August 14, 2006

Reier's Review: Scrimmage Quick Hits

*Alabama coach Mike Shula put his team through a 116-play scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium this afternoon.

*Quarterback John Parker Wilson was sharp for the most part. On two separate occasions we saw what his mobility can do for the offense. First, he avoided pressure before dumping the ball to Kenneth Darby to convert a third down in the red zone. Didn't seem like much at the time, but the play led to the day's first touchdown. He later drifted to his left before hitting Matt Caddell for a score. As I've said before, Wilson's mobility will go a long way in helping the offense convert third downs. For the most part, Wilson made good decisions. His lone blemish came in the scrimmage's plus territory work. Wilson threw a tad late into the left flat and cornerback Lionel Mitchell made him pay, stepping in front for an interception that would have gone 79 yards the other way for a defensive touchdown. Marc Guillon's best throw came when he stepped up into the pocket to hit Mike McCoy on a crossing route. His biggest mistake came on an interception to Jeffrey Dukes, who jumped a short underneath route for what would have been a pick six of his own.

*Terry Grant (50-yard TD run against the first-team defense and 46 yards for a score against the 2s and 3s) was outstanding and obviously brings another dimension to the running game with his home run hitting ability. But what impressed me the most was the way the offense ran the football inside the red zone. Three times the offense had first and 10 down around the 10-yard line and three times they wasted little time in powering the ball into the end zone. Jimmy Johns, Tim Castille and Darby while running the ball between the tackles. Granted, it was against the 2s (and sometimes 3s) on defense, but when is the last time Alabama ran with authority down in the red zone? Johns got first crack after Darby and was extremely impressive between the tackles. Upchurch was followed by Coffee. Coffee's injury came on a screen play that cornerback Ramze Robinson blew up. Coffee will have an MRI tomorrow. Robinson's hit was perfectly legal and was indicative of how most corners take on bigger backs (go low). Grant not only has great speed, he has the ability to make cuts at full speed -- something backs with straight line speed seldom have. Castille was effective in both the jumbo set and as a receiver out of the backfield. Like Grant he brings a big play threat to his position.

*Caddell validated a strong first week of practice with his performance today. On his second touchdown grab of the day he welcomed freshman cornerback Marquis Johnson to the SEC with a spin move after making the catch. Haven't seen many yards after the catch from Caddell in the past, so the play was promising to say the least. Caddell lined up with Will Oakley as the starters in the scrimmage. Oakley was solid, catching the three or four short to intermediate balls that came his way. After those two, the reps went mostly to McCoy, Earl Alexander, DJ Hall and Nikita Stover. Hall didn't seem all that excited to be here a week ago, but it now appears as if the fog has lifted and he's back in the swing of things with his teammates. While he's a valuable part of the offense, the absence of Keith Brown was hardly noticeable today.

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