Alabama's Second Scrimmage Improved

Alabama went through its second scrimmage of the spring at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday, and Alabama Coach Nick Saban gave it the stamp of approval that would be most desired of a second scrimmage. "I was really more pleased today," he said. "I think we made a lot of improvement from last week to this week."

Alabama is now one week from completion of spring football practice. The A-Day Game will be next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Coach Nick Saban said that he saw improvement in "our ability to sustain the kind of effort, play with the kind of toughness, had a little bit better execution, a little more consistency, probably made less mental errors. All in all, the toughness was better, the tackling was better."

The coach said that passing was the highlight of offensive play. "We still threw the ball effectively," he said. "We didn't run it quite as well. But we were playing against each other. That means the other team (defense) played a little better, and they are part of the team, too."

In the quarterback battle, A.J. McCarron completed 19 of 40 passes for 255 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, while Phillip Sims was 19-34 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Saban said, "I From a QB standpoint, I thought both guys played and did good things today. I think that statistically, it really doesn't matter much right now because we do so much situations between goal line, red zone. A guy might throw four touchdown passes but if you put the ball on the 18-yard line he can throw two of them then, which means he's throwing well, but doesn't necessarily mean they were big plays or whatever.

"I think the statistics are not indicative of the competition at the position. Both guys are doing a really good job and both guys will be helpful to helping us win."

Trent Richardson led the runners with 13 carries for 44 yards, followed by Dee Hart with 13 carries for 41 yards, Jalston Fowler with 10 carries for 23 yards and two touchdowns, and Eddie Lacy 8-22 and a touchdown.

Saban said, "Trent Richardson really had a good day even though the run statistics don't really bear it out for him, in terms of 13 carries for 44 yards. But he did a great job in terms of the passing game, was a real threat for us in so many different ways. I thought he played extremely well today."

Saban said, "Darius Hanks had a good day today. Hanks and Richardson are probably the two guys that caught the most passes and made some big plays. A guy who has made some plays in practice and has made significant improvement is DeAndrew White. He's got a lot of ability, he's got a lot of speed, and he's getting more comfortable and confident in what he is supposed to do, so he is a guy who that has some explosive pop to him and make plays to become a consistent player. We're not disappointed in the progress of the group, but we still have a ways to go."

Hanks had six receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns, Richardson six catches for 87 yards, White five for 85 yards and a touchdown, Marquis Maze five for 73 and two touchdowns, tight end Brian Vogler four for 36, tailback Corey Grant 2-34, tight end Harrison Jones 2-22, tight end Brad Smelley 2-21, and tight end Michael Williams 3-17.  

Here are the touchdown plays:

Maze 2-yard pass from McCarron – PAT Cade Foster, good; Will Lowery 51-yard interception return; Jeremy Shelley 43-yard FG; Foster 50-yard FG; Hanks 68-yard pass from Sims – Foster PAT, good; Hanks 18-yard pass from McCarron – No PAT attempted; Foster 30-yard FG; Hanks 7-yard pass from McCarron, No PAT attempted; White 18-yard from Sims – PAT Shelley, good; Lacy 3-yard run; Fowler 2-yard run; Fowler 1-yard run; Shelley 25-yard FG; Maze 36-yard pass from McCarron.

On field goals, Foster made from 50 and 30 and missed from 48 and 58. Shelley made from 43 and 25 and missed from 30.

Saban said, "(Linebacker) Dont'a Hightower showed some leadership out there today. Probably led the team in tackles. Though we didn't have as many sacks today, there were a lot of pressures.  We probably did a better job of making them throw the ball on time. I thought all in all we played a little better."

He added that linebackers Courtney Upshaw and C.J. Mosley had also done well.

Hightower led the Tide with 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. Upshaw was in on seven tackles, one for loss, and also had a sack. Mosley was in on seven tackles and broke up two passes. Safety Robert Lester had six tackles, one for loss, and a pass break-up; safety Mark Barron had four tackles, a pass break up and a sack; cornerback Dequan Menzie four tackles and a pass break up; linebacker Trey DePriest four gtackles, two for loss; linebacker Ed Stinson, four tackles one for loss; cornerback Dee Milliner four tackles; and end Quinton Dial four tackles and a sack.

Saban said, "We didn't have quite as many big (offensive) plays today, which is probably a good thing, but we still had a few. And that's still a few too many for the defense. Something we really want to get better at on offense is explosive plays. We were good at that last week but the defense did a little better job today. Hopefully we'll be able to continue to make big plays on offense."

Saban noted that work this week had included a look ahead to 2011 opponents and the schemes Bama will prepare for those games. "We'll continue that on Tuesday and Thursday," Saban said. Those two practices and the A-Day Game are all that remain of spring practice.

"We have lots of things that we still want to accomplish this spring," Saban said. "I think we have a chance to have a good football team, but I also think that's pretty much up to the players' willingness to make a commitment to do the things they need to do to earn--earn--it everyday. That means finishing spring well, having a great summer, getting well prepared in fall camp for the season.

"And we're going to have some young guys that need to continue to make progress. And we have some older guys that continue to provide leadership to help there as well. But all in all, I thought there was quite a bit of improvement from this week to last week."

We didn't get anybody injured out there today. Dre (cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick) was in a black shirt because he sprained his thumb pretty bad so they put a big club on it. But he really has been able to practice and not have an issue or problem. It's kind of hard to evaluate sometimes we get so many guys in the secondary with black shirts on what the tackling really is like on the perimeter. All you can really evaluate is are they in position to make plays."

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