Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tide Improves in Second Scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Running back Eddie Lacy #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for yardage during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
After the initial scrimmage of fall camp, many ‘Bama fans “freaked” due to the bloated offensive numbers and the efficiency of the Alabama quarterbacks against a young and inexperienced secondary.

Saturday afternoon, the Crimson Tide held another scrimmage...and the defense was strong.

As the first scrimmage was “pass happy,” the outing on Saturday was more run oriented and the Tide defense came to play. The leading rusher for Alabama, Eddie Lacy, was held to only 61 yards.

When the Tide offense did put the ball in the air, the secondary was prepared. Greg McElroy led the quarterbacks in passing…but for only 134 yards. Certainly a far cry from the almost 400-yard display he had in the first scrimmage of fall camp.

Greg McElroy (10-for-18, 134 yards), AJ McCarron (11-for-23, 110 yards) and Phillip Sims (11-for-18, 132 yards) were solid on Saturday, but they were held in check by the Crimson Tide defense.

Greg McElroy did throw two interceptions but one was courtesy of a tipped pass and the other came on a “Hail Mary” to end the scrimmage.

The Crimson Tide offense only scored four touchdowns on Saturday compared to a gaudy 13 in the initial scrimmage.

Nick Saban viewed the scrimmage on Saturday as more realistic in respect to actual game situations. The simple idea the scrimmage was more “practical” is a positive sign for the Alabama secondary.

"Whatever situation came up, we played it," said Saban. "We're not disappointed in the improvement that we made as a team, but at the same time, we're not satisfied with where we'd like to be."

In the receiving department tight end Brad Smelley led the way with 5 receptions for 71 yards. The tight end position was vital in the 2009 passing attack and one would assume the same in 2010.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
As mentioned earlier, Eddie Lacy led the ground attack with 61 yards on 15 carries. Mark Ingram had 12 rushes for 46 yards, while Trent Richardson had six attempts for 20 yards. Richardson was also on the receiving end of a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Outside of the secondary, the Tide special teams need the most work and repetition.

After a “so-so” performance in the first scrimmage, the Tide field goal unit was outstanding on Saturday. Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster combined to go 7-for-8…including a 52-yard effort by Foster.

Statistics for the punting effort were not released, but Nick Saban
seemed “pleased” with the outing of Jay Williams and Cody Mandell.

On the injury front, cornerback DeMarcus Milliner (ankle) and running back Blake Sims (dislocated toe) were held out of the Saturday scrimmage…as expected.

During the action on Saturday, running back Trent Richardson suffered a bruised shoulder and nose tackle Josh Chapman sustained a bruised thigh but neither injury is serious.

Alabama will return to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon. The Tide will be given time to heal and recover as preparations continue for the 2010 season.

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