Turnaround

On the 42nd play of Alabama's 75-play scrimmage Tuesday, Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro proved he was human. He dropped a pass.

Alabama Offensive Coordinator was the one who pointed out that "Tyrone Prothro proved he was human when he dropped a pass." A few days earlier that line might have been part of a morose post-mortem of the Crimson Tide scrimmage. On a day in which the offense had rebounded from a dismal day to a decent day, it was part of the relieved light-heartedness in the Bama offensive camp.

That dropped pass was one of three times Prothro touched the ball Tuesday. The other two were much better. He caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brodie Croyle and in punting drills he returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown.

"I feel a lot better than I did last Saturday," said Prothro following Tuesday's work. He said it had been the goal of the offense to "start fast. We weren't as focused as we should have been last Saturday. People who saw us last Saturday saw a slow start. But I knew even last Saturday we were close to doing some good things."

The junior wide receiver said, "We have improved at every position this fall, but there is always room for more improvement. We're not happy with where we are because we think we can have a great offensive unit and right now we're just pretty good."

Prothro said that just because the offense wanted to bounce back from Saturday's poor performance "doesn't make it automatic. We have to do things correctly. We have to run good routes. We have to have 100 per cent effort on every play. Everyone wanted to get it done, and then we executed."

Prothro said the Tide is coming out of fall camp and into "game week" in far better shape than has been the case the previous two years. "We know a lot more," he said. "Now we've had some time in the system and we know our assignments. We're way, way, way ahead of the first year (of the Mike Shula era in 2003) and way ahead of last year."

Prothro's touchdown pass in Tuesday's scrimmage was similar to several of his catches in the first scrimmage of the spring as he seemed to materialize behind the defense, an easy target for Croyle.

He said the punt return "was a set play. I caught the ball and the return was set up, so it was just a matter of running. I feel very confident about our return game."

Prothro, a 5-8, 175-pounder from Heflin, accounted for 973 all-purpose yards last season. He had 452 yards on kickoff returns, 347 yards receiving, 98 yards on punt returns, and 66 yards rushing. He had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Kentucky. He was second team All-SEC.


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