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April 2, 2012

Notebook: McCarron even-keeled

TUSCALOOSA | There were touchdown passes to Christion Jones and Kenny Bell, and there was an interception that newcomer Deion Belue turned into a touchdown of his own.

AJ McCarron absorbed both with a higher level of maturity Saturday following the University of Alabama's first spring scrimmage. The second-year starter at quarterback has now been around enough to know that not all will go perfectly, and that the next play could always be the most important.

"I don't pay attention to lows. I really don't pay attention to highs. In every game, you're going to have highs, you're going to have lows. You've got to know how to balance both of them," said McCarron. "If something good happens, celebrate it for that split second, then let it go."

It was mostly a day of highs for the Mobile native, who completed 25 of 43 passes for 290 yards and three scores in scrimmage work Saturday. McCarron said the first-team offense also engineered a 70-yard drive during it's two-minute drill exercise that ended with a touchdown with just seven seconds on the clock.

"You've got to be aware of your shot clock, you've got to know the game. You've got to have some football common sense," McCarron said of the two-minute offense. "If you don't, it makes that process a lot harder. We definitely had a good two-minute drive."

While McCarron had a strong scrimmage, backup Phillip Sims was limited with a sore shoulder. Reserve Phillip Ely, a redshirt freshman, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Shelley perfect Saturday
Alabama kickers Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster connected on seven of eight field goal tries during scrimmage work Saturday, including a 4-for-4 performance from Shelley, who handles kicks from short range.

"To come out 4-for-4 is exactly what I planned to do. individually and as a unit I feel like we all did really well," Shelley said. "(Punter) Cody (Mandell) stepped up, he had a lot of big punts and high numbers throughout the day. Cade had a lot of good field goals and a lot of good kickoffs."

Shelley connected on two field goals from 38 yards, and also was good from 33 and 18.

Catching on
Linebacker Nico Johnson said he has been impressed with newcomers at the position, Ryan Anderson and Dillon Lee, as well as second-year player Brent Calloway, who converted from the running back position.

"Ryan Anderson reminds me of Courtney Upshaw. He's real explosive off the ball and has good hands and power," Johnson said. "Dillon is catching on fast. Coach tried him out at outside linebacker today to see how he does. They are trying to learn everything. That's the main thing. Catch on."

Johnson said Calloway played a defensive position in high school similar to the one he is practicing at now, which is helping his transition.

"Yes, I did. I was fortunate enough - we got pressure - and I was fortunate enough to come through." - Johnson on his block of a Cade Foster field goal try during Saturday's scrimmage.

Injured offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio (knee) worked on a stationary bike again on Monday along with running back Blake Sims (hip). Also missing from drills was running back Eddie Lacy (toe). The trio has yet to practice this spring. ... Wide receiver DeAndrew White and center Chad Lindsey participated in individual drills Monday. White (hamstring) and Lindsey (head) were held out of the Saturday scrimmage. ... Quarterback Phillip Sims (sore shoulder) did not throw during individual drills Monday. ... Junior Chris Bonds practiced with the outside linebackers Monday, moving over from the defensive line.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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