Running Backs the Story

There was both heartache and exhilaration from Alabama's two-hour and 25 minute first football scrimmage of the young season Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. And that was just from the running backs.

First the bad news.

Sophomore running back Glen Coffee had to be helped off the field after he took a blow to the knee after receiving a screen pass early in the scrimmage.

Mike Shula said Coffee's knee injury "appears to be the most serious" injury of the day.

Coffee will get an MRI scan on the knee tomorrow which will establish the severity of the injury. Coffee laid on the trainer's table on the sideline for a while, then was helped off the field before the scrimmage halftime.

True freshman Terry Grant stole the spotlight from his elder teammates, providing the big-play pop for the offense. He ripped off an impressive, slashing, meandering touchdown run of 50 yards against the first defense, and followed it up with a straight-ahead speed burst up the gut on a delay handoff for a 46-yard score.

"He hadn't had a lot of opportunities prior to today," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said. "He's a neat kid. He's very mature, very conscientious and very fast.

Grant finished the scrimmage at an 11-yard-per-carry clip, totaling 13 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

Wallace Gilberry went out with an injury to his neck after making a hit, and Jamie Christensen was hobbled with a hip injury, about which Shula said, "Hopefully, it's not bad. I don't think it is."

Keith Brown (concussion), Ali Sharrief (concussion) and Brandon Fanney (neck) were held out of the scrimmage due to injuries from previous days.

The scrimmage was set up for the first-team offense to go against the second-team defense, and vice versa.

Andre Smith took some snaps with the first-team offensive line at left tackle, and Chris Capps moved from left tackle to right tackle for a couple of series with the first team.

First-team quarterback John Parker Wilson was sacked twice in the scrimmage,and hurried twice.

Offensive line coach Bob Connelly said the pass protection went "fairly well, but not good enough. Andre (Smith) is still learning the schemes so he was behind on that level, but physically I thought he did well."

Joe Kines said the defense's focus at the first scrimmage was "up and down."

Grant was one of four running backs who scored touchdowns for the offense. Tim Castille found the end zone on an 11-yard run, Kenneth Darby scored on a 10-yard run and Jimmy Johns had a six yard touchdown run in the scrimmage.

John Parker Wilson had three touchdown passes, two to Matt Caddell for 33 yards pass and 11 yards. Wilson also threw a 28-yard pass to DJ Hall for a score, and also had one pass intercepted.


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