Countdown to Kickoff
Defense Impressive in Final Preseason Scrimmage


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Juke King

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama defense saved its best for last.

In the final scrimmage of the preseason, the Crimson Tide defense had its best day as they recorded six sacks and forced the UA offense into a number of second and long and third and long situations all day.

"Defensively, I thought overall we were much better today," Alabama head coach Mike Shula said.  "When you look at the scrimmage, there were a bunch of second and long and third and longs.  When you put the offense in that situation, you will have a lot of success on defense."

Backup quarterbacks Marc Guillon (So., 6-3, 212, Chico, Calif.) and Spencer Pennington (Jr., 6-4, 224, Fayette) took every snap from scrimmage getting equal number of reps with the first and second units on offense.  Junior Brodie Croyle (6-3, 205, Rainbow City) did not participate in the scrimmage in order for the backups to get more work.

The offense managed only one touchdown in the 68-play controlled scrimmage that began at Bryant-Denny Stadium and then was moved to the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility because of lightening.

Freshman halfback Aaron Johns (5-10, 185, Thomasville) scored the lone touchdown of the day with a nifty 35-yard run.  A 32-yard TD pass from Guillon to red shirt freshman wide receiver Matt Caddell (6-0, 181, McCalla) was called back due to a penalty.

"We tried to reduce the injury risk," Shula added.  "We kept Brodie (Croyle) out number one he has had a ton of throws and we wanted to get him some rest and two we had to get (Marc Guillon and Spencer Pennington) an equal number of reps with the first offense and second offense.

"As far as Spencer and Mark, we are going to make a decision here. I am not sure when but obviously before we start our full preparation for Utah State.  I thought they both did some good things and both guys did some things poorly."

Redshirt freshman right corner back Eric Gray (5-11, 186, Tuscaloosa) was the most active among the Tide defenders.  The Tuscaloosa native recorded three tackles, one TFL, one sack and added one PBU for the defense.  Sophomore linebacker Juwan Garth (6-2, 220, Decatur) and junior linebacker Juke King (6-2, 234, Theodore) added three tackles each. King is filling for the injured DeMeco Ryans, who suffered an ankle sprain on Saturday.

Junior defensive end Mark Anderson (6-5, 253, Tulsa) added two tackles, including one TFL and one sack.  Junior safety Charlie Peprah (5-11, 193, Plano, Texas), who had missed all of preseason camp with an injury made his debut with two tackles, one TFL, one fumble recovery and one PBU on Tuesday.

Alabama also used the scrimmage to work on a number of special team and special situations that may arise during a game.

"We worked on a lot of different situations," Shula added.  "We started the scrimmage (backed up against the goal line) and then we moved to plus territory and worked on a couple of two-point plays.  In the kicking game we had some backed up punts (from the two-yard line) and we did some punt from the 50-yard line, where we try to down the ball inside the 10-yard line."

Alabama has concluded its preseason camp as classes begin Wednesday at the University.  The Crimson Tide will hold a short practice on Wednesday (4:30-5:35 PM) and then go longer on Thursday (4:15-6 PM) before holding its "mock game" on Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  After an off day on Saturday, the team will return to work Sunday (4:15-6 PM) as preparations for the 2004 season opener with Utah State begin.


Rushing: 25 for 93, 1 TD

Aaron Johns 9-75 (1TD); Brandon McAway 2-22; Kenneth Darby 4-17; Theo Townsend 1-6; Team 2-5; Hudson 1-0; Marc Guillon 3-(-13); Spencer Pennington 3- (-19)

Passing: 14-30-0, 137 yards, 1 TD

Marc Guillon 7-19-0-77-1; Spencer Pennington 7-14-0-60; Team 0-1-0

Receiving: 14-137-1 TD

Matt Miller 3-35; Theo Townsend 1-26 1TD; DJ Hall 2-17; Keith Brown 1-16; Ezekial Knight 3-14; Matt Caddell 1-11; Tim Castille 1-9; Brandon Brooks 1-7; Josh Smith 1-2