10 April 2010
The Alabama football team held its second scrimmage of the fall on Saturday. The 12th practice of the spring was held at Bryant-Denny Stadium and was the typical mixture of game simulation and situational work.
Here's what you need to know:
Bama continues to work without major injury. William Vlachos is still out after having had foot surgery, and Nico Johnson is still out with a mild knee sprain. Otherwise, it appears to be nagging minor injuries that hold a few guys out.
Chad Lindsay missed the scrimmage as he rode stationary bikes along side Vlachos and Johnson and walk-on center Russell Raines. No official word was given on the injury to either Linsday or Raines.
Milton Talbert continues to work in a black jersey with what is being described as a shoulder injury. He has been held out of contact for the entirety of the spring.
Tana Patrick was back in a red jersey and participating after missing most of the week with a concussion that he suffered in last weekend's scrimmage.
Michael Bowman did not participate in individual drills during warmups, and was not listed among the statistical leaders. No explanation was given.
All of that was pre-practice stuff, though... the good news is that no one left the scrimmage due to injury.
As for the scrimmage itself... again we'll start with the disclaimer.
Scrimmage stats can be very deceiving. The stats that we get are from the University and are incomplete. They are, essentially, what the coaching staff wants us to see.
It is also very important to note that a lot of situational work is done, and a decent number of plays are run against the scout team. So some guys will see their numbers a little out of whack simply based on when their plays happened.
Having said that, I will repeat the exact same thing I started the last scrimmage report with...
Marcell Dareus had 10 tackles, including 5 sacks. Damn. That's 18 tackles and 9 sacks in two scrimmages. This guy is an absolute beast, and could put up the type of numbers that make him a serious Lombardi Award candidate. He won't sniff Derrick Thomas' school record of 27 sacks in one season (how in the hell didn't he win the Lombardi? And why in the hell is he not in the college football Hall of Fame?), but he should have a dominating season despite seeing frequent double teams. Lorenzo Washington called him a "three year player" in last year's fall camp, and he probably nailed that. Enjoy Marcell this season, because it will likely be his last in Tuscaloosa.
Greg McElroy - 17-27 156 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
A.J. McCarron - 17-30 215 yards, 3 TD
Phillip Sims - 15-19 139 yards, 1 TD
Star Jackson - 10-17 91 yards
For the second consecutive scrimmage we have seen A.J. McCarron put up really solid numbers. But until you hear Nick Saban say that there is an open competition at the quarterback situation, don't read much into it. McElroy is still the starter. I would guess the defense is likely throwing much more at McElroy than they are throwing at McCarron at this point, because that is what practice is for.
Having said that, McCarron continues to put up solid numbers in the scrimmages. He's now 38-58 (65.5%) for 444 yards, with 6 TDs and no interceptions listed. That doesn't mean that he hasn't thrown one, it just means that he hasn't had one listed. Regardless, those are awfully impressive numbers and should give everyone great hope for the future of the position.
We didn't get stats on Phillip Sims after the first scrimmage, so these are the first numbers we are seeing. It's obviously nice to see a 78.9% completion percentage rate, but I'm guessing that he threw a bunch of short passes. That's just 9.26 yards per completion, so it's obvious he wasn't slinging it all over the field. Still, the fact that he completed a high number of his passes and didn't turn the ball over should make us really look forward to next spring's quarterback competition between he and McCarron. The reps that he is getting now are absolutely invaluable... had McCarron been here last spring, we might have seen him play some last year.
Mark Ingram - 19 for 72 yards and 1 TD
Eddie Lacy - 10 for 28 yards, 1 TD
Trent Richardson - 7 for 18 yards
There's not much to take from these numbers, honestly. That is a lot of carries for Ingram, and not a lot for Richardson. I would think they were holding Trent back because of his tender hamstring, but he factored heavily in the passing game. Lacy's average wasn't great, but I'm guessing he had a lot of carries in situational work.
