Several offensive players stepped up

The stars of Saturday's scrimmage were obvious, including most of the skill players on the Crimson squad. <br><br>But in addition to the high-profile athletes, several lesser-known players seized the A-Day spotlight, impressing the coaches with their ability to step up and perform in a game-like environment.

Given the way the squads were divided, the game's outcome was a forgone conclusion. Though fans still enjoyed the outstanding performances turned in by players like Brodie Croyle, Triandos Luke, Shaud Williams and Zach Fletcher, in this article we won't talk about the solid starters that played well. Instead we'll focus on athletes that improved their stock through their on-the-field moment in the spotlight.

Plenty powerful to block, Johnston proved Saturday he could catch as well.

In truth all four Tide tight ends have enjoyed a good spring, but most of the recent attention has focused on David Cavan--a tall, rangy athlete who is ideally suited for the new Bama offense. But Saturday a name from last year had his day.

Clint Johnston caught three passes for 47 yards, including an impressive effort in which he adjusted his route as his quarterback scrambled, working his way free in the end zone where Brodie Croyle found him for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

A warrior in the weight room, Johnston (6-4, 248) is obviously an effective blocker. But he proved Saturday that he's not simply a muscle-bound, slow-footed lineman. Showing excellent ability to catch the football, Johnston is also a threat running pass routes and deserves to be an integral part of next year's offense.

Matt Miller is a former quarterback.

To one degree or another improvement is always a relative thing, but walk-on receiver/athlete Matt Miller (6-2, 207) clearly helped himself Saturday. Playing for the White squad, which meant he was matched up against the first-team defense, Miller caught one pass for 19 yards, leading his squad in that category. But he also showed his very good athleticism, returning two kickoffs for a total of 40 yards.

Matt's brother, Marc Miller, was also a walk-on, playing quarterback and safety during his career at The Capstone. In fact both brothers started their Tide careers at quarterback before moving to other positions.

Matt and Marc are the sons of former Tide linebacker Noah Dean Miller (1973). Entering Dental School next fall, Marc's Crimson career is finished, but his younger brother appears poised to at least take his place as a valuable role player for the Tide.

Brian Bostick had a good day.

Brian Bostick's placekicking performance Saturday wasn't really a surprise--but it was definitely reassuring to both fans and coaches alike. He and Kyle Robinson had established themselves as essentially co-starters earlier in the spring. But Bostick (5-9, 216) took the first field goal kick, indicating he entered A-Day perhaps a shade ahead of Robinson.

Bostick had a very good scrimmage. For the day he attempted two field goals, one from 36 and the other from 19 yards, making both. Bostick was successful on his one extra point attempt, and he also did a serviceable job on his kickoff efforts.

His chance involved a poor snap, but Robinson missed his one field goal attempt. The final decision is far from made, but Bostick did nothing to hurt himself Saturday in the race to see who will handle Bama's placekicking duties next fall.


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