The Alabama football team held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday afternoon inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The scrimmage lasted roughly 120 plays and was just over two hours under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s.
"I thought this first scrimmage was better, maybe, than I anticipated in some ways," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Saturday. "I thought the overall intensity and tempo of the offense is something we need to pick up a bit past the first team. The rest was a little sloppy at times in terms of communication, but as I said before, a lot of guys have a lot of opportunities."
Junior quarterback AJ McCarron commanded the offense and completed 25-of-43 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns and one interceptions. He found Christion Jones twice on scoring strikes of eight and 22 yards while connecting with Kenny Bell on a scrimmage-long 44-yard scoring play.
Jones led the way among receivers with 83 yards on seven receptions while Bell added 68 yards on three catches. Kevin Norwood had five receptions for 50 yards with Marvin Shinn catching a touchdown and finishing with 40 yards on five catches. Freshman Amari Cooper added two grabs for 40 yards and Michael Williams grabbed three for 37 yards.
Dee Hart led the rushing attack with 32 yards on 13 carries and a four-yard touchdown while Ben Howell added 31 yards on eight carries. Jalston Fowler had 27 yards rushing and one score while freshman T.J. Yeldon added another 27 yards on the ground.
"The whole goal of spring practice is to get the right guys on the bus, get them in the right seats and get the wrong guys off the bus," Saban said. "I am talking about character, attitude and competitive spirit, guys that can be responsible and accountable to do their jobs. We have a lot of guys working hard, and we've made a lot of progress as a team."
On the defensive side of the ball sophomore safety Vinnie Sunseri led the way with five tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass breakup to go along with his 38-yard interception return for a touchdown. Adrian Hubbard and Dee Milliner both made four tackles with Hubbard recording a sack and two pass breakups while Milliner added an interception. C.J. Mosley and Nico Johnson both recorded three stops.
"I was pleased with the defense," Saban said. "They made some interceptions and big plays. We made some big plays on offense as well.
"We have two weeks left. We will obviously evaluate this film and see where we want to go. Hopefully, making the kind of progress we need to make, we will be able to work on some of our new opponents for next year and give our players a little knowledge and experience of something a little different than what we've been practicing."
The Crimson Tide returns to the practice field on Monday for the first of three workouts that concludes with the spring's second scrimmage on Friday.
ALABAMA FOOTBALL – Spring SCRIMMAGE #1 (March 31, 2012)
*Stats include 11-on-11, situational drills, red area, goalline, 2-minute
A.J. McCarron – 25 for 43, 290 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Dee Hart – 13 rushes, 32 yards, 1 TD
Ben Howell – 8 rushes, 31 yards
Jalston Fowler – 10 rushes, 27 yards, 1 TD
T.J. Yeldon – 7 rushes, 27 yards
Christion Jones – 7 rec., 83 yards, 2 TD
Kenny Bell – 3 rec., 68 yards, 1 TD
Kevin Norwood – 4 rec., 50 yards
Nathan McAlister – 5 rec., 51 yards
Marvin Shinn – 5 rec., 40 yards, 1 TD
Amari Cooper – 2 rec., 40 yards
Michael Williams – 3 rec., 37 yards
Vinnie Sunseri – 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT (TD), 1 PBU
Adrian Hubbard – 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PBU
Dee Milliner – 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT
C.J. Mosley – 3 tackles, 1 PBU
Nico Johnson – 3 tackles, 1 block
Deion Belue – 3 tackles, 1 INT (TD)
Trey DePriest – 2 tackles, 1 INT
Robert Lester – 2 tackles, 3 PBU
Cody Mandell – 9 punts, 383 yards, 42.6 avg., Long 51
Jeremy Shelley – 4 for 4, Long 38 yards (Made: 38, 38, 33, 18)
Cade Foster – 3 for 4, Long 44 (Made: 44, 27, 17; Missed: 54)
Passing Touchdowns (4): A.J. McCarron – 3 (44 yards, 8 yards, 22 yards); Phillip Ely 1 (11 yards)
Rushing Touchdowns (2): Dee Hart – 1 ((4-yards); Jalston Fowler – 1 (1 yard)