The Crimson Tide has completed the second scrimmage of the 2011 spring practice. The numbers looked very similar to what was produced in the first scrimmage, with the exception of the running game.
First off, there is the quarterback battle. Once again, Phillip Sims had the higher completion percentage, but he turned the ball over once, whereas A.J. McCarron did not.
This will prove to be a critical part of the competition, as turnover rates weigh heavy with Nick Saban. Eddie Lacy saw a severe drop in playing time after his case of fumblitis in 2010.
The play of the quarterbacks in the scrimmages may not be a good indication of where they are at, though. They are currently practicing against what is arguably the best secondary in the nation. Last year, the Tide ranked 13th in the nation in passing defense.
They return all starters, including all four of their most active cornerbacks. They also return the three top safeties, with Mark Barron and Robert Lester possibly being the best safety combo in the country.
Though competition is stiff in the SEC, it's likely safe to say a scrimmage against their own team's defense is tougher than almost any team they will face in 2011. As a result, their numbers may not be too impressive.
The kicking game will continue to have fans worried. Jeremy Shelley missed a 30-yard field goal, which with such a short range shouldn't happen, but he did make a 43-yard attempt. Sophomore Cade Foster missed two of his own field goals, but they were attempts of 48 and a whopping 58 yards.
The running game held some surprises, as none of the backs produced much. After a disappointing first scrimmage, true freshman Demetrius Hart didn't improve on his numbers much. This time around, he barely made three yards a carry.
These numbers, however, may be in a similar situation as the quarterback numbers. Trent Richardson managed only managed 44 yards on 13 carries, while Hart, on the same number of carries, attained 41 yards. This may be a sign of either good play on the defensive line or the poor play of the offensive line.
Eddie Lacy, who was assumed to be the next No. 2 back, was only given eight carries. Jalston Fowler, a high school fullback with a battering-ram build, received 10.
The lack of carries given to Lacy may be an indication of where on the depth chart Nick Saban will have him. Nick Saban surely hasn't forgotten Lacy's fumbles, which doesn't help his case.
Darius Hanks became a pleasant surprise on Saturday. He lit up the scoreboard with 131 yards receiving and an incredible three touchdowns on only six catches. Hanks is currently looking more like the new go-to receiver.
Marquis Maze also put two of his own touchdowns on the board. Redshirt freshman DeAndrew White, whom many of you may have never even heard of, pulled in five catches for 85 yards.
Overall, the receivers, and Trent Richardson, each received a near equal amount of catches. This is an indication that the quarterbacks are doing a good job spreading the ball around and going through their progressions very well.
The low amount of catches and high amount of passing attempts indicates good coverage by the defensive backs, but poor tackling at the same time.
Defensively, the linebacker corps performed admirably, as was expected. The Triumvirate of Terror, Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, and C.J. Mosley led the team in tackles.
Hightower and Upshaw once again played close to the line all day, whereas Mosley retained his status as the more air-defensive linebacker.
Walk-on nickel safety Will Lowery scored the second touchdown of the day with the scrimmage's lone interception and a 51-yard return.
The duo of junior college defensive linemen had mixed results. Quinton Dial was last on the team with four tackles, but he did accrue a sack.
Hyped up mega-star Jesse Williams, however, did not accrue any tackles, whatsoever. Nick Saban said he plays well but easily reverts back to a raw player with little experience when under pressure.
This is understandable, as these past few weeks were the first time Jesse had a real football practice. Australian club football and junior college ball practice just couldn't teach him what he needed to know to play in the SEC.
Trent Richardson - 13 rush, 44 yards
Dee Hart - 13 rush, 41 yards
Jalston Fowler - 10 rush, 23 yards, 2 TD
Eddie Lacy - 8 rush, 22 yards, 1 TD
A.J. McCarron, 19 for 40, 255 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Phillip Sims, 19 for 34, 232 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Darius Hanks, 6 rec., 131 yards, 3 TD
Trent Richardson, 6 rec., 87 yards
DeAndrew White, 5 rec. 85 yards, 1 TD
Marquis Maze, 5 rec., 73 yards, 2 TD
Brian Vogler, 4 rec., 36 yards
Corey Grant, 2 rec., 34 yards
Harrison Jones, 2 rec., 22 yards
Brad Smelley, 2 rec., 21 yards
Michael Williams, 3 rec., 17 yards
Cade Foster, Made: 50, 30; Missed: 48, 58
Jeremy Shelley, Made: 43, 25; Missed: 30
Dont'a Hightower, 10 total, 3 TFL, 1 sack
Courtney Upshaw, 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
C.J. Mosley, 7 tackles, 2 PBU
Robert Lester, 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
Mark Barron, 4 total, 1 PBU, 1 sack
DeQuan Menzie, 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Trey DePriest, 4 total, 2 TFL
Ed Stinson, 4 tackles, 1 TFL
Dee Milliner, 4 tackles
Quinton Dial, 4 tackles, 1 sack
Maze 2-yard pass from McCarron - PAT Foster, good
Lowery 51-yard INT return
Shelley 43-yard FG
Foster 50-yard FG
Hanks 68-yard pass from Sims - Foster PAT, good
Hanks 18-yard pass from McCarron - No PAT attempted
Foster 30-yard FG
Hanks 7-yard pass from McCarron, No PAT attempted
White 18-yard from Sims - PAT Shelley, good
Lacy 3-yard run
Fowler 2-yard run
Fowler 1-yard run
Shelley 25-yard FG
Maze 36-yard pass from McCarron