Tide Offense Finds Light

Freshman quarterback John Parker Wilson showed the type of progression Alabama coaches were hoping for, completing 14-of-26 pass attempts for 160 yards against the first-string defense Saturday morning at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

I'm getting more familiar with our offense and every day the game is slowing down for me. We're playing against an extremely good defense every day. It's tough but it's a good thing," Wilson said. "We talked to Coach Rader at the halftime I think the whole offense just settled down."

Wilson was sacked by Mark Anderson on the first play of the scrimmage before completing his first four pass attempts in the 96-play scrimmage. The first string offense managed two first downs and 30 yards on the first series before the defense stalled the drive.

Tyrone Prothro made the most exciting of his four catches on a third-and-seven play in the first drive.

Wilson escaped pressure on the play before lobbing a pass to Prothro 10 yards downfield who leapt among a crowd of defenders and made an acrobatic catch before coming down with his foot just inches inside the out-of-bounds chalk.

"Any time the ball is thrown my way I try to make a play. I want the ball in my hands as much as I can get it," Prothro said.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said, "Offensively, I think there was some good individual efforts. Overall, we were not consistent enough in moving the football. You'd like to get the ball in the end zone. Hopefully we will improve more next week and it will show up at the A-Day game. (Offensive football is about) 11 guys having to do things right, otherwise it's not going to be what you want. We did have some guys make some plays, like Prothro, and we need to continue as an offense. Our receivers are all going to be good playmakers for us. We just need to be more consistent."

Wilson connected on five of his final six passes in the scrimmage including the only two touchdowns for the first-team offense. Wilson had two interceptions on the scrimmage – one by Ramzee Robinson on a long pass attempt and another by Mark Anderson on an attempted shovel pass.

"He's a guy who has improved from (last) Saturday to (this) Saturday. He made some really good throws," Alabama offensive coordinator Dave Rader said.

Anderson turned up-field with running room approximately 60 yards from the end zone but the play was whistled dead by the officials.

Prothro finished the scrimmage the leader in receiving yardage with 86 yards on four catches. Prothro also had a 29-yard reception nullified by a holding penalty in the early stages of the scrimmage.

Wilson hit Prothro on a bomb down the right sideline for a 66-yard touchdown late in the day for the biggest offensive play. Four plays later he completed a 10-yard fade pass to sophomore Zeke Knight to end the scrimmage.

"On one of the first plays of the scrimmage we had a penalty and we waited to come back to that play. John Parker put the ball in a great spot for me to go get it and the offensive line blocked well," he said.

Knight finished with five catches for 49 yards.

"Those two really stood out today," Rader said of Prothro and Knight. "We made a concentrated effort to get the ball to Tyrone and he came through for us."

Marc Guillon led the second-team and completed 7-of-14 pass attempts for 73 yards.

The bulk of the rushing yardage came off two big plays from scrimmage. Theo Townsend had a 52-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-one against reserve defenders, and Aaron Johns had a 30-yard scamper agains the first team. Townsend finished with 58 yards on nine carries and Johns had 53 total yards on 13 attempts.

Rashad Johnson had 11 yards on six carries. Johnson and Johns rotated plays with the first unit while Townsend worked with the reserves.

Alabama had 95 net rushing yards for the scrimmage, but 42 rushing yards were lost on quarterback sacks.

Brodie Croyle was medically cleared for full participation earlier this week but he was held out of full-contact duty by Shula to protect the knee he injured in 2004. Shula said Croyle will not participate in any team situations and will not play in the Alabama's A-Day game next week.

Defensively, Keith Saunders led the squad in tackles with nine and two sacks. Juwan Garth led the first-team defense with seven tackles, two for loss and one quarterback hurry. Terrence Jones had five tackles, two for loss and one sack.

The defense again looked pretty good," Shula said. "We are seeing more guys that we know we are going to need to play step up and play well. Terrence Jones is one of those guys for sure. We are getting ready to look at Matt Collins as our backup Mike (or middle) linebacker. He got a lot of reps today. Freddie (Roach) did not go ( due to a groin injury on Friday). Marcus Carter had a real good week. Overall, defensively, I think we are pretty pleased with how things went today."

Starting middle linebacker Freddie Roach did not participate in Saturday's scrimmage after pulling groin muscle on Friday. Also missing Saturday's scrimmage because of injury were tight end Nick Walker (bruised knee), kicker Jamie Christianson (groin), guard B.J. Stabler (knee) and back-up corner Eric Gray (hamstring), defensive tackle Dominic Lee (foot surgery).

Scrimmage Stats:

Passing (Comp-Att-yds): John Parker Wilson (14-26-160, 2 TD, 2 INT); Marc Guillon (7-14-73); Adam Thrash (1-2-49)

Total: 22-42-284, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing (Att - yds): Theo Townsend (9-58, TD); Aaron Johns (13-53); Rashad Johnson (6-11); Trevino Pope (10-15); Adam Thrash (2-minus 12); John Parker Wilson (6-minus13); Marc Guillon (3-minus 17)

Total: 49-95, TD

Receiving (Rec-Yds): Zeke Knight (5-49, TD); Tyrone Prothro (4-86, TD); Keith Brown (3-25); Matt Miller (2-28); Patrick Gordon (1-49); Greg McLain (1-13); DJ Hall (1-9); Trent Davidson (1-8); Kyle Bennett (1-7); Mookie Chaney (1-6) Theo Townsend (1-5); Le'Ron McClain (1-1)

Defensive Leaders: Keith Saunders (9 tackles, 2 sacks); Juwan Garth (7 tackles, 2 TFL, QBH); Terrence Jones (5 tackles, 2 TFL, sack); Charlie Peprah (5 tackles); Matt Collins (5 tackles); Mark Anderson (4 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, INT); Roman Harper (4 tackles, TFL); Rudy Griffin (2 tackles, sack); Ramzee Robinson (tackle, sack, INT)

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