TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Alabama football team battled wet conditions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday as they conducted their second scrimmage of the 2007 spring season.
The weather brought off and on heavy rains during the two-hour scrimmage. Head Coach Nick Saban put his team through several situational plays at the end of the scrimmage to wrap up the 12th workout of 2007.
“We had improvements in a lot of areas,” said Saban. “It was a little difficult for the offense to function in the passing game. We had a lot of drops. The weather was tough. Yesterday we probably threw the ball and did as well offensively from a timing standpoint and execution standpoint. I am excited about the progress we are making, where we are and what we were doing. Today was a tough circumstance to build on that.”
Despite the wet conditions quarterbacks John Parker Wilson and James Denton each threw touchdown passes during the first portion of the scrimmage. Wilson connected with DJ Hall for a 19-yard scoring strike and Denton found Reyn Willis in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. Jimmy Johns added a three-yard touchdown run to complete the offense’s scoring.
The competition at running back continued on Saturday as several players saw time in the backfield. Roy Upchurch led the team with 87 yards on nine carries, including a 41-yard scamper. Terry Grant had 14 carries for 72 yards with a long of 23 on the day.
Coach Saban thought the defense did well on Saturday. Several players played well and they were able to force some turnovers in the wet conditions.
“I think we made some plays on defense today,” said Saban. “I personally think that we should make it our advantage whatever the circumstance or situation is. If it is raining outside then our mindset should be that this is to our advantage. You have to put players in situations like that so they get that mindset. Hopefully we made some progress in that today. Defensively we took advantage of the situation a little bit with some of the turnovers we got and plays that we made. I saw a lot of improvement out there.”
Simeon Castille scored a touchdown for the second straight scrimmage. During the situational drills he intercepted a pass and ran it back 36 yards for a touchdown. Last Friday he recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Prince Hall, Brandon Fanney and Wallace Gilberry also had strong showings on the defensive side of the ball. Hall led the team with eight tackles, one sack and one interception. Fanney finished with seven tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception while Gilberry recorded two sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble to go along with four tackles.
Following the scrimmage Coach Saban also commented on the kicking game looking better than it did in the first scrimmage.
“There was some improvement in the kicking game,” said Saban. “Our specialists were a little better today. We punted the ball more effectively and had good hang time. We missed a couple of long field goals but they were from 58 and 49 yards. I think the one from 58 was long enough but just to the left. We are just trying to give guys opportunities to see what they can do.”
The Crimson Tide will finish spring drills with two more practices on Tuesday and Thursday. All practices are closed to the public. The spring season will culminate with Golden Flake A-Day on Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium.