Upchurch and Down Day for Offense

A burst of speed an some shifty lateral movement from halfback Roy Upchurch proved to be the bright spot in what was otherwise a rather dreary outing for the Alabama offense Saturday during the Tide's first all-out scrimmage Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Running with the second-string offense, Roy Upchurch broke off a 44-yard run on his third carry of the afternoon to score the first of just two touchdowns for the first and second team offensive units. Upchurch finished the day with 76 yards rushing on 16 carries. He had two rushing touchdowns and added 17 yards on a screen play to round out the day.

"I snuck one in on the defense and I tried to get some more in on them," Upchurch said. "We've still got a lot more practices and hopefully I can get a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable. I came in as a freshman and really didn't know what I was doing, so I had to get some trust built with the offensive line. Now I trust them and I just do what the coaches ask me to do."

Although Upchurch had a good day on the ground, he was still critical of his own performance, especially in pass-blocking.

"I still have a lot of improving to do," he said. "It's the spring. I have to really attack things instead of being tentative, and be more patient in the run game. Attack the linebackers blitzing."

Kenneth Darby, who started the scrimmage and finished with 11 carries for 16 yards had the other touchdown between the first two offensive units, scoring on a two-yard run that was set up by a 45-yard Marc Guillon to Keith Brown pass.

Unfortunately, halfback Ali Sharrief had an injury shortened scrimmage, gaining with 31 yards on his only carry. He went out of the lineup with a hamstring injury after the lone carry.

For the quarterbacks, it was a subpar day.

"This was not a typical day for us," Alabama Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader said of the Bama quarterbacks. "We missed more than we've been missing – that's what it seems. I'm anxious to watch the tape and see how it turns out. I've been pleased with the way they're progressing through the spring. We needed more consistency today."

The 45-yarder to Marc Guillon was the long passing play of the day. Guillon finished 4-of-14 passing for 62 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. Wilson, at 9-of-22 for 96 yards, had a higher completion percentage, but also threw two interceptions.

"We can play better there and we're going to have to play better there to be the team we want to be," Rader said. "It just seemed like today was not our best day, that's for sure."

Neither quarterback made a move on the other in the first scrimmage. Asked how far apart Guillon and Wilson were from one another, Rader said, "It's hard to quantify that. John Parker is number one and Marc has been playing better than he ever has for us. They both have been progressing nicely. John Parker has been a little more consistent and I'm fired up about both of them right now."

Third-string quarterback Jimmy Barnes was a solid 2-for-3, and tossed the only touchdown of the day, a 27-yarder to walk-on receiver Darwin Salaam. Salaam finished the day with two catches, both from Barnes, for 37 yards. He joined Nick Walker and Brown as the only players with more than one catch. Brown had two receptions for 62 yards and Walker ahd two for 40 yards.

The Tide will practice next on Tuesday followed by another scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium next Thursday. That is the final practice before The University's spring break.

Passing (Comp-Att-Yds): John Parker Wilson (9-22-96, 2 INT) ; Marc Guillon (4-14-62); Jimmy Barnes (2-3-37, TD)

Rushing (Att-yds): Roy Upchurch (16-76, 2 TD); Ali Sharrief (1-31); Max Martin (7-25); Kenneth Darby (11-16); Theo Townsend (4-9); Johns 7-10

Receiving (rec-yds): Keith Brown (2-62); Nick Walker (2-40); Darwin Salaam (2-37, TD); Roy Upchurch (1-17); Nikita Stover (1-10); Matt Caddell (1-8)

Placekicking: Jamie Christensen (3-3) made: 36, 40, 44, PAT Andrew Friedman: (1-2) made; 35, PAT, (35-yard FGA was blocked)

Defensive Stats:
Bryan Kilpatrick 6 tackles, PBU, blocked field goal; Marcel Stamps 6 tackles; Eric Gray 5 tackles, INT; Juwan Simpson: 4 tackles; Darren Mustin 4 tackles, TFL; Courtney Moore 1tackle; Jeremy Clark 2 tackles; Simeon Castille 1 tackle, sack, PBU; Jeffrey Dukes 4 tackles, INT, TFL; Lionel Mitchell 3 tackles, QBH, PBU; Marcus Carter 3 tackles, TFL; Prince Hall 3 tackles, PBU; Forress Rayford 1 QBH; Trent Dean 1 tackle; Sam Burnthall 1 tackle; Demarcus Waldrop 2 tackles, TFL, PBU; Zach Schreiber 1 tackle, TFL, PBU; Rashad Johnson 3 tackles, TFL; Terrence Jones 3 tackles; Matt Collins 3 tackles; J.P. Adams 2 tackles, sack; Zeke Knight 2 tackles, QBH; Chris Harris 2 tackles, QBH; Bobby Greenwood 2 tackles; Keith Saunders 3 tackles, sack, PBU; Brandon Deaderick 2 tackles, 2 sacks; Dominic Lee 2 tackles, sack; Lorenzo Washington 1 tackle, TFL.

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