Saturday, the Alabama football team will suit up and take the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the spring finale, its annual A-Day Game.
The 15th and final spring practice will be the first and only time the public will get to see the Crimson Tide in action until the fall.
Here are five things to watch in the Alabama A-Day Game:
The quarterback battle is the first and most obvious thing that Tide fans will have their eye on. The last time Alabama had a true competition at the quarterback position was back in 2018 when two future NFL starting quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, battled it out, with Tua ultimately winning the starting position. Also, it should be mentioned that another future NFL starting quarterback, Mac Jones, ended up being the Crimson Tide's third string that year.
This year, the battle has been narrowed down to Jalen Milroe, who started during Bryce Young's absence with a shoulder injury, and Ty Simpson, who has less experience but is considered the better passer of the two. Both quarterbacks appear to be coming into the A-Day Game on equal footing and looking to pull away from the other.
The receiver position was inconsistent all of last season. Alabama fans will be eager to see if this has been corrected over the offseason after losing three of their top six receivers from a year ago. Jermaine Burton and Ja'Corey Brooks are returning and should be a big part of the passing game, but Alabama is hoping that junior college transfer Malik Benson can bring that big play potential and stretch the field, making it easier for whichever quarterback wins the starting job.
Alabama will also be rebuilding an offensive line that was heavily penalized and did not perform up to Alabama standards. Only two of the five starting offensive linemen from last year's season opener are returning for the Crimson Tide. The word coming out of Alabama's spring camp is that the offensive line has improved drastically and is winning the battle in the trenches. Saturday will give everyone an opportunity to see if this is indeed true and if Alabama will go back to a more balanced offense relying on the run first to open up the passing game.
A couple of five-star freshmen have impressed Nick Saban so far and earned his praises this spring. The freshman creating the most buzz this offseason is running back Justice Haynes. Haynes has both speed and power and has been described as a "very talented guy" by Saban. Haynes might be the most talented running back in Alabama's locker room, and Saturday, fans will get a chance to see him in action. On the other side of the ball, safety Caleb Downs has impressed the Alabama coaching staff and has a great chance to fill one of the two safety positions that are left open this season with the departures of DeMarcco Hellams and Jordan Battle.
Not a big surprise, but Nick Saban is starting another spring in which Alabama is introducing new coordinators. Tommy Rees will take over the offensive play calling and is expected to bring a more conventional Alabama offense, emphasizing a run-first play style to open up the play-action pass. On the defensive side of the ball, Saban brought in seasoned vet Kevin Steele. Steele is no stranger to the kind of defense that Saban is looking for and is expected to bring a more vicious unit than in recent years.
Alabama's A-Day Game is set for Saturday, April 22 at 2 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It will be streamed on ESPN+/SEC Network+.
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