Squad Gets Scrimmage Ready

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula shortened practice on Friday in anticipation of the first full scrimmage scheduled for Saturday morning at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide practiced in shorts and shoulder pads for approximately an hour and a half in a spirited workout.

"The tough thing about today was being in shorts for the first time in a while after a few days in full pads. It was a good practice - good as far as the energy level. The execution wasn't where we wanted it to be," Shula said.

Shula said the greatest difference from this spring to last spring has been the benefit of continuity of the program and offensive and defensive schemes.

"The biggest area where we've made strides is that guys know the system now in all three phases. There is a lot less thinking going on. We're starting to see more guys stepping up who I think are going to show us they're ready to play. Guys like Antoine Caldwell and Nick Walker," Shula said.

Saturday's scrimmage will be approximately 80 plays, with an even split between first team players and reserves. There will not be much special teams work, Shula said.

John Parker Wilson figures to take a majority of the snaps at quarterback tomorrow, and he could wind up taking nearly all of the plays in the scrimmage. Shula said Marc Guillon has been improved lately but Shula will wait to see how his is tomorrow.

"We're going to try to get him in there and see how he's feeling," Shula said. "Today he was okay but I wouldn't want to put him in there if he's not ready. If he doesn't there will be a lot of reps for number 14 (Wilson)."

Guillon said, "I'm going to do everything I can do, which is pretty much everything. My back feels good. I'm almost 100 per cent."

Brodie Croyle will not participate in any scrimmage work.

On defense, coordinator Joe Kines has a pretty good idea of what his starters are capable of, and is looking for others who are ready to play.

"The practices have been pretty good, so now we need to see how we play," Kines said. "We need to see where everybody is no matter where they play – not just the starters. Everybody is going to get a good shot tomorrow."

Shula said Kenneth Darby's rehabilitation after surgery for a sports hernia should last about two months, one month of which he will not participate in any strenuous activity.

"After that we'll ease him into it," Shula said.

"We're looking for guys who can show us what they have shown in practice in a game-like situation without the coaches on the field and be able to keep their composure," Shula said. "We have some young guys and we want to see if they can keep their poise."

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