Crimson Tide holds second spring scrimmage
by Michael Casagrande
mcasagrande@annistonstar.com
Apr 07, 2012 | 9303 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA — Better, still far from perfect.

That was Nick Saban’s assessment of Alabama’s second spring scrimmage held Friday in an empty Bryant-Denny Stadium. Depth is the issue for a team replacing the heart of its defense and most of it top offensive skilled position players.

The first teams are still performing well entering the final week of spring practice leading up to the April 14 A-Day Game. The young guys playing behind them need the most work.

“That’s why we have spring practice,” Saban said. “And that’s why they call us coach.”

Overall, though, action was “a lot crisper, a lot faster,” Saban said, compared to last Saturday’s first run-through.

Jalston Fowler, the top healthy returning running back, had the most impressive numbers among the limited stats released by the school. He rushed 22 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns. A 68-yard run was included in an improved outing for the running backs. Numbers for the other backs were not provided.

“Jalston probably ran it a little bit better today,” Saban said. “T.J. Yeldon didn’t gain a lot of yards but got some good experience. I think the first offense ran the ball and had better balance today. … The second offensive line couldn’t block the defense very well and didn’t do very much and that affects the stats adversely.”

Quarterback AJ McCarron completed 14 of 29 passes for 160 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Saban, who was the only team representative who spoke to reporters afterward, said he’s been consistent all spring.

“He wasn’t the problem,” Saban said. “His stats may not be what they were (last weekend). Maybe there wasn’t as many opportunities to make big plays. We did four-minute … really trying to take the air out of it before the other team goes two-minute. It’s not as long a situation as what we had last week. We threw the ball more, so he obviously had better stats.”

McCarron threw 43 times last Saturday, completing 25 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Behind him it gets thin. Backup Phillip Sims, McCarron’s competition for the top job a year ago, didn’t throw in the scrimmage while recovering from a throwing shoulder injury. He entered only for a few running plays Friday.

DeAndrew White came back from a hamstring injury to log the top receiving numbers. He caught five passes for 112 yards and two scores followed by Christion Jones (five catches, 61 yards, two TDs) and Kevin Norwood (four catches, 55 yards). True freshman Chris Black also had two receptions for 36 yards.

Defensively, linebacker C.J. Mosley’s eight tackles led the way. Defensive end Damion Square had three tackles for loss among his five stops while Dee Milliner forced a fumble and HaHa Clinton-Dix intercepted a pass.

Saban said he’s still looking for playmakers on that side of the ball.

“You never feel like you have enough on defense,” he said. “I think we were very fortunate last year to have a significant amount of guys that were that way. Right now, we’re probably a little bit thin in terms of edge rush guys. Both Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson have done a nice job there, but we need to develop some other guys there.”

Practice resumes Tuesday and Thursday entering the 2 p.m. Saturday A-Day Game. It’s free and open to the public.

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