Nick Saban assesses wide receiver performance during first scrimmage

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz04/07/23

NickSchultz_7

The wide receivers are sure to get plenty of attention at Alabama this spring, even as a quarterback competition goes on. Nick Saban shouted out a few of them following the first scrimmage of the spring on Friday.

Last year’s two leading receivers — Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks — are both back for the Crimson Tide this season. Burton led the team with 677 yards and seven touchdowns after transferring from Georgia and Brooks was right behind him with 674 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns as a sophomore. Additionally, Isaiah Bond is also returning after totaling 220 yards and a touchdown last year.

Saban also pointed out a new face, JUCO transfer Malik Benson, and the type of impact he can have on the offense. That’s why he sounded happy with where the receivers are in their development.

“I think Burton made some big plays today,” Saban told reporters afterward. “Ja’Corey Brooks made some big plays today. Benson’s had a really, really good spring and is capable of stretching the field and making big plays. Good all-around player. He’s certainly going to help us. Isaiah Bond has had a really good spring and has done a really good job.

“So the receiver core has developed very nicely. Consistency and performance is what we need to continue to work on.”

Nick Saban on Jermaine Burton: ‘He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of ability’

Earlier in the spring, Saban talked about what else Burton needs to do in his development. At Georgia, he had 901 yards and eight touchdowns over two seasons, and Saban said the talent is there. It’s now about putting it all together with route-running and looking at the details of his game to take the next step as a leader in the Alabama receiver room.

“Well, I think what Jermaine needs to do is you know, he’s got a lot of talent, a lot of ability,” Saban said. “I think consistency and performance which would come from trust, believing and doing the little things right. Whether it’s getting the right depth on a route, you know, seeing the coverages, holding himself a little bit more accountable to paying attention to detail and doing the little things right.

“And when he does that, he’s an outstanding player. He’s got great ability, and hopefully if we can get him to do that he’ll be able to play with a little more consistency.”

Alabama’s A-Day spring game is set for April 22 at 3 p.m. ET.

On3’s Nick Kosko contributed to this report.