Players Comment On Spring Football

There's still one more practice -- and a steak dinner for some, a beans dinner for others -- but all in all, Alabama's football players are happy with the way spring practice, 2008 has gone.



Take Alabama senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, who is working with nearly a whole new receiving corps. "Mike (McCoy) and Earl (Alexander) both had good days," Wilson noted. "Darius Hanks looked good for the (white) team. The guys started making plays. We picked up the blitz." Wilson, who threw for three scores and 265 yards in the Crimson team's 24-14, win, has praised his young wide outs all spring,

Wilson also likes the tweaks new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has added.

"We'll continue to get it installed, and continue to get more advanced," he said. "We do some things differently (than last year), that allow for easier completions. When there's an opportunity, we take it. It's knowing when to take shots. When you get the ball to a playmaker like Terry Grant and he takes it 75 yards, that makes it easy.

"This is the best spring we've had since I've been here. There's more team unity, and everybody's on the same page."

Said junior receiver Mike McCoy, who gained 101 yards on six grabs: "I think we did pretty well. There were a lot of big opportunities that we let slip out (of our hands), but overall we had a pretty good day.

"I was just having fun. I didn't know I had over a hundred yards. Our younger guys, like (Darius) Hanks had an outstanding day, as well. (Marquis) Maze stepped up big, so we've got some play makers."

All-SEC center Antoine Caldwell feels the revamped Tide offensive line had a good spring, as well. "I think we did well. We had some turnovers, and we gave up a few sacks, but those things are going to happen in a scrimmage"

Caldwell says Tide fans shouldn't worry about the right tackle position currently being manned by junior Drew Davis. "I feel confident in Drew (Davis)," said Caldwell, who has seen Davis perform all spring. "He's a hard worker. I can't say enough good things about Drew Davis. He dedicates himself to this team."

Cory Reamer, a junior linebacker who played high school ball at Hoover with Wilson but opposed him today, said A-Day is always something players look forward to as a tough spring winds down.

"It brings out the competitive spirit. Everybody loves to go out in front of the fans and show them what we're all about. It‘s great," Reamer said, after leading the Whites with six tackles from his Will linebacker slot.

"The defense, the front, played really well on both sides," Reamer added. "A big goal was for the line to get back there and put pressure on the quarterbacks."

Wilson will enjoy a steak Tuesday night as a member of the winning Crimson team, but Reamer and senior safety Rashad Johnson of the White squad said he doesn't dread the beans he and his mates will receive.

"It isn't that bad. I've eaten them before," he smiled.

Johnson had reason to smile, as he finished the day with two interceptions he returned for a total of 47 yards.

Johnson, an All-SEC pick, knows good receivers when he sees them. Like Wilson, he likes what he sees of the Tide's young corps.

"When the ball went up in the air, they went up after it," he said. "They made some great plays today."

Another man who made some great plays was Alfred McCullough, winner of the media's votes for Dwight Stephenson Most Valuable Lineman award for the game.

"I thought Alfred McCullough had a great day," Johnson said. "We've seen him in practice, but the way he came out and performed before the crowd, I think he's going to do great things for us this fall."

McCullough had six tackles, a sack and two passes broken up on the day.

One other thing Johnson has noticed is more of his teammates taking leadership roles this spring, instead of the Tide's coaches having to do all the correcting.

"We've worked so hard this spring. We're trying to turn things around here. It really helps to see guys telling each other to pick it up at practice," Johnson said.

Jimmy Johns got the start for the White team at the Sam linebacker spot. Johns move out to the strong side after spending all spring inside at the Will, or weak side linebacker, position. He seems to prefer the inside spot.

"I like it a lot," Johns said. "You're free a lot. (moving outside) was tough. It's two different worlds. Challenges, they come."

One reporter asked Johns if the change he made last bowl season from offense to defense had him considering a redshirt season.

"It's always a possibility," said Johns. "It's just something me and Coach (Nick) Saban will have to talk about. I don't want to redshirt."

Johns finished the scrimmage with four tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.

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