Guillon Gets High Practice Marks

As has been the case for nearly two weeks, and will likely continue as the main topic of conversation around Alabama football, the talk following Thursday's Crimson Tide workout was of quarterback Marc Guillon. And the verdict is that he has had a good week and Bama has had a good week.

Alabama will play its second game with sophomore Marc Guillon at quarterback Saturday. The Tide will host South Carolina in a Southeastern Conference game. Kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at 5 p.m. CDT with national television coverage by the cable network ESPN2. Both teams are 3-1 overall and 1-1 in SEC play.

Following a 75-minute workout Thursday, Coach Mike Shula said, "We had a good day today. We did some good things on both sides of the ball. Marc had another good day. The receivers had a good day today. The timing looked better."

Shula is frequently asked about "checks," or audible calls by Alabama quarterbacks. He and the quarterbacks have made it clear over the past year-plus that the Bama offensive system does not involve a lot of play-changes at the line of scrimmage. "Some systems do a lot of checking and some do very little, and I would say we are between them," Shula said. "On the road, we don't do as much because it's more difficult (owing to interference from crowd noise). At home we'll do more. Marc can handle all of our checks."

Although Guillon got almost all practice time with the first unit on the critical Tuesday and Wednesday practice days, as is usually the case back-up quarterback Spencer Pennington got more work than usual (but not more work than Guillon) in Thursday's practice. And Shula said that Pennington had a good day.

Shula noted that the Thursday practice is "to tie up all the loose ends" and make corrections of any mistakes made in earlier work.

Shula said the only questionable performer for Saturday is freshman cornerback Simeon Castille, who is nursing a sore knee. Shula said Castille likely would play, but the staff will "keep a close eye on him."

Shula said that the kicking game "is a point of emphasis" in practice every week, but said even more work had been done this week, particularly in covering punts and downing punts. Bama missed a couple of opportunities to pin Arkansas deep in a loss to the Razorbacks in Fayetteville last week.

The head coach said that, "This week was the best our scout team has ever practiced, which is good. They gave us a lot of energy."

Shula said South Carolina is "playing with a lot of confidence. They have a lot of seniors and good leadership. And they don't make mistakes, give up things. They are not quite as predictable as some teams because they do different things out of the same look."

Alabama will have its normal walk-through on the practice fields Friday. South Carolina, unlike most visiting teams, will not have a walk-through at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Gamecocks are staying in Birmingham.

Following practice, Shula spent some time with former Alabama Coach Bill Curry, who will be providing color analysis of Saturday's game. Curry and ESPN2 play-by-play announcer Gary Bender met with the Tide coach.


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