TUSCALOOSA — The design for Alabama’s first closed scrimmage of the preseason was to throw, throw and then throw some more.
A total of 698 yards and nine passing touchdowns later, the second closed scrimmage turned back to the running game. So stats released by UA media relations from Saturday’s scrimmage — which was open only to booster-club members — spoke with more encouragement and less alarm about the Crimson Tide’s rebuilding defense.
If anything, that defense appeared to answer a few questions, limiting five different tailbacks to no more than 61 yards rushing and allowing no quarterback more than 134 passing yards.
Alabama’s offense mustered four touchdowns, compared to 13 a week ago.
“We tested the running game a little bit more today,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said, “probably as much to see if we could stop it on defense as to see if we could run it on offense. So we really didn’t throw it as much today. It was really by-design. Last week we had twice as many passes.”
Scrimmage No. 2 was more realistic in Saban’s view, meaning roughly the first 50 plays were played as an actual game.