Solid Scrimmage for Barnes

The quarterback dilemma for Alabama didn't get any easier after Saturday's scrimmage, as neither John Parker Wilson nor Marc Gullon separated themselves from the other. The most impressive quarterback might actually have been third-teamer Jimmy Barnes. He didn't receive as many reps as the other two, but he took advantage of what he was given.

Jimmy Barnes led the Tide to two scores on the day. The first two time it was Roy Upchurch pounding in a touchdown runs, but Barnes' highlight came in the second half when he hooked up with walk-on receiver Darwin Salaam for a 27-yard touchdown strike. Barnes was 2 for 3 in the scoring drive, and his only incompletion was a pass batted at the line of scrimmage by Byron Walton.

"I saw they were in cover three, and they rolled over away from where I was throwing it," The redshirt freshman Barnes said. "I had one-on-one with a tall guy, and [Salaam] went up and made the play for me."

Barnes' quarterbacking competition had what offensive coordinator Dave Rader called one of their worst performances of the spring. Wilson was 9 of 22 for 96 yards and two interceptions, while Guillon was just 4 of 14 for 62 yards. Barnes finished the afternoon at 2 of 3 for 37 yards.

"Jimmy keeps throwing touchdown passes," Rader said. "I like the way he's progressing, and I like the way he's learning the offense. He has to feel very good about how he's coming along. I hope his confidence level is very high right now."

As the third-team quarterback, Barnes knows the next week's practice repetitions could hinge on his scrimmage performances.

"If I go out here and not do so well, I expect not to get more reps in practice," Barnes said. "If I come out here and throw touchdown passes and get the running game going by making checks then it makes me feel like I have a better chance to at least compete."

Barnes' speed and foot work were a stumbling block on his arrival in Tuscaloosa, and a bout with mononucleosis last fall slowed his progression in that area even more.

"The main thing is working on my footwork every day," Barnes said. "When I set up good and drop back good, I throw the ball well.

"There's always good competition out here. Most days they are better than me, and some days I am better than they are. It's like everybody takes their turn being the best on different days. I'm just competing, and that's all I'm out here to do."


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