Bama Has Impressive Scrimmage

Alabama's football team had its first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, and Head Coach Dennis Franchione liked what he saw in the two-and-a-half -hour work at Bryant-Denny Stadium. While the defense dominated, there were also impressive sparks from offensive players, including all three quarterbacks.

Franchione said, "I really thought there was a lot of upside, a lot of good things. We had 140 scrimmage snaps and we had two turnovers and seven or eight penalties. I thought we had good communications, particularly playing as many as we did."

He added, "It was probably as physical as you could expect, and maybe more than you could expect, particularly for a first scrimmage."

It was a hot, humid day, but other than a very light sprinkle near the end of the workout heavy rains in the area did not affect the practice. "It was really taxing heat-wise, and we held up well," Franchione said.

There was not much scoring in the game. First team quarterback Tyler Watts, working with the first offense primarily against the first defense, directed his team to 10 points. Brian Bostick connected on a 47-yard field goal for the first points by the first offense. Theo Sanders, ordinarily a tight end but working out of a fullback position much of Saturday, had a 12-yard touchdown burst for the first group. Regular first team fullback Donnie Lowe missed the scrimmage because of a slight concussion.

Brodie Croyle had the second offense working against the second defense and produced one touchdown, a two-yard pass to Dre Fulgham to cap a nice 65-yard drive. Croyle had a nice 15-yard pass to Shaud Williams and Ray Hudson had a 20-yard run in the drive.

Spencer Pennington directed the first score of the scrimmage as his work with the third offense resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Mike McLaughlin.

Franchione said, "I was pleased overall with the play of the quarterbacks. They missed a few things, but all-in-all all three did some things. I think it was a particularly valuable day for Brodie and Spencer. Even though the defense was kind of dominant, the only turnover by the quarterbacks was one interception, and that was a great play by Waine Bacon." The coach noted that Croyle is ahead of Pennington primarily because Croyle has been at Alabama since prior to last spring training and Pennington only since last fall. "But," Franchione said, "Spencer is doing a good job. I'm encouraged by his performance."

Watts completed seven of 17 passes for 93 yards, Croyle 10 of 17 for 95 yards (with one touchdown and one interception), and Pennington five of 13 for 94 yards.

Santonio Beard was the leading rusher in the scrimmage with five carries for 50 yards. Ahmaad Galloway had eight carries for 42 yards, and Josh Smith five for 41 yards. The A-backs, Shaud Williams and Ray Hudson, both had notable plays. Hudson finished with four rushes for 37 yards, Williams six for 31 yards. Franchione said the scrimmage "showcased the A-Backs a little. We're teaching them to do everything from tailback to wide receiver." The coach noted that "Hudson is the fastest back we have, maybe the fastest guy we have on the team."

Fulgham had four catches for 41 yards, Triandos Luke two for 30 yards, tight end Clint Johnston two for 26 yards, Antonio Carter (who was used very little) two for 16.

Bacon was one of a handful of defensive players Franchione mentioned as standing out. He also noted the work of defensive tackle Jarret Johnson, and linebackers Brooks Daniels, Cornelius Wortham, and Marvin Brown. Brown, a senior who has previous a fullback, was described by Franchione as "certainly one of the most physical players on the team. He likes to hit."

Brown has gotten a great deal of practice work at his new middle linebacker position this spring. Middle linebacker is important because Saleem Rasheed, the three-year starter, elected to pass up his senior year to enter the NFL draft. The man expected to take over middle linebacker, redshirt freshman Freddie Roach, has missed several days this spring after suffering a slight concussion on the first day of practice. Roach was back and had a handful of noticeable hits. Franchione said, "We're excited about Freddie. I saw him make some hits, but he's a little behind because of the work he's missed."

Franchione said, "This scrimmage was a lot better than the first one we had last year. I can't say where we are compared to where we were when we played in the Independence Bowl at the end of last season, but we're a lot better football team today than we were at this time last year."

The Tide coach was asked about the battle of the field goal kickers, and said only that, "We made some and we missed a few. It was good to get a look at all of them in different situations." In addition to the made field goals by Bostick and McLaughlin, McLaughlin was just short on a 47-yard try and Bostick was wide left on a 42-yard effort. Michael Ziifle didn't try a field goal in the scrimmage, but hit both extra points.

Ziifle was also used as a punter and had four punts for just under a 30-yard average. Returning punter Lane Bearden had one punt for 43 yards, one for 22.


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