Saturday, August 21, 2004
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - For the second consecutive scrimmage, the University of Alabama football team relied on the arm of its quarterback and the pass catching skills of its freshmen wide receivers.
Junior quarterback Brodie Croyle (6-3, 205, Rainbow City) completed 12 of 25 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the second scrimmage of the preseason at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In two scrimmages thus far, Croyle is 34-for-64 for 501 yards and nine TD passes with just one interception. He did not have a turnover Saturday.
"I thought overall we did some good things, yet we did not show the consistency that we need to have going into the season," head coach Mike Shula said following the 90-play scrimmage. "There were definitely some really good individual efforts. I thought our young receivers made some plays early. Now we all understand that some of those were first offense going against the second defense and the second offense going against the first defense. We look at all those things. We looked at some guys on special teams, guys that weren't necessarily starters for us and we wanted to find out some things about those guys."
Freshman wide receiver DJ Hall (6-3, 183, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) seemed to be Croyle's favorite as the rookie caught five passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns to lead all receivers in the scrimmage.
Another freshman, cornerback Simeon Castille (6-1, 187, Birmingham), anchored the Alabama defense with five tackles, one PBU and one QB pressure.
The second-team offense, led by sophomore Marc Guillon (6-3, 212, Chico, Calif.) opened the scrimmage and Guillon was intercepted on the very first play by senior middle linebacker Cornelius Wortham (6-1, 233, Calhoun City, Miss.) off a tipped pass from senior cornerback Anthony Madison (5-9, 180, Thomasville).
After a penalty on its next possession, the second-team offense moved 70 yards in four plays for the first score of the day. Guillon completed two passes on the drive, including a 51-yard TD strike to freshman Keith Brown (6-3, 185, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) for his lone reception of the scrimmage.
Guillon completed six of 12 passes for 95 yards, with one TD and one interception. Junior Spencer Pennington (6-4, 215, Fayette) completed four of 10 passes for 36 yards.
The first-team offense took over and moved 46 yards on its opening possession but did not score. After that nine-play drive, the first unit began to click and scored on in next three possessions, scoring 21 points in just eight plays.
Croyle completed passes to sophomore halfback Kenneth Darby (5-11, 205, Huntsville) and red shirt freshman Matt Caddell (6-0, 181, McCalla) for the first score. Darby hauled in a 38-yard pass to give the first unit a first down at the 22-yard line. Croyle then hooked up with Caddell to cover the remaining 22 yards for the quick two-play scoring drive. Caddell had three catches in the scrimmage for 33 yards and the one TD.
Croyle directed a four-play, 60-yard scoring drive on its next possession. Senior halfback Ray Hudson (5-11, 203, Bonifay, Fla) had runs of nine and 28 yards and Darby added a five-yard run. Sophomore wide receiver Tyrone Prothro (5-8, 176, Heflin) covered the final 18 yards with a nice catch and run for the touchdown. Prothro was the second-leading receiver with four catches for 51 yards and the one TD.
The first-team offense struck quickly again, as Croyle hit junior tight end Clint Johnston (6-4, 251, Wetumpka) on a 25-yard sideline pass and then hit a wide-open Hall for the 35-yards and touchdown.
The second half was run in plus territory with each offense getting the ball at the opponent's 35-yard line. After missing a 47-yard FG attempt, senior kicker Brian Bostick (5-11, 213, Cullman) then made a 27-yard field goal. On the possession prior to the Bostick field goal, Croyle fired a 14-yard TD pass to Hall in the left corner of the end zone.
With the ball moved to the opponents' 15-yard line, freshman Jamie Christensen (6-0, 170, Norcross, Ga.) nailed a 32-yard FG and junior Mike McLaughlin (6-2, 201, Gautier, Miss.) connected on a 30-yarder in the next two possessions. Croyle capped the scoring with a nifty three-yard run late in the scrimmage.
The Crimson Tide then moved into its goal-line work and two-minute offense and neither were very effective. In fact, Croyle completed only two of eight passes in the two minute drill to bring down his completion percentage for the day.
Shula is hoping for more consistency in Tuesday's scrimmage.
"I think the biggest thing we need to improve right now, and I talked to the team about this afterwards, is when things don't go our way," he added. "When one group makes a play against another group, then that group has got to forget about that play and go on. We had too much talking about the play before and things like that.
"We all know in this game, you are going to make some plays and have some plays made on you. We have to forget about that and move onto the next play. That is where we have to get better as a football team."
Alabama's DeMeco Ryans (sprained ankle) and Dominic Lee (leg injury) left the scrimmage with injuries and did not return.
SCRIMMAGE FINAL STATS:
Rushing (Atts-Yds-TD): Ray Hudson (3-42); Kenneth Darby (6-42-1); Tim Castille (8-25-1); Aaron Johns (6-21); Brandon McAway (4-12); Theo Townsend (6-9); Brodie Croyle (3-(-3)-1); Marc Guillon (1-(-7); Spencer Pennington (2-(-9); Team (1-(-13).
Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Yds-TD): Brodie Croyle (12-25-0-220-4); Marc Guillon (6-12-1-95-1); Spencer Pennington (4-10-0-36-0); Adam Thrash (1-1-0-5-0)
Receiving (Rec-Yds-TD): DJ Hall (5-70-2); Tyrone Prothro (4-51-1); Keith Brown (1-51-1); Kenneth Darby (2-45-0); Matt Caddell (3-33-1); Clint Johnston (1-25-0); Ray Hudson (1-24-0); Matt Miller (2-18-0); Josh Smith (1-11-0); Brandon Brooks (1-6-0); Ezekial Knight (1-5-0).
Brian Bostick 47 missed; 27 good
Jamie Christensen 32 good
Mike McLaughlin 30 good
Simeon Castille 5 tackles; 1 QB pressure; 1 pass break-up
Chris James 5 tackles
Roman Harper 4 tackles; 1 for loss; 1 sack (-8)
Juwan Garth 4 tackles
Juke King 3 tackles; 1 for loss
D.J. Hall makes an acrobatic catch over a defensive back.
Ray Hudson is upended by freshman DB Simeon Castille.
Keith Brown streaks toward the end zone as Ramzee Robinson gives chase.
Coach Shula gives his team some instructions.