Passing Takes Over Saturday Scrimmage

The Alabama football team scrimmaged for about 100 plays Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium, in a day controlled by the defense, especially the first-teamers, before some late passing strikes from the offense.

As was the case during Monday's scrimmage, the second team offense worked against the first team defense, and vice versa. The second offense went three and out on the first series, and Grant had an 11 yard run on the second series before the defense made stopped their progress again.

In the third full series the starting defense was on the field, end Wallace Gilberry recorded a sack, a quarterback hurry and two tackles, including one in the backfield snuffing out a Marc Guillon shovel pass to Ali Sharrief.

The first scoring of the scrimmage wasn't made by the offense, but on an 85-yard punt returned for a touchdown by freshman Javier Arenas. Arenas displayed the speed and elusiveness that makes him attractive to the coaches as a punt returner, but later showed what might give them heartburn with a muff later in the scrimmage. Simeon Castille also returned a punt Saturday, for about 15 yards.

John Parker Wilson carried the offense on a 67-yard drive to its first touchdown completing four passes and scrambling for a six yard gain in the series. He opened the drive with a 20-yard strike over the middle to D.J. Hall, who made a diving grab. With second down and two yards to go from the 25 yard line, he slipped a pass past Simeon Castille to Keith Brown on a post pattern for the 25-yard score.

Wilson had one stretch of six completions in a row for 86 combined yards, adding in two scrambling runs totaling 15 yards. The streak ended when a tipped pass was intercepted by Eryk Anders. Wilson hit Brown for a 34-yard touchdown pass later in the scrimmage.

On the day, Wilson was 14 of 21 for 173 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Brown was the leading receiver with five for 92 yards (two touchdowns) and Ali Sharrief was the leading rusher, with 12 carries for 40 yards. Most of the scrimmage was spent passing.

The first string defense didn't give up a touchdown this week, after allowing freshman Terry Grant a long touchdown run on Monday. Grant had 7 rushes for 23 yards. Roy Upchurch had 8 for 34 yards, including a touchdown. Upchurch had three straight runs for 36 yards in one series, capped with a five yard touchdown. His was the only rushing touchdown of the day. He fumbled once.

Greg McElroy's 20-yard pass to Darwin Salaam late in the day capped the scoring.

Leigh Tiffin connected on a 37 yard field goal, and three PATs. He missed two field goals, also. Andrew Freidman converted one PAT.

Scrimmage Stats:
Passing (Comp-Att.-Yds): John Parker Wilson (14-21-173, 2 TD, INT); Marc Guillon (6-15-27); Jimmy Barnes (3-8-23); Greg McElroy (2-6-29, TD).

Receiving (Rec.-Yds): Keith Brown (5-92, 2 TD); Darwin Salaam (3-37, TD); DJ Hall (2-28); Nick Walker (2-19); Travis McCall (2-17); Danny Barger (2-17); Matt Caddell (2-11); Terry Grant (2-7); Tim Castille (1-14); Mike McCoy (1-9); Patrick Hanrahan (1-6); Charles Hoke (1-5); John Parker Wilson (1-minus 1); Ali Sharrief (1-minus 2)

Rushing (Att.-Yds): Ali Sharrief (12-40); Roy Upchurch (8-34, TD); Terry Grant (7-23); Tim Castille (3-12); Le'Ron McClain (1-3)

Defensive Leaders:

Freshman defensive back Sam Burnthall led the defense with five tackles. Senior linebacker Juwan Simpson and senior defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry had four tackles each.

Sophomore defensive lineman Bobby Greenwood had two sacks, while junior defensive back Simeon Castille and Gilberry had one sack each. Sophomore defensive back Cory Reamer had two fumble recoveries. Chris Rogers had three tackles and a pass break-up. Alabama will hold its next practice on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. The Crimson Tide will hold its final two-a-day practice session on Monday, Aug. 21 at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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