22 August 2010
The Alabama football team held its final scrimmage of the 2010 season on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Here's what you need to know:
There were no major injuries. Josh Chapman bruised his thigh, but is not expected to miss any time. Trent Richardson bruised his shoulder and might miss a practice or two.
Preston Dial and Undra Billingsley were cleared for contact, though neither guy participated enough to factor into the statistics released. Neither injury is serious.
Blake Sims (toe) and DeMarcus Milliner (ankle) were in black jerseys and did not participate. Sims could be back as early as Tuesday, while Milliner is expected to miss a little more time.
DeQuan Menzie not only participated, but spent a good deal of time working with the first unit at corner. Before his achilles injury there were a lot of folks who thought he might be one of the starting corners for the Tide, and while the injury could delay things some, that looks like it could be happening. If Menzie is close enough to 100% to be ready to go when the season starts, look for BJ Scott to slide to the star position, which should be a good thing. That position requires a lot of different things, and Scott is a freakish athlete. He would be an absolute terror coming off the edge on a blitz.
Before we get into the stats, I'll remind you that these can be very misleading. The squad doesn't always go 1s against 1s, and there is a lot of redzone and situational work. The stats are fun to look at because there is nothing else to look at, but don't read too much into them.
Greg McElroy - 10 for 18, 134 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
A.J. McCarron - 11 for 23, 110 yards, 1 TDs, 0 INT
Phillip Sims - 11 for 18, 132 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Not much to see here other than Phillip Sims seems to be progressing nicely. The fact that the defense got McElroy twice is actually a good sign for the defense. There's a pretty good amount of separation between McElroy and McCarron, as well as between McCarron and Sims. All three guys are really talented, though, the quarterback position is in good hands.
Eddie Lacy - 15 rush, 61 yards, 0 TD
Mark Ingram - 12 rush, 46 yards, 0 TD
Corey Grant - 11 rush, 41 yards, 0 TD
Demetrius Goode - 12 rush, 35 yards, 1 TD
Trent Richardson - 6 rush, 20 yards, 0 TD
This is probably indicative of Ingram and Richardson mostly rushing against the first unit defense and the other guys going against the second unit. The two things that jump out are Lacy getting 15 carries and Grant getting 11. Lacy is trying to push ahead of Demetrius Goode for the third running back spot, and leading the group in carries means the staff is giving him every opportunity to do so. Grant spent some time with the defensive backs earlier in the week, but the fact that he got 11 carries means the staff wasn't reluctant about throwing him right back into the mix. That's a good sign.
Brad Smelley - 5 rec., 71 yards, 1 TD
Julio Jones - 4 rec., 56 yards, 0 TD
Kevin Norwood - 3 rec., 54 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Gibson - 2 rec., 48 yards
Kenny Bell - 3 rec., 30 yards
This is 17 of the 32 completions, so there's really not much you can tell. It looks like Norwood had a good day, and Brad Smelley being involved is a good thing. But without us knowing who caught those other 15 passes, and who they caught them against, there's just not much you can tell here.
Dont'a Hightower - 8 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU
Mark Barron - 5 tackles, 1 PBU
Courtney Upshaw - 4 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 PBU
Marcell Dareus - 4 tackles
Tana Patrick - 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Robert Lester - 4 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU
C.J. Mosley - 4 tackles
Nico Johnson - 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Dre Kirkpatrick - 3 tackles, 1 INT
So the defense was led by Hightower, Barron, Upshaw, and Dareus... who is shocked? These are the leaders of that group, so they should be the leaders statistically. Expect to see these guys as the top four in most of Bama's games in 2010.
Jeremy Shelley - 4-4 - Made: 29, 32, 36, 21
Cade Foster - 3-4 - Made: 28, 52, 32. Missed 52
These are the first kicking stats released, and they are pretty darn good. It's looked for a while like Shelley will kick anything inside of 35 yards, and he had a great day doing that on Saturday. Foster made both of his easy kicks, and went 1/2 from 52 yards. That's about as good as you can really expect from a freshman kicker. We've not seen anything from the punters yet, but reports indicate that Jay Williams and Cody Mandell are still battling it out.
All in all, Coach Saban seemed much more pleased with the overall effort and the improvement from scrimmage one to scrimmage two. That's exactly what you want to hear... the team is getting better. The good news is that the first game shouldn't pose quite the same challenge as the past two years. With all due respect to San Jose State, a home game against them isn't quite the same as a neutral site game against a preseason top ten opponent (Clemson in 2008 and Virginia Tech in 2009). So Bama should have an actual game to use as a tune-up for Penn State. Though as Coach Stallings used to say, "If you don't think these games are important, just go out and lose one."
Bama will take Sunday and Monday off before beginning game preparations on Tuesday. I would expect the staff will use next week to make any personnel moves, and we'll get a depth chart as a part of the game notes on the following Monday. We'll have our normal reports.
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