't need to make that decision right now, and we're not going to make it. We don't need to make it. We're going to see if we can develop the players that we have so that he can be an explosive player on offense, which he is, which we'd like for him to do. I would like not to go into the season thinking that he's got to worry about preparing himself to play on both sides of the ball, but it will be nice to know that he knows how to play corner, and he learned how to play corner this spring. So if we needed him to play it, he could play it. But we're going to have to continue to get the young players that we have at that position, those coming in and those that are here to continue to develop at that position."
On the performance of the offensive line
"Well the offensive line has done a really good job all spring. I think Anthony Steen and Cyrus have done a really good job from a leadership standpoint. Ryan Kelley has played well all spring long. He got a lot of experience last year, which I think was helpful to him. Arie had a really good spring. Austin Shepherd had a really good spring. Leon Brown is guy that has ability that can give us depths, so can Kellen Williams. Those guys are still in competition for positions and rightfully so based on what they've been able to do. We need to continue to try to develop more players at that position but I'm pleased with the progress that that group has made."
On if he had any questions that were answered today
"The biggest thing I was concerned about was how the team would go out there and what would be their energy, their enthusiasm, and their attention to detail. So, mental intensity. I don't think that there were enough guys that answered that question in a positive way to my liking. But I'm never satisfied. I spoke to a bunch of alumni groups today, and they all want me to make a comparison between this year's team and last year's team and the team before that, and the team before that, and the team before that. And I wasn't happy with any of those teams at this point. If I was happy with them, we wouldn't have summer conditioning, we would not have fall camp, and we wouldn't have thirty practices to get ready for our first game against Virginia Tech. We'd just pack it in and say, 'Alright, let's go to Atlanta and play the game.' We're not there yet. That's why we have all these practices, that's why we have all the work we need to do. I'm not disappointed where we are right now. I don't want anyone to think that. But I'm not satisfied with where we are either. But we have a high standard at what we want to do, and we need to realize that every team that we play is going to bring their A game, and that that game is circled on their calendar as to what they want to do when they come play Alabama."
AJ McCarron, Quarterback
On the offensive line's performance:
"We did well. Things are simple [in the spring game]. We don't do any of our protections that we use in the game, so it's just 'base' everything. It's almost really like one-on-one type of stuff. I felt like they did a great job up front controlling our big guys, but we're definitely going to have some work to do in the summer."
On the second team defense:
"They played really well, containing Blake [Sims] and making some plays in the back end. It helped us out and was a big part of our win."
On the other quarterbacks:
"From the little bit I saw, I felt like they did well. I wasn't really paying attention; when I get on the sidelines I zone out, so I can't really see too much. This is like playing in an all-star game. You don't get in a rhythm. It's not a real game, but it's fun to go out there and try to make plays happen, and do some trick plays. I felt like everybody had a good day."
Vinnie Sunseri, Defensive Back
On today's spring game:
"Today was a good day. We competed a lot and made a lot of plays and got a lot to grow on - it was a good day."
On the play of the defensive backs in general today:
"That's what we told each other right before we broke into our separate teams, you know we might be on two different teams, but we are one unit. That's different this year - we are trying to make sure that we fly around to the ball, create turnovers and make it hard for the quarterback."
On spring practice as a whole:
"Exactly like Coach Saban said - we have a lot of guys that are giving a lot of effort, a lot of guys that improved, a lot of guys that are ready to step up in big roles but a couple of other guys are trying to learn or haven't done exactly what we needed to do right now. We are going to take May off, gather yourselves and get your body back underneath you and when we come back in the summer it's a whole new thing. We are making sure everyone is giving 100 percent every single day, and if you don't, we are going to let you know it."