Saban sees offensive progress in wet scrimmage
By Mitch Dobbs
Special to The Daily
TUSCALOOSA — The Tide football team scrimmaged under wet and rainy conditions, which put a damper on offensive productivity at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
“We had a lot of drops,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “The weather was tough. We thought it was going to quit raining. That’s what we were told by our crack meteorologist over in the football office.”
The weather alternated between a steady drizzle, heavy downpour and finally some clearing skies near the end of the scrimmage. The scrimmage was the second of three during spring drills, and the 12th practice of 15 allowed by the NCAA. Reporters were allowed to watch warm-ups and stretching.
“We’re up and down like a yo-yo sometimes,” Saban said. “A guy does good and then the next day thinks he doesn’t give the same effort.”
The team went through about 50 scrimmage plays that were not dedicated to specific situational positions. According to numbers from the Alabama’s media relations office, quarterback John Parker Wilson completed 5 of 12 passes for 54 yards and one touchdown to senior receiver DJ Hall. Freshman Terry Grant was the leading rusher with 61 yards on nine carries.
“I’m encouraged about where we are offensively and how we’ve progressed,” Saban said. “Stats today aren’t an indication of that. Conditions may have been a part of it. That’s not an excuse. Our guys have to overcome and make it an advantage for themselves.”
Senior defensive back Simeon Castille had an interception return for a touchdown, the second scoring return for Castille this spring.
“He’s smart and plays multiple roles for us,” Saban said of Castille. “He’s a cornerback, but he’s our fifth defensive back if we need him to be. He makes a lot of plays because he is instinctive. He’s a good athlete, and he has good ability. He sets a good example of what we need in leadership.”
Most of Saturday’s scrimmage was focused on working the squad in conditions related to specific areas, such as red zone and goal-line situations. Saban also drilled the team more intensively on second- and third-down scenarios, he said, and end-of-game situations where the defense had to use timeouts to get the ball back for the offense to go into a two-minute drill.
Linebacker Keith Saunders (head) and offensive right tackle B.J. Stabler sat out the scrimmage because of injuries, and receiver Keith Brown returned to action only to go down again Saturday, this time with a bruised leg during the scrimmage.
Alabama will practice Tuesday and Thursday before the A-Day spring football game Saturday.
Kickoff for the A-Day game is at 1:05 p.m. and gates to the stadium will open at 11:30 a.m.
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