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SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 2007
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Saban happier after second scrimmage
‘I think we made some improvement,’ Crimson Tide coach says afterward

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — Following Alabama’s second and final scrimmage of preseason practice Saturday, Tide coach Nick Saban appeared a little calmer and more at ease afterward than he did following the first one.

Forget the 100-degree temperatures and the thunderstorms drawing closer. Saban said he saw better tackling from the defense, some good execution on offense and an overall higher level of intensity from his team.

“I think we made some improvement,” Saban said. “We tackled better on defense. We didn’t give up as many explosive plays. We were in better position to make plays. We forced some turnovers. So there were some good things on defense. We made less mental errors.”

With the workout closed to reporters, Saban set up the scrimmage so that it worked like a game for the first 32 plays. Then the Crimson Tide did situational work.

Saban said the first team went against the second team in most situations.

According to the coach, Alabama had some issues. He said that the offense did not dominate the line of scrimmage the way he wanted to. He said the team was a little “leg weary,” though that was expected at this juncture of preseason practice.

Once again, Saban praised the play of redshirt freshman running back Terry Grant. It was the second consecutive time that Saban mentioned Grant in a positive light following a scrimmage. Grant rushed for 68 yards on six carries and scored on a 71-yard catch.

Saban also mentioned quarterback John Parker Wilson, who despite throwing two interceptions, did a good job of controlling the tempo of the scrimmage. Wilson completed 18 of 32 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

Greg McElroy completed 13 of 26 passes for 91 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Jimmy Johns gained 37 rushing yards on 12 carries and scored a touchdown. Roy Upchurch had 35 yards on seven attempts.

Matt Caddell had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown, while Earl Alexander had three receptions for 44 yards. DJ Hall gained 32 yards on three receptions.

On defense, end Wallace Gilberry had seven tackles, four for lost yardage and three sacks. Marcel Stamps added nine tackles and a sack, while Darren Mustin made six tackles.

Defensive back Simeon Castille had five tackles and an interception.

Javier Arenas returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown, while Tyrone King also pitched in an interception, and Luther Davis contributed two sacks.

All week, the defensive players said they were looking forward to Saturday after a lackluster scrimmage last weekend. Castille said he made all the players bring their playbooks home.

According to Saban, it sounded like the extra study session paid off.

“We didn’t have near the missed tackles,” Saban said. “We didn’t give up nearly as many big plays.

“We did give up a couple, but one of them was on a missed assignment.

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