Scrimmage update 4/5/08

Video of Nick Saban’s April 5 press conference

Note: I’ll post some thoughts later tonight of early tomorrow regarding the scrimmage. First glance, take a look at the stat sheet and tell me you aren’t pleased with the punting numbers. I am.



John Parker Wilson – 17 for 33, 216 yards, 1 Int., 1 TD; Greg McElroy – 7 of 19, 48 yards; Nick Fanuzzi – 9 for 15, 140 yards, 1 Int; Thomas Darrah – 5 for 8, 73 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.


Roy Upchurch – 11 rush, 80 yards, 2 TDs; Terry Grant – 5 rush, 22 yards; Justen Santana – 5 rush, 17 yards; Demetrius Goode – 6 rush, 11 yards.


Nick Walker – 8 rec., 57 yards, 1 TD; Earl Alexander – 5 rec., 62 yards; Colin Peek – 5 rec., 63 yards; Roy Upchurch – 5 rec., 34 yards; Mike McCoy – 4 rec., 92 yards; Darius Hanks – 2 rec., 39 yards, 1 TD; Tarence Farmer – 2 rec., 40 yards.


Leigh Tiffin (1-1) – Made: 51; Corey Smith (2-3) – Made: 40, 26; Missed: 37.


P.J. Fitzgerald – 5 punts, 228 yards, 45.6-yard average, 1 inside 20. Heath Thomas – 6 punts, 230 yards, 38.3-yard average, 1 inside 20.


Rolando McClain – 5 tackles, 1 PBU, 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry; Alfred McCullough – 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 QB hurry; Jimmy Johns – 4 tackles; Marquis Johnson – 4 tackles; Cory Reamer – 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL.


Touchdowns – 6 (Nick Walker 3-yard pass from John Parker Wilson; Darius Hanks 35-yard pass from Thomas Darrah; Roy Upchurch 16-yard run; Upchurch 46-yard run; Jeramie Griffin 2-yard run; Rob Ezell blocked punt for touchdown). PATs – 4 (Tiffin 3-3, Smith 1-1).

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UA TUSCALOOSA—The Alabama football team held its second full scrimmage of the spring on a cool, overcast Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The scrimmage lasted approximately two hours and the Crimson Tide finished the day with conditioning. John Parker Wilson led all passers with 216 yards while Mike McCoy was the top receiver in terms of yardage (92). Roy Upchurch ran for 80 yards and two scores while Rolando McClain and Alfred McCullough were the top tacklers with five apiece.

“I think there was a significant improvement in our ability to execute from last week to this week which is really what you are looking for,” said head coach Nick Saban. “That’s going to be the goal every day from now until the end of spring practice. We caught the ball better today. We moved the ball more consistently on offense. The ones on both sides of the ball played more like ones. We didn’t turn the ball over as much today and Roy had a couple of nice runs. We made a few more big plays today running and throwing.

Wilson completed 17-of-33 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Nick Fanuzzi was next in the passing stats, going 9-of-15 for 140 yards with an interception. Thomas Darrah was 5-of-8 for 73 yards (1 TD, 1 INT) and Greg McElroy was 7-of-19 for 48 yards.

“I thought John Parker had a good day today,” said Saban. “The only interception he threw was a tipped ball.”

McCoy’s team-high 92 yards came on four catches. He was followed by Colin Peek (5-63), Earl Alexander (5-62), Nick Walker (8-57, 1 TD) and Darius Hanks (2-39, 1 TD). The unit worked again without veteran receivers Nikita Stover and Will Oakley due to injuries.

On the ground, Upchurch totaled 80 yards on 11 carries and scored on runs of 16 and 46 yards. He also caught five passes for 34 yards. Terry Grant ran five times for 22 yards and Justen Santana had 17 yards on five carries.

McClain, a freshman All-American last fall, paced the defense with 5 tackles, 2 sacks and a pass break-up. Alfred McCullough had five tackles plus a sack and a tackle for loss with Jimmy Johns and Marquis Johnson both adding four tackles each. Corey Reamer contributed three tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. Justin Woodall, Tyrone King and Mark Holt each had an interception.

“Situationally, when the ones played against the ones, both teams made plays,” said Saban. “I think that’s a real positive for us.”

On special teams, Leigh Tiffin continued to kick well and converted on a 51-yard field goal attempt. Freshman Corey Smith was 2-of-3 on the day and the two combined to go 4-for-4 on extra points. P.J. Fitzgerald averaged 45.6 yards on five punts and Robert Ezell blocked a punt for a touchdown.

“The biggest point of emphasis in the scrimmage today was the ability to sustain your intensity to do your job every play in the scrimmage,” said Saban. “That’s where we didn’t have what we needed to have a week ago.”

Alabama returns to practice Monday afternoon and the A-Day Game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on April 12. The final practice of the spring is Monday, April 14.