Franchione discusses 1st scrimmage

It was only the first scrimmage of fall--with all the drops, missed assignments and sometimes sloppy play that involves. But while recognizing the problems, Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione also saw things to encourage him. Below is a partial transcript of his comments to reporters after this morning's scrimmage.

WHAT ABOUT THE TAILBACKS? I think all of them did some good things. But I did see some explosive potential from Santonio (Beard) and Ray (Hudson). Ahmaad (Galloway) had a nice run or two. One time Brandon (Miree) tried to put too many moves on. He just needs to run North and South.

I think we're still a little guilty of trying to make 40 yards instead of 4. If we just try and make four, then we'll eventually make 40. We get too concerned about the big plays and not enough about the solid plays.

But they were encouraging. I'm certainly not disappointed. I'll be anxious to get some film on them and see how they blocked.

QUARTERBACKS HANDLING THE PRESSURE? It's important to make quicker reads. The quicker the throws get out of the quarterbacks' hands, then we can handle pressure easier.

WHAT ABOUT NEAL THOMAS? Neal is having a good camp. He's hitting the ball well. So I'm excited about that. I think we've got a guy that can get us three points most of the time when we get down there.

HAS THE OFFENSE PROGRESSED? I don't think there is any doubt we've progressed, but we're not good enough to beat anybody yet. But we have progressed.

AT WHAT POINT DO YOU EXPECT THE OFFENSIVE PLAYERS TO BE AT THE LEVEL YOU WANT? I think most fans are going to give me until September 1.

BUT IS THAT REALISTIC? No, not for our complete offense. We have installed just about everything, and we'll keep working it for a few days. And then eventually we'll have to condense, and condense more into what will be our first game gameplan. Then we'll build on that as the year goes along. There's no way we can go into the game with as much offense as we could have gone in last year. Three years in an offense, one year in an offense, that just doesn't correlate. We've got to be smart about that and try to give the guys as much as they can confidently execute. If they don't confident mentally, then they're not going to be very physical. And that's going to be one of the keys in how we juggle the next couple of weeks.

ANTWAN ODOM AND HIS SLEEP DISORDER? When I got here Antwan had not done very well academically the first semester. And sometime shortly after recruiting we were at the academic meeting and John Dever said that every instructor complains that Antwan sleeps in class. I said, ‘Everyone of them? I can see the nine o'clock class, but all of them?' So I suggested to Rodney Brown that maybe we ought to have him tested. I didn't know what we were testing him for, but it did sound kind of unusual.

So we had him tested. It turned out he had a sleep disorder, so we got a machine for him to sleep with. And I have seen a different person since then. He smiles, and he's fun to be around. He's obviously refreshed. He's put weight on, he's put strength on. This is an example to me of what college athletics can do for youngsters. Because we were monitoring his academic progress close enough, they found something that can obviously make a tremendous difference in this young man's life.

He had sleep apnia. I think he was only getting two hours of sleep a night, and even that wasn't a deep, consistent sleep. So you can just imagine what that was like.

THE DECISION ON REDSHIRTING BRODIE? We're not going to waste a year on just a few plays. We've got to determine how much he will be in the mix. I think it would be foolish on our part---and Brodie agrees with this---if we're going to play him, we need to play him.

ZOW AND WATTS TODAY? Without looking at the tape, I couldn't say one is ahead of the other. They're both in the same boat, and it's been that way for too long. We need somebody to get deeper in the boat or something. They both did some really good things, and they both did some things that weren't as good.

I wish we could get one to separate a little bit more, but we may not. Until I watch the tape, it's difficult. I don't have a feel that one has the edge over the other one.

WILL YOU DECIDE ON A STARTER AT THE SAME TIME YOU DECIDE ON REDSHIRTING BRODIE? I'm probably not going to tell you guys when I decide. I've got nothing against you guys, I just don't want to tell UCLA. I think the decision (on redshirting Croyle) will probably go into September. I don't think it's fair to tell him that after only 20 practices I'm going to make a decision. I think we need to grow and progress this first month, before we get to that decision.

WHAT ABOUT THE OFFENSIVE LINE? I think assignment-wise we're making some progress. Technique-wise we've got a lot of work to do without a doubt. A lot of work to do.

IS YOUR STARTING FIVE SOLID? Ain't nobody solid right now. There isn't anybody solid. You play the best players.

SECONDARY? I think they're farther along. We've seen some encouragement about them. We didn't give up a deep ball today. I didn't see them miss a lot of tackles today. And they've got some pretty good receivers to work against, so I think you could safely say that we're feeling a little bit better about them than the offensive line. But it only takes one or two guys to fall down or take a bad step and the scoreboard lights up.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IMPROVEMENT FROM 1ST TO 2ND SCRIMMATE? I think it's vital. That's what I told the kids when I talked about them afterwards. There were some good things, some ugly things. The effort was pretty good. The enthusiasm was good. They were not as physical as I want, but they were probably about as physical as you can expect after the first scrimmage. But the important issue is when we leave the next scrimmage can we say we have improved?

It's our job as coaches to go in and evaluate and make some points that we have to get improved by next Monday. From the first to second game you should make the most improvement, and hopefully from the first to the second scrimmage as well.

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