August 19, 2006

Reier's Review: Scrimmage Quick Hits

*Alabama coach Mike Shula put his team through a 99-play scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium this afternoon.

*The special teams period prior to the scrimmage featured the Tide's kickoff and kickoff return units. With placekicker Jamie Christensen still nursing a groin strain, Leigh Tiffin and Andrew Friedman rotated on kickoffs. Tiffin went first and boomed an excellent coverage kick down inside the 5-yard line. Friedman followed up with a strong kick of his own. Javier Arenas and Terry Grant were first up on kickoff return, with Grant fielding the lone attempt that came the duo's way. Next up were Ramzee Robinson and DJ Hall. Robinson produced the period's longest return, hitting a crack on the right side before sprinting out to midfield, where he stepped out of bounds. As good as he looked, I have a hard time imagining UA's top corner (or wide receiver, for that matter) returning kicks.

*The scrimmage started with the second-team offense going against the first-team defense. It was the defense's day from the outset and tackle Dominic Lee set the tone early, dropping halfback Ali Sharrief for a loss on the second snap of the scrimmage. Grant converted a third down by popping a draw for 10 yards a few plays later, but the defense stiffened after that. Having a healthy Wallace Gilberry means everything to this defense. He demands a double team on just about every play.

*The first-team offense was without starting halfback Kenneth Darby, and that likely had something to do with its slow start against the second-team defense. The offensive staff also subbed frequently, looking at a number of combination in the backfield and along the offensive line.

*Tim Castille started the scrimmage at fullback and picked up big yardage on a short pass from quarterback John Parker Wilson, who bootlegged to his left on the play, on the opening snap. With Darby and Jimmy Johns out, Roy Upchurch and Terry Grant got most of the work with the 1s. Ball security has been an issue for Upchurch in the past and it resurfaced Saturday when his fumble ended one drive.

*The first-team offensive line Saturday consisted of left tackle Andre Smith, left guard Justin Britt, center Antoine Caldwell, right guard B.J. Stabler and right tackle Chris Capps. Kyle Tatum also worked with the 1s at right tackle and Marlon Davis spent time with the first group at right and left guard. In fact, Tatum and Davis were both in the lineup for the offense's lone, long touchdown drive of the afternoon.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!