Bama worked on the passing game a lot in the spring of 2009 before showcasing a run-heavy offense in the 2009 season. I do expect we'll see a more open and diverse offense in 2010, but I also expect we'll see a lot more runs than we're seeing in the scrimmages. The Tide passing game needs work, as does the Tide secondary. You get that by passing a lot in scrimmages. Expect more of the same on A-Day.
Brandon Gibson - 10 for 74 yards, 1 TD
Julio Jones - 9 for 117 yards, 2 TD
Trent Richardson - 8 for 39 yards
Preston Dial - 4 for 46 yards
Kenny Bell - 4 for 33 yards
Demetrius Goode - 3 for 79 yards, 1 TD
Hardie Buck - 3 for 34 yards
Kevin Norwood - 3 for 33 yards
The big things that jump out are - nice day for Gibson, and who in the heck is Hardie Buck.
Clearly Gibson was with the receivers today, which meant that Kendall Kelly was with the defensive backs. That's the opposite of last weekend's scrimmage, and like they did with Kelly, it looks like the staff tried to get Gibson as many reps as possible to make up for the time he has missed while working at safety.
Julio looks like he is healthy, and it's paying off. Now we just have to keep him healthy through the season.
A lot of work for the backs and tight ends, which I'm guessing explains the completion percentage of Phillip Sims. It's nice to see Richardson be heavily involved in the passing game. He was dynamic when he caught the ball in 2009, and I expect he'll be a bigger threat in the passing game in 2010.
Marcell Dareus - 10 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 TFL, 2 PBU - damn
Dont'a Hightower - 8 tackles, 2 sacks
John Fulton - 5 tackles, 1 TFL
Tana Patrick - 5 tackles
Will Lowery - 5 tackles
B.J. Scott - 5 tackles, 1 PBU
Chris Jordan - 5 tackles, 1 TFL
Jerell Harris - 4 tackles
Rod Woodson - 4 tackles
Darrington Sentimore - 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Ed Stinson - 4 tackles, 1 TFL
Robert Lester - 4 tackles, 1 INT
Courtney Upshaw - 4 tackles, 3 sacks
Dareus is a beast. He's going to help the new Tide secondary a lot by putting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks on a routine basis. We haven't seen that from a defensive end in a while, and it should help those new guys in the secondary grow into their roles.
It's big to see Dont'a Hightower be heavily involved again. I was skeptical about his participation in any scrimmages this spring, and he's put up solid numbers in both. If there was any concern over his knee, he wouldn't be going in live drills. He's going to be special once he gets to 100% in both the physical and mental aspects of his rehab.
It looks like there were a lot of plays called to attack the Tide safeties. Will Lowery, Robert Lester, and Rod Woodson combined to make 13 tackles. That tells me that the staff is working these guys heavily now that official word has come down about Robby Green missing the entire 2010 season. It is interesting to see Lowery put up numbers. It looks like he's planning to stay in the battle for as long as possible.
Cade Foster - Made from 27, 32, 24, 33
There are no misses listed, though that doesn't mean that he hit every attempt. This is just what they are telling us. It's nice to see that he made four field goals, even if they are all of the relatively short variety. Coach Saban mentioned post practice that he's been pleased with the development of the place kickers... not so much with the punters.
There has been no official decision made on the format of next Saturday's A-Day Game. My guess is we'll probably see the same 1s vs 2s that we've seen the last two years, but the staff might shake it up some.
Bama will practice again on Tuesday and Thursday before next Saturday's kick-off at 2 p.m. The "game" will be televised live on ESPN, but it is no secret that the staff would like to see a big crowd. Not only does it help the younger guys get the experience of playing in front of a full stadium, but it is expected to be a big recruiting weekend, and recruits still talk about the 2007 A-Day crowd.
In non football news, congratulations to the women's Gymnastics team for making it to their 28th consecutive NCAA Championship Meet. The contest will be held in Gainesville, FL in two weeks, where the hometown Gators will be the likely favorite. Bama has a great shot at bringing home its fourth national title in the sport, though. We'll let you know how things turn out in two weeks.
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