14 April 2008
- 78,200 people is the 2nd highest spring game total in the history of the NCAA. Normally I wouldn't worry to much about spring attendance, but Nick Saban and his #1 recruiting class made a big deal about last spring's "sell out", so attendance has to be an issue.
- Bama made it through a full 60 minute game with no injuries. Play was not stopped a single time for a player to be helped off of the field... that, in and of itself makes the event a success.
- That's not to say that Bama is in great shape injury wise - black "no contact" jerseys were worn by potential starters Glenn Coffee, Nikita Stover & Lionel Mitchell. And the biggest "injury" had game captain Zeke Knight in shorts. The status of Knight's heart problem could be a determining factor in the success of the 2008 defense.
- The play of the game? A 75 yard touchdown on 3rd and 16. In what should be an indication of how Jim McElwain likes to get speedy players into space, the Tide offense got Terry Grant matched up with a linebacker and sent him on a crossing route. John Parker Wilson threw his best pass of the day, hitting Grant in stride 10 yards downfield. The speedy Sophomore to be blew by the rest of the defense en route to the day's longest play.
- Honorable Mention play of the game? Walk-on QB Thomas Darrah's long TD pass to redshirt Freshman Marquis Maze. It's doubtful that Darrah will work his way into playing time, though not impossible. Regardless, it was the best thrown deep ball that Bama has seen since Brodie Croyle hit Tyrone Prothro for a TD on the first play of the 2005 whipping the Tide put on Florida.
- Nikita Stover needs to get and stay healthy if he expects to stay on the field. Darius Hanks showed why he has been received rave reviews from players and coaches for the past year. At the moment, Hanks would have to be the front-runner for the starting slot receiver in the fall.
- Redshirt Freshman Brandon Gibson only hauled in 2 catches, but he impressed me with his ability to use his body to shield defenders and make plays on the ball. I don't know if he has the speed to be a big play-maker for the Tide receiving corp, but not everyone has to be a deep threat.
- Alfred McCullough made it look like he's been playing DE his entire career. While he's probably 30 pounds bigger than the prototype for that position, McCullough not only made plays in the backfield, but did a great job of getting his hands up to knock down several passes at the line of scrimmage. There was some talk of possibly moving him to the OL, but it looks like the DL will remain his home.
- There has already been talk of Jimmy Johns using 2008 as a redshirt year - mostly by Johns himself. I didn't see anything on Saturday that made that any less likely. There is still a long time until the Tide kicks off the 2008 season, but Jimmy still has a ways to go to learn the linebacker position. The Tide's depth, or lack thereof, might make it impossible for Jimmy to redshirt, but that seems to be the best plan for everyone right now.
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