Alabama held its eighth preseason football practice Saturday afternoon and its third in pads.
It was also the Crimson Tide's first scrimmage inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, which not only served as an early showcase for coach Nick Saban but a tangible sign of another step forward to the Sept. 26 season opener at Missouri amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was excited for the players," Saban said on a Zoom call. "I've talked before that playing this season, for me, is all about them having an opportunity — if we can figure out how to do it safely — to create value for themselves individually and collectively as a team. Every day that we're able to go out there with a good number of guys who are healthy and doing well and have positive energy and positive attitudes and are working hard trying to get better, it's exciting for me.
"To go back in the stadium today was exciting, because every step you take makes it feel like, 'Yeah, we are going to play a game.' I think there has been a little bit of a transition psychologically for the players, coaches and everyone else, because it has been a long time and it has not been normal."
Before Saturday, Alabama's most recent appearance inside Bryant-Denny was last November's 66-3 dismantling of Western Carolina.
Saban said redshirt junior quarterback Mac Jones went 21-of-36 passing and threw three touchdowns in the scrimmage. He added that five-star freshman quarterback Bryce Young did not participate but was expected back next week.
Alabama also picked up a commitment Saturday, receiving a nonbinding pledge from defensive lineman Tim Keenan of Ramsay High School in Birmingham. The 6-foot-2, 330-pounder is the nation's No. 22 defensive tackle and No. 361 prospect overall in the 247Sports.com composite rankings.