Thoughts and Observations from First A-Day Under DeBoer

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 07: Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) warms up during the football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 7, 2023, in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

A-Day has come and gone, and with it, the end of the first spring practices of the Kalen DeBoer era.

While the game is always ran more like a practice scrimmage than an actual football game, there was still plenty to take away from Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Here are some takeaways and observations:

The crowd showed up in massive numbers

It was the largest attended Alabama spring game since the famously 90,000-strong crowd for Nick Saban’s first A-Day in 2007.

The reported attendance in the stadium was a staggering 72,358, a massive increase from last year’s 58,710 and 2022’s 31,077. Of course, good weather was a huge factor, but Saturday morning in Tuscaloosa had a game day feel to it and finding seating in the lower bowl was a challenge to fans that didn’t get there extremely early.

It’s an encouraging sign that despite losing Nick Saban, the support for Alabama football has never been higher.

Jalen Milroe had the throw of the day

While it wasn’t an eye-popping day for Alabama’s QB1 on the stat sheet (3 of 9 for 100 yards), Jalen Milroe made the throw of the day to Washington transfer Germie Bernard.

Milroe dropped it in a bucket to Bernard, who did not have a lot of separation but made the catch about 20 yards down the field thrown from the opposite has and ran for another 30+ for a 52-yard gain that was one of the best moments of the day:

The running backs shined

Before the game we said that Alabama could be poised to have one of the best running back rooms in the nation, and they did not disappoint. Both Jam Miller and Justice Haynes looked the part as the rushing game was on display.

Richard Young had one of the runs of the day, bullying his way in for a 9-yard score while Miller had the longest rush of the day with a 48-yard scamper.

The performance of the whole group was also a testament to early cohesiveness among a new look offensive line.

Defense finishes the day strong after rough start

The scoring system pitted offense against the defense rather than Crimson against White, with the offense getting off to a 31-0 lead before the defense got 3 points on the board due to a stop.

However, in the second half of action, it was the defense making it tough on the offense with both Dylan Lonergan and Austin Mack throwing for under 100 yards as the defense slowly clawed back into it.

Despite trailing 31-0, the final of the game was a slim victory for the offense by a score of 34-28.