Will Anderson and White Team Dominate A-Day 2022
The Alabama Crimson Tide held its A-Day scrimmage game Saturday in front of likely the smallest crowd of the Nick Saban era. With year 15 under the greatest of our generation, wet weather and pinned in the middle of the Easter holiday, it's really no surprise that this was the case.
Still, fans in attendance were able to put eyes on Heisman favorites Bryce Young and Will Anderson for the first time since January and newcomers like Jahmyr Gibbs, Jermaine Burton and Eli Ricks for the first time overall.
The Crimson Team got out to a rocky start with a bad snap recovered by Anderson which gave the White Team the ball in scoring position.
That allowed Jalen Milroe to make a quick impact, with a mixture of scrambles and throws. One scramble from the five-yard line saw the sophomore quarterback juke defensive lineman Monkell Goodwine out of his shoes. The officials said Milroe was touched, so the White Team had to settle for a field goal.
The offensive line struggles were apparent early. Both centers struggled with snaps in the rainy conditions and Young and Milroe had to scramble on many passing plays. As a result, the two traded interceptions to close the first quarter. Ty Simpson replaced Milroe after his interception to Kristian Story and promptly scrambled from one sideline to the other for a gain of four.
Milroe soon returned for the White Team after Simpson led their squad to a field goal. Milroe hit Christian Leary on a 52-yard touchdown out of a clean pocket over Malachi Moore.
On the following drive, Young was able to get the Crimson Team to put its first bit of yardage against the starting defense. Then Will Anderson decided that Kendall Randolph wasn't allowed to block him and picked up back-to-back sacks to kill the drive dead. Anderson didn't return to the game so as to help the offensive line breathe a little. Tommy Brockermeyer later replaced Randolph at left tackle.
The White Team seemed fully in control throughout the first half. Simpson came in and zipped a few passes around the gridiron while simultaneously running away from pressure. Simpson shortchanged Aaron Anderson on a third-down attempt for a touchdown, leading to another Martin field goal.
The White Team continued its dominance of the scrimmage out of halftime as Milroe hit pass after pass to extend the drive into scoring territory. Unfortunately for the White Team, the inexperience of his targets led to miscommunication. Will Reichard came over to the White Team to boot a field goal and extend the lead.
On the following drive, the Crimson Team finally saw some life as Jahmyr Gibbs took a zone handoff 75-yards untouched for a touchdown.
After that score, the game seemed to speed up to beat the incoming storms.
The most notable takeaway from the game was what was expected: the offensive line has a long way to go. Both the White Team and Crimson Team struggled to protect their quarterbacks. All three signal-callers were scrambling and throwing off base and off time throughout the afternoon. In total, there were 15 total sacks in the game between both teams.
On a more positive note, Alabama has to feel good about all three of its quarterbacks, each of whom handled the pressure well and showcased exciting skillsets.